A BRIEF HISTORY OF URBAN HARVEST MINISTRIES
From small steps of faith come great things. On this page, you can read a quick history of the great things that God has done through Urban Harvest Ministries and the people involved from the beginning. Fearlessly striding into the toughest neighborhoods in Amerca, they learned to trust the Lord wholeheartedly. He proved His Word over and over again and He imparted many lessons about spiritual strongholds and the grip they can have on people, even casting a shadow over an entire community. These simple truths can change the spiritual climate of communities, and changed lives are proof that the lessons were from Him.
In 1994, he resigned the directorship of a thriving short-term missions agency and moved to New York City. He and his family began building relationships with people on the streets of the South Bronx. By reaching people with the gospel and empowering them toward their destinies, a solid base for urban outreach – The Harvest Center – was established.
At first, they met in the homes of drug addicts and dealers. After the first year, they moved into that very same storefront Dr. Grassano had walked into three years earlier. In that building, the first Harvest Center was established and remained for five years. For four of those years, they suffered through challenges such as no heat in the winter – rat infestations – and continual water damage from apartments above. But they knew this was the place God meant for them to be, and so they persevered with faith in the vision of seeing urban citizens empowered toward their true destinies.
In 2001, UHM moved across the street into that old coffin factory that had been abandoned for more than 30 years. The place had been used by drug dealers and homeless drug addicts for years. With no funds available to do even basic renovations, Dr. Grassano signed the lease by faith. Miraculous provision followed, and they renovated part of the factory into a beautiful facility to empower and equip the urban community around them.
Dr. Tom Grassano is the founder and director of UHM. He was raised in Detroit and South Carolina, but has roots in New York City where his father was born and grandparents immigrated. He came to the South Bronx for the first time in 1992 while leading a short-term mission team with the missions agency he directed, and then returned in 1994 with his wife Lidia and their four-year-old daughter to begin Urban Harvest Ministries by faith.
Dr. Grassano is educated in music and is an accomplished performer, composer and conductor. He became involved in ministry while in college and eventually left the career to serve the Lord in ministry. His ministry has taken him to 41 states and 23 nations leading in outreach and empowering leaders toward the Great Commission.
Lidia Grassano was raised in South and Central America where her parents served as missionaries and church planters. Her experiences on the mission field, especially as a teenager in war-torn Guatemala, shaped her passion for reaching the lost and hurting with integrity, relevance, and compassion. Tom and Lidia met at a missions conference in 1982 and were married in August of 1983.
Tom and Lidia’s call is to reach the hidden lost in cities and empower the people of the church to fulfill the Great Commission in urban centers around the world. They are also engaged in student leadership development to raise up a generation to radically transform their world.
Tom and Lidia have two children, Angel and Tommy, both very involved in this active and powerful ministry to cities.
Much has been written about Detroit: The poorest city in America. The highest misery index in America. Detroit owns every statistic on poverty, unemployment, foreclosures, high school dropout rates, infant mortality, and violent crime. Time Magazine’s Special Edition was titled The Tragedy of Detroit. A new book titled Detroit: An American Autopsy states, “ … redemption is thin on the ground in this ghost of a city.”
Urban Harvest does not see Detroit in this way. We see the opportunity for the church to rise and rewrite the history of this city. The official Seal of Detroit has inscribed in Latin the words, “We hope for better things. It will rise from the ashes.” We know the Power that brings beauty from ashes and we are working to bring lasting change to this city.