Three years ago we introduced the Harbour 25 Vision. It was the culmination of a 9 month long church wide discernment process. Through it, we honored our past and where God had brought us and then declared that God had a new future and vision for us. Looking back over these last three years we celebrate the many ways in which our church has embraced the vision – there have been many vision driven changes and as we pause now we can see that the vision is indeed becoming a reality. Each of the four areas has seen substantive progress.
But there is more to be done and so this year the leadership spent time discerning where we should focus our efforts over this next year. Through this process we decide on four focus areas for the year 2011-12. We will continue to fulfill the entire vision but yet within this framework we have identified four areas that are in need of extra attention and emphasis.
Launch Leaders – ADVANCE
Leadership matters. It matters in corporations, it matters in countries and it matters in church. This is why, in our international and national mission’s effort we have chosen to focus on leaders. Local leaders and churches should be leading the efforts in meeting local needs. This is true in Kenya, in Hamilton and here at Harbour. Therefore we are seeking to build up and equip leaders, so in turn their churches/ministries will be strengthened and the needs of their communities met.
This year we also want to bring this intentional focus on leadership development to Harbour. A new group has begun called ADVANCE. It is for those at Harbour who want to continue to grow, develop and learn together in their leadership. The Elders and staff prayerfully identified individuals from across the Harbour community who they sensed God working in and who would be an asset for this group experience. We were overwhelmed by the response – of the 16 invited, 12 accepted the invitation to join the group.
Jeff be joining with Cathy Gates to facilitate this time. ADVANCE will meet five times between September 2011 and May 2012. We’ll gather on 5 Tuesday nights starting at 6 pm for dinner and then discuss three key areas – Heart (Faith), Head (Knowledge) and Hands (Competencies).
Advance brings the launch leaders vision inside of Harbour. We are excited to invest in leaders at Harbour when this happens, everybody wins – their families win, their communities win, their churches win and they themselves win.
In our walk compassionately vision statement, it states that we will ‘respond generously…making our immediate community a different place, living out the heart of God.” We have taken significant steps in walking compassionately and have initiated great partnerships with the local community through backpacks, breakfast program, Christmas hampers, just to name a few.
This year, we are focusing our efforts to engage those who live in the 2 closest Co-operative housing complexes; the one that neighbours our church building, and the one across the street from Grapeview Public School. We see the importance of us living our lives with those in our community; getting to know individuals stories, sharing our own stories, developing friendships and sharing life together. And so, we are excited about a new project; establishing a community garden.
Walk Boldly – Auditorium Renovations
Several years ago, the church leadership at Harbour made a bold decision to invest in a facility that we could call home. This was to be a place where we could gather regularly for worship and invite the community of St Catharines to join us and hear about Jesus.
It is time for us to invest again, both for the present Harbour family as well as the future one. Our desire is to renovate the auditorium to deal with several needs we are currently facing. We want to address some functionality issues that are preventing us from offering ministry at the level we are capable of. Improvements to the stage, sound booth and sound system will increase our ability to provide a quality worship opportunity each Sunday. We also believe that we can create a warmer, more inviting environment for people with fewer aesthetic distractions. Our plan here includes updating the carpet, paint and chairs. We see these renovations as a necessary investment in the future of the church and in the same way that we update our homes; it is time to update our facility for the present. These changes will go a long way to ensuring that the people who call Harbour home 20 years from now will inherit a functional, warm and up to date facility the way that we have.
Walk Deeply – Community Group
We believe that intentional relationships are the key to sustained spiritual growth. God desires to use his people to bring grace and transformation in the lives of each other. And as the walk deeply vision statement communicates, “We desire that every person at Harbour walk deeply with God and with at least one other person.” As we move forward in walking deeply, we encourage you this year, to share life together in Community Groups; meeting regularly in each others homes, growing, serving and caring for each other and our immediate community. We encourage you, to think and pray about joining or even forming a community group with those who God has brought into your life here at Harbour.
As always we are thankful for the strong group of Elders who provide spiritual leadership and oversight here at Harbour. Phil Sheldon, who has served so faithfully as Chair of the Elders, will not be letting his name stand and Jake Pries will move into the Chairmen role. Please express your gratitude to Phil for his service over the years – his ministry and leadership has been incredibly significant at Harbour and we are wonderfully thankful for his investment in this church community. Pending the community affirmation today, Jake will join with Norm Schwenker, Dave Block and Jake Boldt to form the 2011-12 Elders team.
When you consider what God is doing in the lives of people here at Harbour it might be tempting to think things are going well so we can sit back and enjoy God’s goodness for a season. It is because things are going well however, that now is the time to pour even more of our energies into the ministry here at Harbour. As we see the momentum that God is creating in the areas of Walk Boldly, Walk Deeply, Walk Compassionately and Launch Leaders, we have the awesome privilege to be good stewards of that momentum. It is our desire to work hard in partnering with God, investing in people and depending on the power and leading of the Spirit in each of these strategic areas. We believe that this Harbour25 re-vision will result in our church being more effective at walking with people from disenchantment to discipleship and most importantly, the name of Jesus being lifted up.
‘He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.’