“Go to the people, live among them, learn from them, love them, start with what they know, build on what they have: but of the best leaders, when their task is done, the people will remark, 'We have done it ourselves.'" – Chinese Proverb
Harvest Hands began as a vision of the late Dr. Howard Olds—former pastor of Brentwood UMC—to partner with an urban neighborhood in Nashville for positive change. The idea centered on sharing resources, experiences, and expertise of the church and congregation in relationship with neighbors in South Nashville. In 2007, Brentwood UMC hired Rev. Brian Hicks to lead the efforts in making this vision a reality. Brian, with a newly formed Board of Directors, worked to charter Harvest Hands Community Development Corporation. In July of that year, Harvest Hands CDC was founded with the mission to be "On a journey together for wholeness in South Nashville."
With the invitation of the local Neighborhood Association in South Nashville (SNAP), we began working with neighborhood residents to determine the assets and needs of the community and how we might work together to address our shared concerns. Everything that we do is born out of a need in the community. Our mission is not simply to “help” our neighbors but to work alongside them, empowering them to bring about positive change within themselves, their families, and the neighborhood. It is our main goal to empower our neighbors—both young and old—to come to know their fullest potential in Christ.
“Then Jesus made a circuit of all the towns and villages. He taught in their meeting places, reported kingdom news, and healed their diseased bodies, healed their bruised and hurt lives. When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. ‘What a huge harvest!' he said to his disciples. 'How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!'” Matthew 9:35-38 (The Message)