Good Afternoon Church family,
In case you missed this past Sunday or you were serving in Harvest Kids we want to let you know of some things that were announced as part of an Elders’ update. We have a lot going on and want to keep you up to speed with some new things coming our way as a church.
HARVEST KIDS BRACEBRIDGE
This summer Melissa Simmons moved from a key serving role in Harvest Kids at our Bracebridge location onto a staff role as the Harvest Kids Director. Just recently she decided to move back to a volunteer serving role. We are so thankful for the work she did over these past months rolling out new curriculum and keeping things moving forward as we seek more volunteers. We’re also very thankful for her serving as a volunteer again.
Our Bracebridge location is blessed to have two of our key Huntsville leaders (Krista Brubacher and Natasha Ellis) move into a partnering staff role for our Bracebridge Harvest Kids. They will serve in this position while we prayerfully seek a more permanent solution.
THE MAXSON FAMILY
Ryan Maxson has served faithfully as our Deacon of Missions and Hannah Maxson has served as one of our Worship Leaders. They have felt a call to full-time ministry (and Ryan even left his job this past year to pursue schooling) and were trusting that the Lord would open doors. It is a bittersweet time for us as a church as God has opened a door! Ryan has taken the position of Senior Pastor of Riverside Baptist Church in Huntsville. We are sad to lose them, but excited to see God’s leading and are cheering them on as they move into this new ministry opportunity. We will pray for and send them off on Sunday, March 29th.
HARVEST CHURCH BRACEBRIDGE ELDERS
Peter and Beth Gibson are moving from our Huntsville location to our Bracebridge location so he can serve as an “elder on the ground in Bracebridge” while we continue to prayerfully seek out elders from Bracebridge.
BELIEVING FIRMLY IN THE POWER OF PRAYER
As Elders, we made a commitment to grow our prayer focus as a church. To help continue this we have asked Pastor Eric to take this on as part of his pastoral responsibilities. He is passionate to see our church grow in prayer and will give leadership to regular Harvest Prays nights, prayer before Sunday morning services and helping us grow a culture of prayer.
With overseeing two locations (you may notice that you don’t get to see him lead at your location every Sunday as he alternates his time) he would covet your prayers in this newly added area of leadership.
HARVEST CHURCH PARRY SOUND NEW BUILDING
Harvest Parry Sound will be leaving their mall location in 2 weeks to begin to meet at the new church location! Praise God for His provision for us to get out of the lease early without any penalties. As we begin to meet in the new building we are looking forward to an official public launch on Easter Sunday, April 12th.
Harvest Parry Sound has been hard at work with multiple work nights and yet there is still much work to be done to finish the renovations in time. To make raising the necessary funds more simple than donating to the ONE Campaign (which covers all three locations) we have set up a separate specific Parry Sound Building Fund.
If you click here you can give online or you can mark a cheque or envelope with PSBF to ensure the funds go directly to this project.
Finally, it was also announced this Sunday that Jon Fitter has stepped down as our Discipleship Pastor. You can read his letter to the church here. While this will be difficult for both our church family and the Fitter family we are praying that God continues to lead us and continues to show Himself faithful to Jon and Summer as He leads them forward for the next mission He has for them.
Prior to Jon’s resignation, we gave Jon an extended vacation as a way of saying, ‘thank you’ for all the work he has poured into this past season and to give him and his family a time of rest. So, Jon will be away for the next 3 weeks but when he returns, we will be blessed to give them our love and thanks and prayers with a proper send-off!
The Executive Support Team (Gary Webster, Lisa McMurray, Sandy Jennings, Peter Gibson, Kaj Ballantyne) are meeting this week to begin to put together a strategic plan for this next season. It will include a short-term plan for Discipleship Ministries as well as a long-term plan for the next staff hire. We will also be including outside assistance in the search and hiring process.
Thank you for your active engagement at Harvest Church – we are blessed by your sacrificial partnership in the gospel to see God glorified in Muskoka, Parry Sound and to the nations. If you have questions or comments, send them to email@example.com. We would be happy to interact regarding these or any other items. Join us in praying for God to do in our church and in our lives all that He wants to accomplish, for His glory!
Together on this amazing mission,
The Elders of Harvest Church
Peter Gibson, Adam Cormier, Godfrey Wilkinson, Bob Galashan, Roger Samuel & Kaj Ballantyne
Previous Elder Updates
As Elders we want to make sure we are communicating to you the things heavy on our hearts as we seek the Lord together but also the victories and triumphs we get to celebrate as a church.
In Psalm 69 David says, “I will magnify him with thanksgiving!” In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we are called to “give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you!”
Today we want to remind you of just a few of the blessings we saw in 2019:
Our church supporting and being a part of:
- Children giving their lives to Christ through CEF’s summer program
- Christine’s Place and Hope Pregnancy Center both supporting and counselling pregnant women, advocating for life and helping to facilitate adoptions if necessary;
- Rugged Tree reaching into the Ojibwe First Nations in the Georgian Bay Area
- Pastor Omar and the church in Mexico City continues to be used by God to reach more people
- YFC in Ecuador (Abner and Aimee), The Door, and so much more!
- At the Wood Bee we saw two large truck loads of wood cut and split for firewood for those who are in need
- Short term assistance: food or gas bills, diapers, clothing, etc.
- Medium assistance: helping with mortgage payments, car repairs, building repairs, etc.
- Large assistance: helping families struggling with addiction, assisting with funeral costs, etc.
Here are a few more reasons for us to give thanks:
- Our Huntsville campus launching
- The new staff that came on board supporting the ministries
- Gary Webster volunteering to fill the role of Executive Director
- Harvest Mexico building a café to reach the lost for Christ
- Pastor Matt’s health and strength returning/Pastor Bob’s health and strength returning
- People coming to the Lord through Back of Beyond’s family fun day
- Our largest Christmas Eve Service ever!
- People being added to our church and accepting Jesus as their Lord and Saviour
- And again, so much more!
For February 2020 there are 11 people signed up for baptism and are ready to share their testimony how Jesus brought them from death to life! Jesus teaches for his disciples to be baptized. If you haven’t been baptized as a believer, we encourage you to take this step of obedience and share your testimony to family, friends and your church family. You can contact Pastor Bob Galashan for more information. Click here for more information or to fill out the online baptismal application.
Parry Sound Update
Continue to pray for Parry Sound, who hope to launch in their new building this Easter! There is still much to do. Please contact Chris Somers if you have time and/or resources to help them get ready for launch.
Please click here to see our latest financial update.
1. Our budget shortfall was reduced from $167K to $33K in December 2019 – praise God!
- Thank you so much for you generosity and partnership in seeing the mission of the gospel accomplished in Muskoka, Parry Sound and to the nations! Our monthly need is almost $100,000 and our December givings were $230,000 which resulted in our 2019 budget shortfall being reduced to $33,000
- We met and exceeded our budget needs in Huntsville and Bracebridge and only fell short slightly in Parry Sound. Parry Sound has been a “mission church” since we launched it and we have, until this past year, been able to support it with the excess giving in Muskoka
- Our 2020 budget needs to be realistic as our annual givings have dropped slightly each year since 2017. Unless giving increases we will need to find $100k in this year’s budget to be consistent with the savings we always need at the start of the year when giving seems to be down
- Please join us in praying for the Lords direction for 2020 in leading the staff, Gary (our current Treasurer), Sandy (our Deacon of Finance) and the Executive Support Team as they prepare this year’s budget
- Pray also for wisdom and God’s timing for future hires as we continue to rely on God for provision for our 3 church locations.
2. Construction Loans for $1.5M (short term loan of $400K and Mortgage of $1.1M) are now in place.
- ONE Campaign pledges will pay for these two loans for 2020 and 2021, after which we will assess how we pay the balance, eg. probably one long term mortgage
Thank you for your partnership with us in the Gospel as we seek to lift high the name of Jesus, boldly proclaim his Word, pray fervently without ceasing, passionately worship Christ and courageously share the Gospel with those around us! We pray that the Lord will fill us with the joy of the Lord and with His Spirit as we head into 2020. May your name be magnified Lord Jesus as we give you thanks!
Together on this amazing mission,
The Elders of Harvest Church
Elder Update: Finances
November 26, 2019
Our Members Meeting on November 13th was focused predominately on our Bracebridge and Huntsville locations, providing vision, direction and clarity for how we as a church body plan to move forward. The following financial Elder update is to communicate to all three of our locations some important financial progress that has been made.
As was explained at our All Church Meeting in June, the final cost of the Huntsville Building was $2.1M. We paid for this through a Construction Loan of $1.2M, two private interest free loans ($174K & $150K) and pledges through the ONE Campaign.
This leaves us with a current debt of $1.524M. Given that the construction loan has a high interest rate of 6.75%, we have been pursuing financing to pay the above debt at a lower interest rate. Praise God for our strong financial position that has allowed us to pursue traditional mortgages.
The Royal Bank was very interested in helping us out after seeing our financial situation and had an interest rate in the low 4% range but could only provide $1.2M. The company that holds the construction mortgage (CSS) could only offer interest rates in the low 5% range, while Kindred Credit Union is able to take the full debt in the high 4% range. So, our plan is to pursue the Kindred Credit Union.
In order to receive $1.5M in financing, Kindred needs the security of the Huntsville Church, ie the $2.2M appraised value of the Huntsville Church allows them to loan us 60% of this appraised value, ie $1.32M. In order to receive the $180K to get to a total loan of $1.5M, Kindred needs the security of the Parry Sound Church as well.
The financing plan includes a short term loan of $400K and a long term mortgage of $1.1M. There are 2 more years left on the pledge campaign, which has gone well as we have actually exceeded the pledged amounts.
This means that, if giving continues through to the end of the pledge campaign, we will have a loan/mortgage of slightly more than $1M as 2022 begins. This should allow the security on the Parry Sound Church to be released.
Work is continuing with Kindred; final approval is expected in about 4 weeks.
Thank you so much for your active serving at Harvest, particularly as we ramped up a new ministry year and launching out a new location. We also thank God for your generosity and commitment to your ONE Campaign pledges. We are currently tracking above the pledged totals in giving.
We are going to be sending out these regular updates with the goal of keeping you informed about various items under consideration by the elders and important happenings in our church. Here’s what is on our plate right now:
SUNDAY MORNING MINISTRY
We have had a great start to our ministry year after a summer with Pastor Kaj being given time away from the pulpit for some rest and recovery after a busy season. We have seen new families at all three of our locations and the Lord continues to draw people who have never heard the gospel.
The service times have been working out great for our two Muskoka locations. Bracebridge Set Up Teams have been able to do set up without having to arrive so early and Pastor Kaj has had plenty of time to be able to still connect with people after the service in Huntsville while getting to Bracebridge in time to preach. We will continue to monitor how this arrangement works out in the months ahead.
It was an unexpected blessing to have our permit cancelled at BMLSS for a couple of Sundays due to the labour strike as it gave an opportunity for our two Muskoka locations to be able to reunite as one location at our new facility in Huntsville. The Huntsville plant was blessed by seeing Bracebridge people make the journey north!
Parry Sound continues to meet in the mall while we renovate the new building in Parry Sound. We are looking forward to this Saturday, November 9th for a Men’s Breakfast for all three locations to then spend the rest of the day working at the Parry Sound Church building. The renovation has been moving along slowly as finances and workers are available.
BRACEBRIDGE KIDS MINISTRY
An area of great concern for our Sunday Morning Ministry is our Bracebridge Kids Ministry. We have had to regularly close down kid’s rooms due to a shortage of servers. This has meant turning away kids from families (many visiting for the first time) who then turn around as a family and leave – unable to worship and sit under the Word.
Please pray with us for more people to step up into this need for our Bracebridge location to be able to continue to minister to families. If you currently don’t serve, please consider this a great opportunity for you to partner with the church in reaching new people with the gospel and caring for those in your church family.
We have been praying for and with Matt through his whole journey and are praising God for His grace in the suffering and His grace in the recovery. Matt is now on a “back to work plan” from his doctors which will allow him to begin working on a limited basis. His doctors have cleared him for a couple of days a week in the Huntsville offices (due to the elevator) providing leadership again for our Soul Care Ministry from a high level. As his mind continues to recover, he will slowly move back into counseling and adding more days.
We are excited to have our new Youth Director, Marshal Burnham finally here! It was a prayerful process in seeking out a new long-term Youth Director and we believe that the Lord brought us Marshal.
Marshal has worked with the Salvation Army in London, ON caring for the homeless. He then spent a decade as a Behavioural Counselor for youth in the jail system and in a Section 21 school. He also served as the Youth Director at West Park Baptist Church before moving to the Yukon as a Regional Housing Manager and MTO manager. Marshal then moved back to London to work in the Housing Division where he specialized in files that were victims of Human Trafficking and Refugee assault, as well as women and children in domestic abuse situations.
Marshal is a gifted communicator, an author, a visionary leader and has a huge heart for discipleship and leading our students on mission for Christ.
Please pray for Marshal and Megan and their 3 kids (Kezzie, Zoey and Beaux … as well as one on the way!) as Marshal steps in to provide leadership for our Student Ministries.
We also want to thank Pastor Jon for stepping in to lead our Jr. High Ministry and Pastor Kaj and Libby for stepping in to lead our Sr. High Ministries while we were waiting for Marshal to arrive.
Charity has been serving as our Kids Coordinator and Admin Assistant in Parry Sound but is looking to step away from working to be with her family. Pray with us as we search for someone to fill that role in Parry Sound.
Gary Webster has been a phenomenal blessing volunteering full time as our Executive Director. Part of his responsibilities have included acting as our Treasurer. Gary sees his strengths being be better utilized as an Executive Director by having someone with a greater financial background (accounting, not for profit bookkeeping, etc.) stepping into the role of Treasurer. We’re actively pursuing people for this role.
SEEKING MORE ELDERS
With the launching of our Huntsville Location we are looking to add to our Elder team. As of now we do not have any Elders from the South Muskoka area nor Parry Sound and so are praying for God to raise up the right people to step into this role.
Part of the Elder process will include a season of development for those who sense God’s calling to this role. Depending on your experience the development process will include doctrine, servant leadership and godly character.
If you have a desire for this ministry please reach out to one of our elders to begin the process or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
DETAILS ABOUT BEING AN ELDER AT HARVEST
Elders carry the ultimate responsibility and authority to see that the church remains on a true biblical course. Elders seek to see that the church family is being appropriately shepherded, well fed through accurate and applicational biblical teaching and that the life and mission of the church is being well managed with the assistance of competent and godly leaders.
At Harvest, our elders:
- Guard the body of Christ against harmful influences, confronting those who are contradicting biblical truth or continuing in a pattern of sinful behavior.
- Shepherd the church by being an example and role model.
- Care about the spiritual and physical well-being of congregants; pray regularly for the sick.
- Oversee all three locations together as an Elder team and also (when enough Elders are in place) provide specific oversight and care of the church location where they live.
The role of an Elder is to work in plurality with the other Elders to provide leadership and care for the church in Doctrine, Discipline, Direction and Discipleship.
- Doctrine – Elders are to teach, guard, and advance God’s truth by holding strong to the Word of God and calling our church to do the same. Doctrine is to be accurately and soundly taught and applied to individuals in ways that instruct, exhort, correct and equip the church to walk in the truth, focused on Jesus and illuminated and empowered by the Holy Spirit (Titus 1:9; Acts 20:28-31; Acts 15:1-2; 1 Timothy 3:2).
- Direction – Elders have a biblical and practical responsibility to provide direction for the overall ministry and the ministry leaders of the church as they prayerfully seek to be filled and guided by the Spirit regarding His will and way for His Body, the church. They are under-shepherds following Christ’s leading as the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:1-4; Acts 15:22; Acts 20:28-31; Hebrews 13:17).
- Discipleship – Elders are to be models and reproducers of Bible-centered, Christ-focused, Spirit-energized, transforming disciple makers. They are to be engaged as “shepherds” as they give their lives to protecting, living alongside, guiding and feeding, the church (James 5:14; 1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
- Discipline (Biblical Reconciliation/Restoration) – Elders are called to lead out in teaching and equipping the body to live in harmony and unity. They are to live and lead as those who help restore relationships, deal with sin in pursuit of holiness, forgiveness and healing, and establish ways for the body to grow stronger and healthier in all aspects of their lives. Elders will administer the process of church discipline in love and humility as outlined in Matthew 18:15-20; Galatians 6:1-4; Titus 3:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15; 1 Timothy 5:17-25; 1 Corinthians 5; 2 Corinthians 2:5-11, and Romans 16:17.
Biblical Qualities of Elders
As well as fulfilling the role of Elder through Doctrine, Direction, Discipleship and Discipline, Elders are called to live a life of character outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9; 1 Peter 5:1-8. We evaluate potential Elders on “Four C’s” (Character; Competence; Chemistry; Courage) with the primary focus on the first “C” of Character.
- Above reproach—Elders must lead by example and demonstrate a lifestyle free from patterns of sin.
- Husband of one wife—Elders, if married, must be devoted spouses.
- Temperate—Elders must be self-controlled, enslaved to nothing, and free from excesses.
- Prudent—Elders must be sober, sensible, wise, balanced in judgment, not given to quick, superficial decisions based on immature thinking.
- Respectable—Elders must demonstrate a well-ordered life and honourable behavior.
- Hospitable—Elders must be unselfish with personal resources, willing to share blessings with others.
- Able to teach—Elders must be able to communicate truth and sound doctrine.
- Not addicted to wine—Elders must be free from addictions and willing to limit their liberty for the sake of others.
- Not pugnacious or quick-tempered—Elders must be gentle, patient and able to exercise self-control in difficult situations.
- Uncontentious—Elders must not be given to quarrelling or selfish argumentation.
- Free from the love of money—Elders must not be stingy, greedy or preoccupied with amassing material things.
- Manage own household—Elders must have a well-ordered household and a healthy family life.
- Not a new convert/not a new believer—Elders must not be new believers. They must have been a Christian long enough to demonstrate the reality of their conversion and depth of spirituality.
- Good reputation with outsiders—Elders must be well-respected by unbelievers and free from hypocrisy.
- Not self-willed—Elders must not be stubborn, or prone to forcing their opinions on others or abusing authority. They must be servant minded.
- Loving what is good—Elders must desire the will of God in every decision.
- Just—Elders must desire to be fair and impartial. Their judgments must be based on scriptural principles.
- Devout—Elders must be devoted Christ followers, seeking to be conformed to His image. They must be committed to prayer, worship, the study of Scripture, and the guarding of their spiritual walk.
- Holding fast the faithful Word—Elders must be stable in the faith, obedient to the Word of God, and continually seeking to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.
Demonstrated spiritual gifts and abilities as well as proficiencies acquired through training and life experience.
The intangible quality of being able to “fit” within the existing team and the “culture” of our church to help move forward with the mission we are called to together as a church.
The ability to lean into difficult situations to defend the faith and/or walk with those in sin or in deep struggle. It will be seen in the ability to speak the truth in love.
Time Commitment for Elders
- Elder’s meeting – every other week
- GCC Conference – once a year.
- Eight to ten hours (on average) per month for meeting preparation, doctrinal study/presentation, teaching, discipleship, direction, etc.
- If serious issues arise that require immediate attention by the Elder Board, additional hours may be required outside of regular Elders’ meetings and duties.
– The Elders of Harvest Church –
Peter Gibson, Adam Cormier, Godfrey Wilkinson, Bob Galashan, Roger Samuel & Kaj Ballantyne
The ONE Campaign Meeting on Wednesday, June 12th was a time of looking back on the mission of ONE Church – Three Locations and the Huntsville building renovation. It was also an opportunity to look forward. We looked back to see how we got to where we are today and in doing so we have seen where leadership owns both error and improvement as we prayerfully move forward.
As elders we did not provide clear communication, we did not have enough people in positions of oversight in the building process and we moved ahead assuming the amount of money that would continue to come in toward our goal of $3.5M over three years.
True repentance is not only just owning past failures, but also changing how we do things in moving forward. And so we are committed to making a change by communicating more often and more clearly. Also, leadership roles need clarification and leadership needs to be expanded. Finally, we need to rethink our original goal of $3.5M as a way to see all three locations having a place to worship.
At the Wednesday meeting
and over the proceeding days
there were some great questions raised:
How will you communicate with the church family more often?
Our COMMUNICATION PLAN will include the following:
1. Quarterly Member Meetings.
2. Elder Updates every other month on our website.
3. Developing a staff role with communication as a primary responsibility.
4. Monthly Deacon Updates (alternating between Benevolence, Finance, and Missions).
How will you update those who have given pledges?
Gary Webster is working with our bookkeeper to ensure ongoing updates being sent out to each person who has given pledges.
What is the plan for South Muskoka moving forward?
Our Executive Support Team will be connecting with our developing Bracebridge Vision Team to more fully cultivate a plan for South Muskoka. The plan will include a focused approach to reaching Bracebridge, Port Carling, Gravenhurst and surrounding South Muskoka communities to see the lost saved, the saved matured and the matured multiplied.
We are looking to get into the Rene Caisse Theatre as soon as possible while also seeking for what the Lord may have as a permanent facility for Harvest South Muskoka.
While we have loved being able to use the High School we realize that it is not a guaranteed long term solution as the school has the right to cancel our agreement at any time and we have a desire to be able to have ministry space that can be used 7 days a week.
For more information about our newly begun Bracebridge Vision Team please connect with our office.
What is happening in Parry Sound?
There will be details coming as outside donations are confirmed. Thankful to the Lord for His continued provision! As the funds arrive we will continue to renovate.
Are we revising the ONE Campaign?
The Elders and the Executive Support Team are praying and seeking outside wisdom as we examine what the ONE Campaign will look like in the next 2 years of the original plan and then in the years after.
We have pledges for approximately 1/3 ($1.2M) of our original $3.5M target – praise God! However, approximately only 1/3 of our church has given to the ONE Campaign. Is it possible to continue to hope for the $3.5M need being realized as the whole church contributes collectively, thus having the funds needed to move forward in Bracebridge?
With all this in mind, we are praying and seeking wisdom about the ONE vision, mission, implementation and timing.
Our hope is that, wherever we go with the details of the ONE Campaign moving forward, each church location embraces that we are still on a mission together as ONE Church in three Locations. As we have supported churches being built in Nicaragua, Mexico City, Parry Sound and now Huntsville, so we hope to continue to link arms as ONE Church for what God has for us in Bracebridge (and beyond!).
What is the plan for church leadership (clarified, changed and/or expanded)?
There will be more clarity regarding the roles of ELDER and DEACON.
We will be starting an ELDER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM that will commence this fall. It will take those interested in leadership through a rigorous training and study program digging into leadership, doctrine, church ministry, Harvest Church DNA, godly character, etc. More details will be coming this September.
Combined with this longterm Elder Development Program, we have been searching for godly, qualified men in South Muskoka to join the Elder Team.
We will be bringing on more Deacons ASAP. They too will go through a biblical vetting process.
We will be growing our Executive Support Team.
How can the church family pray most effectively for leaders?
1. Pray we keep our eyes on God.
King Jehoshaphat faced an oncoming force of armies and was lost as to what to do … except to keep his eyes on the Lord. In any situation, this needs to be our hearts’ position.
“For we are powerless before this vast number that comes to fight against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.” (2 Chronicles 20:12)
2. Pray we will not take a step apart from God’s leading.
Moses prayed this when God said that He wasn’t going to go with him any further due to the people’s idolatry. Moses said that he wouldn’t move anywhere if God wasn’t leading him.
“If Your presence does not go,” Moses responded to Him, “don’t make us go up from here.” (Exodus 33:15)
3. Pray we will not rely on our own strength.
Solomon with all his wisdom (he was the wisest man who ever lived!) said this:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)
4. Pray we will be wise in leading God’s people.
Solomon asked God to give him a “listening heart” as he governed the people of God.
“So give Your servant an obedient heart to judge Your people and to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” (1 Kings 3:9)
5. Pray we will weep over sin.
The best shepherds are those who genuinely grieve spiritual brokenness. Like Nehemiah when he heard about the damaged walls of Jerusalem pray that we are also broken when we see the results of spiritual decline in our church and our communities.
“When I heard these words, I sat down and wept. I mourned for a number of days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah. 1:4)
6. Pray we will know when to push away from the crowds to pray.
Jesus was constantly surrounded by ministry opportunities and yet He knew how much He needed intentionally deep time alone with the Father to be renewed for the work.
“But the news about Him spread even more, and large crowds would come together to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. Yet He often withdrew to deserted places and prayed.” (Luke 5:15-16)
7. Pray we will walk worthy of our calling.
Pray that we walk in obedience and bear fruit, just as Paul prayed for the Colossian believers:
“We haven’t stopped praying for you . . . so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:9-10)
8. Pray we will speak the gospel boldly.
Paul wrote from a prison cell – his punishment for preaching the Word – that the church would pray for him to be able to courageously continue to speak the gospel. If the Apostle Paul needed that kind of prayer, we all sure do too!
“Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel.” (Ephesians 6:19)
9. Pray we will finish well.
Pray for those who are in leadership that we all can one day echo these words of the Apostle Paul:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Tim. 4:7).
KEEPING OUR FOCUS ON THE MISSION IN FRONT OF US AS A CHURCH
THE LOST SAVED
and filling our churches so that we’re
bursting at the seems
with brand new believers
changed for eternity.
THE SAVED MATURED
so that they serve and minster the gospel
as they jump on the mission God has called us to
as Christ Followers.
THE MATURED MULTIPLIED
as God uses us to raise up more disciples …
all for God’s glory!
I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (JOHN 17:20-21)
We are excited to see God continue to move us forward on a mission to reach Muskoka and Parry Sound with the Good News of Jesus Christ. As we take these next steps of multiplying campuses we are calling the mission ahead, “ONE”.
Why are we calling the campaign, “ONE”?
The target of our whole life is Jesus. It is through Him alone that we are saved, and transformed and so our whole purpose in life is to be filled with the presence of God and live our lives for the purpose of God and the glory of God.
So whatever our plans are as a church we start from this place: Our purpose, our life, and our church is all about Jesus.
Jesus prays that, as we stay connected to Him, we would also be ONE with each other. Being ONE as a church is not optional. Living out Acts 2:42-27 (doing life together, digging into the Word together, pressing into hearts together and laughing, loving, crying, and sharing together) is the reality of Jesus prayer being answered.
The depth of this oneness is more than potlucks and saying good morning on a Sunday. Jesus asks for us to be ONE like He and the Father are ONE!
We will be 3 different church gatherings each Sunday but we will be united in our mission. It means that we will be a bunch of very different people unified in Christ (He is the source of this unity) and unified in our mission to make him known.
Practically, we will have one central administrative hub helping each Campus to be effective on the mission in their community. This shared resource will help us steward God’s resource most wisely by providing the maximum amount of ministry support at a sustainable financial cost.
Jesus says that this unity will be how the world will know that it is a work of God. Our unity as ONE Church will launch us in to our mission.
The whole purpose in this next move as a church is this: God’s will is that the Church is on mission to together.
When we use the word mission it gets it’s roots from the same word used by Jesus in John 17:18 when we says that we are “sent into the world.” Our primary role is “sent ones” or “missionaries”
Practically, it means that our comfort, our position or our safety all comes second to the mission. We sacrifice each of these for the cause … that’s what a mission is.
It will take a sacrifice in our finances.
It will take a sacrifice in our schedules.
It will take a sacrifice in our preferences.
But this all begins with ONE God. We can only sacrifice as much as we trust Him. We will be on ONE Mission as ONE Church when we see that it’s all about ONE God … it’s all about Jesus.
In the mid-16th century Francis Xavier wrote about the dangers as a missionary:
“The danger of all dangers would be to lose trust and confidence in the mercy of God. To distrust him would be a far more terrible thing than any physical evil which all the enemies of God put together could inflict on us, for without God’s permission neither the devils nor their human ministers could hinder us in the slightest degree.”
The greatest danger we face on our mission is not the loss of our stuff, our time, our reputation or even our lives … the greatest danger is to distrust our God. In fact, if that danger is avoided, then all other dangers lose their sting.
Christ prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane a prayer of trust as he completed His mission of salvation … and he prays in John 17 that we would also move in our mission full of trust.
WHAT ABOUT SOME OF THE DETAILS OF THIS MISSION?
Why this campus model?
It is a way to reach more people more efficiently and more effectively.
How much will the North Campus cost?
It will cost a little over $2M. But we have the first $1M already donated in the purchase of the building so we are looking to raise approx. $1.2M (not including any gifts in kind).
What is the timeline?
We have been on a strict timeline since January 1st and are at the stage now where we have the finalized drawings and are waiting on a finalized quote for renovations. We also have financing lined up in case we need funds before our official fundraising campaign begins. We would love to not have to use this bridge financing, so if you are able and feel the Lord calling you to participate financially in these early stages to provide “seed money” you can give to our “Growth Fund.”
The fundraising campaign will officially begin in June.
Over the next few days we will be establishing a leadership team to oversee the construction, the financials, the interior design, etc. Our hope is to see the North Campus completed by late fall.
Along with this “build timeline” we are in the process of also creating a “ministry timeline” to ensure we have each of our ministries well prepared to move to serving another campus (raising up key volunteers and praying through any needed new hires).
What about preaching?
Pastor Kaj will drive between Muskoka North & Muskoka South so that each Campus has live preaching. When we find the need to move to 2 services at either of the 2 Muskoka Campuses we will re-evaluate the Sunday morning preaching strategy.
Our long term plan is that all 3 campus will have their own Preaching Pastor.
What about South Muskoka?
This fundraising campaign is not for the North Muskoka Campus only. We are looking to raise enough funds to also pursue a permanent South Campus facility. As of now, we do not have as much financial clarity for the South Campus facility as we are still looking for a suitable option.
What about the land we own now?
We want to be good stewards and use that land the best way we can financially. We may find that building the South Campus on that land is the best option. Or we may discover that it is better used by selling it and using the funds to build or renovate in another Bracebridge location.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact Jim Beattie here:email@example.com
What an incredible night of prayer and worship Wednesday night at our new Muskoka North Campus. Thank you all who came out from across Muskoka and Parry Sound to pray and celebrate what God is doing in us and through us. I am looking forward to sharing more of the vision and plan in the weeks ahead as we continue to pray that God would grow our faith as we seek him and see him more clearly … he is all powerful and completely trustworthy. Our hope and prayer is that God would fulfill his promise from Habakkuk 2:14: “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” May that begin in our hearts, our families, our communities and that God would use us as a church to see this happen throughout the whole earth. Thank you all for you partnership in this … ONE God, ONE Church, ONE Mission.
As was announced early this fall, Harvest Bible Fellowship (the organization that we were serving with as a church) was essentially shut down and many HBF churches were moving away from James MacDonald’s leadership.
When we launched as a church nearly 10 years ago we didn’t plant with HBF because of a brand or because of a particular leader – we were eager to be a part of HBF because of the clarity, urgency and simplicity of the vision and the mission. So while we are thankful for the years with HBF, we move forward with anticipation as we partner with a new fellowship called the Great Commission Collective (GCC).
We are very excited for what God has for us in this new chapter!
As we move forward, what will a GCC church look like?
The GCC exists to empower the local church to fulfill the mission of making disciples in every nation.
This happens through equipping, training and coaching us, as the local church, to raise up pastors and leaders and partner together with other churches to plant more great commission churches around the world.
In the past we participated with HBF through giving 5% of our budget. This money was used by HBF to plant churches. The GCC will only take 2.5% and allow the local church to use the other half to help fund church planting efforts that God places on their hearts.
In doing this, the GCC is striving to move the model from churches supporting an organization that plants churches to being an organization that equips the local church to plant churches.
Harvest Muskoka, as a GCC church, will have at the core of this mission a conviction that a WORSHIPPING Church will be a SENDING Church.
As God finds worshipers who adore Him in spirit and truth, a watching world notices. This invitation to worship is not just an invitation to experience God’s presence; it’s an invitation to share His presence –worshipping and sending.
This conviction is seen in the 6 Distinctives of a GCC Church:
WE ARE A WORSHIPPING CHURCH:
- Fervent Prayer: We will seek the Lord, His Will and His way with hearts humble before him and confident in his plan
- Bold Preaching: We will fearlessly proclaim the truth about God and His Gospel by preaching the Scriptures in context with a dependence on the Holy Spirit to bring eternal life change.
- Passionate Worship: We will join our voices and lives with worshippers from every tribe, tongue and people to exalt Jesus Christ, responding to His matchless name.
WE ARE A SENDING CHURCH:
- Purposeful Disciple-Making: We will unreservedly give ourselves to the multiplication and maturation of Jesus’ followers in the pursuit of Christ-likeness together
- Courageous Evangelism: We will invade the darkness of a lost world by proclaiming the truth about Jesus and demonstrating His compassion locally and globally.
- Strategic Church Planting: We will plant churches – irresistible communities committed to the worship of God, the making of disciples, and the sending of multipliers into a world that needs Christ.
We pray that God will continue to use each of us for his mission…as God’s people, under God’s word, filled with God’s Spirit are humbly and desperately calling out to him…we will see God at work!
This summer it was announced that, with over 150 churches, HBF had become too large for a centralized structure (all the churches reporting to one church) and so a process was in place to regionalize the leadership structure.
As was mentioned in the earlier announcement, the Fellowship here in Canada is different than in the US as we are already a fully separate, autonomous legal charity, with our own functioning board. So while the Canadian Harvest Churches have been, in essence, regionalized for years this was now an HBF-wide change.
In this process of regionalization James MacDonald (the founding pastor and head of HBF) chose to abruptly resign from leading HBF.
So, rather than just regionalizing, we are joining a group of churches to form a completely new organization outside of James MacDonald’s leadership.
Please pray for the key leaders who are working to establish a new fellowship (tentatively called, the Great Commission Collective) marked by humility and the call of the gospel.
A group of 189 pastors and leaders, from 9 countries, representing 118 churches (including Pastor Kaj and Godfrey) are meeting in Dallas in a couple of weeks to prayerfully put together the next steps for what this new fellowship of churches will look like.
There is a lot of excitement for what God is building! Please be upholding us in prayer, as this re-establishing of the Fellowship is a significant task.
We will keep you up-to-date as more changes develop in the coming months.
Some FAQ’s that you may be asking:
How does this affect our church here in Muskoka and Parry Sound? There is no effect at all to what we are going here in our 2 Campuses. Also, as the organization moves forward there will be the same deep commitment to the same biblical values/ministry model we had since we launched.
Will we be changing our Church name? There are no plans right now to make a name change.
When will more details be coming? When Pastor Kaj returns from meeting in Dallas there will be much more clarity. Until then you can direct any questions to Kaj or any of our other Elders.