It was announced in a Family Chat on January 6/7 that we have accepted the resignation of Cory McKenna from our staff team as of December, 2017.
Cory senses an increased press by God to be fully devoted to his calling as an equipping evangelist. However, the role we have had him in allocated about 60-70% of his time to evangelism and compassion ministries, but the other 30-40% to general pastoral duties.
He requested full-time hours for evangelism and compassion as well as the ability to be away more weekends a year to help equip believers at other churches in the area.
We love and affirm Cory’s calling, but this was out of sync with our needs as a congregation, and with all the volunteers he has trained up, we do not see a full-time role in the evangelism and compassion areas as viable.
Cory will stay on staff through the end of the ministry season, in the spring.
Although we did not want Cory to resign as we love him and his family and they us, we believe this is God’s leading for them as well as for our ministry. We are very thankful for his many years of faithful service as God has used Cory to bless and grow our congregation.
We ended 2017 with actual donations to our general fund of around $1.7M. Our budget was $1.675M. We are grateful for God’s provision and working in the hearts of our people to help us meet our budget.
In addition, throughout 2017, we received generous giving towards our growth fund, and will use this to continue to pay down our mortgage. We plan to communicate details on the status of our mortgage and the remaining balance this spring.
We are also thankful to report that through your generous giving, we received $33,644 towards our Christmas Offering. The majority of these funds will be used to support Safe Families, with the remainder going to Harvest churches in the Caribbean, as well as to our Harvest Market.
Tax receipts for 2017 will be available mid-February. Please remember that photo ID is required to pick up your receipt. If you would like your receipt emailed, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our work on the feasibility of an expansion to our current location is continuing. We are getting close to firm plans to price out, however, our next step is to meet with City Hall and see if there are any requirements which would hinder the possibility of an expansion. For example, we may need to have raised islands in our parking lot, which would cost us parking spaces, and therefore render an expansion to our building unlikely.
We are still looking to sell our property on Colonel Talbot, and have had a few developers express interest. Other than an offer which was very low, no other firm offers have been made.
Please pray for meetings at City Hall, as well as the sale of our property on Colonel Talbot.
Harvest Kids Update
Our elders are very thankful for the ongoing growth in young families attending our church. This has been very encouraging to see, but has also put strain on our existing pool of volunteers in our Kids Ministry.
We have 232 volunteers serving over our 12 services a month, serving 326 children and 170 families who are blessed by this ministry. Even with this many volunteers, we are about 20-25 short of our required number to safely and properly care for your children. This number changes constantly through the seasons, especially when we lose our university students in the spring.
After many efforts to recruit volunteers, and still falling significantly short on the number needed to provide the required supervision and care of children in our weekend services, our elders have decided that at least one parent of families using this ministry will be expected to serve a minimum of once a month.
Although this may be difficult for some, it is our belief that this will be a blessing to you and your children, as you show them what it is to Worship, Walk, and Work for Christ.
Therefore, if at least one parent from your family is not currently engaged as a volunteer in children’s ministry, please sign up to serve once a month to help alleviate the shortfall we have in volunteers in this important ministry.
For those of you serving who do not have kids in this ministry, THANK YOU, as your continued service is so vital to this ministry.
Church Planting Update
We have had the privilege to help with planting in Nepal, and are excited to see a dozen Harvest churches in that needy country.
We are excited to be partnered with and helping to support and train the first Harvest in Cuba in Holguin. Please be praying for pastor Raphael and his family and church.
We are praying about partnering with and supporting a church plant in Belize City, Belize with pastor Pedro. Pedro is the principal of a residential Christian high school and is in the process of handing over leadership of that school so he can come for training and then plant a church. Be praying for him and us as we pursue this possibility in 2018/19.
We also have committed to help coach and partner with a pastor, Adrian Martinez, to plant the first Harvest in Australia, located in Melbourne. Adrian was trained this fall in Chicago, and was with us for a weekend in October and again in December. Adrian has returned to Australia to work with the core group he already has in place and launch a new church late this summer. We also have a small team who will be traveling to Australia this spring to spend some time with Adrian and his core group, getting them ready to launch.
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, please join our elders, who have been praying about planting a church locally, somewhere within an hour of London. By God’s grace, we have become a bit of a regional church, with people driving from all directions, but many long distances. We are seeking the Lord if He would have us plant another Harvest somewhere around London within the next two to three years.
GCC held the first Senior Pastor/Wife Retreat in February with pastors and wives there from over 70 of the 117 churches who are a part of GCC.
There was a focus on church planting, and the philosophy with which GCC will help churches get healthy, and then plant new churches.
There was a presentation regarding how GCC is going to work to strengthen their churches, via training, resources, fellowship, and care.
As part of the training, they are hiring a Director of Pastoral and Leadership Care, who will help oversee and ensure these things are happening.
GCC is starting several initiatives to promote organized training (including webinars, seminars, on-line forums, recruiting events, etc.), as well as greater knowledge sharing and fellowship amongst churches.
There will also be a greater focus on pastoral care, development, and character, as well as a significant increase in soul care training and discipleship, which will be offered to all churches.
All in all, everything presented was very exciting and affirming. The GCC is building on the strengths of our past, while adding some healthy, biblical, needed elements and focus going forward. Visit their website at gccollective.online.
Our elders had the joy to announce in our services on the weekend of March 3-4, that we are mortgage free!
Due to God’s provision through the generosity of our people, we were able to pay off the remaining balance of about $179,000 on our mortgage at the beginning of the year.
We took on our mortgage of $750,000 three years ago, so are tremendously thankful to God to be able to pay this off so quickly.
Future donations attributed towards our Growth fund will be put towards capital projects, or a possible future expansion.
Our current general fund YTD donations are around $250k, to a budget of $300k.
Historically, the first quarter of the year are lower months for giving, but we would like to encourage our people to remain faithful in this, so we are not left with a large deficit going into the last half of the year.
If you would like to sign up for giving through online banking, please contact Karen at email@example.com (on-line giving involves much less administrative work on our part in receiving donations).
Church Planting Update
We are continuing to work with Adrian Martinez on the first GCC church plant in Australia (in the city of Melbourne).
Adrian and his core group have been able to secure a meeting place at Monash Christian Fellowship, right across the street from the largest university in Australia. They have plans in place to officially launch late this summer.
We are sending a small team to Australia in April to meet with the core group and provide training. Please be praying for this team as they help prepare to launch.
Our elders are continuing to pray about a local church plant, somewhere within an hour of London. This possible church plant is still two to three years out, but we would ask you to be praying for us and the seeds that are being sown now for leaders and this future plant.
You can watch a video recruiting other churches to partner with us in planting Adrian at this webpage along with information about other GCC plants: gccollective.online/skw2018/
Harvest Kids Update
Our elders announced earlier this year that due to our continual shortfall of workers in our Children’s Ministry, that at least one parent of families using the ministry will be expected to serve a minimum of once a month.
Since implementing this requirement, we have had 15 families (of 55 families regularly using Children’s Ministry but not currently having at least one parent serving) contact us about serving. Of those families, 6 have applied and are actively in the process of getting plugged in and serving.
With the spring upon us, this means that many of our faithfully serving students who we depend on will be heading home, leaving a gap in the number of volunteers required to run this ministry each week.
Thank you to those of you who do faithfully serve on a regular basis.
It was announced, in our fall Family Chat, that with the full separation from Harvest Bible Chapel Chicago and James MacDonald, we were prayerfully considering a name change.
Upon further discussion and prayer, we now believe we need to change our name.
We will have more information on this in the coming months, but if you have a name suggestion, please send it to our office.
As announced early in January, the elders have accepted Cory McKenna’s resignation from our staff team, and he will be finishing up his time with us as a staff member the end of June.
As an Elder team, we are in full support of Cory’s next steps in ministry in leading The Cross Current and are excited about the impact his leadership will have there and in Canada.
We are working to ensure that all of Cory’s areas of responsibility are transitioned to other leaders.
Recently, we announced that we have started recruiting for a newly formed position on staff called “Pastor of Biblical Soul Care.” Please see our website for a complete job description and details on how to apply.
This is an exciting new ministry emphasis for our church, and this person would be responsible to develop, implement, and lead a variety of Soul Care related initiatives aimed at addressing the counselling and care needs of the church. This would include both a new “Freedom Groups” ministry, and a lay counsellor training program, which will lead to a trained group of people who can minister within the church.
We are actively connecting with other churches and counselling ministries to identify candidates.
We have been told by several churches that this is a particularly hard position to fill, so we would ask for your prayer support in the process.
We have accepted an offer to purchase our property on Colonel Talbot road. The buyer has 60 days to do their due diligence, so please be praying that all goes smoothly and we are able to firm up this deal.
The plan is to use the funds from this sale to go towards a potential building addition.
A building addition is still in the very early stages of discussion, but we are hoping that this would address our three main needs of more lobby space, classrooms, and offices.
We have a draft of the floor plans ready for pricing and will be looking at getting estimates over the next several months.
We will be communicating more information about the addition in the next few months, so stay tuned for more details.
Also, just a reminder that there’s always lots of work to be done around the building. If you are handy and looking for a great way to contribute, please contact Jon at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he’ll find a way to put you to work.
Church Plant Update
Our team travelled to Melbourne in April to provide training for the church plant in Melbourne, Australia.
We spent time building relationships with the core group, as well as providing some training and encouragement.
The response from that core group was very encouraging.
The core group is small, however they are very committed to this plant and have great unity, commitment, and excitement.
They are planning to launch in June as Vertical Church Melbourne.
We are also working with the fellowship (Great Commission Collective) to get other churches to partner with us in this church plant.
Please be praying for an encouraging launch, and energy for the team as they sort out the remaining details.
Name Change Update
Beginning last fall, we have been communicating that we have separated from Harvest Bible Fellowship and Harvest Bible Chapel Chicago and are now affiliated with “The Great Commission Collective”. As a result of that change, we have also been communicating that a church name change was likely in our future.
It was announced in April that as of this fall, Harvest Bible Chapel will be changing its name to Redemption Bible Chapel.
We started with over 75 names suggested, which was narrowed down to 5 names, then the elders sensed the Lord leading us to the name “Redemption”. The elders agreed to take some time to pray and seek the Lord some more for confirmation of this new church name, or a redirection from Him.
Our sense of leading to this new name has been confirmed, and we are very excited, enthusiastic, and unanimous in our believe and support that God has led us to our new church name of Redemption Bible Chapel.
We love this name because:
Redemption is a rich Biblical and theological word (Eph. 1:7-8a, Heb. 9:12, Col. 1:13-14, Rom. 3:23-25)
We are a Bible church and believe we needed to keep this in our name. We are unashamed to be known as a Bible church! We are sold-out, praying God would keep us forever as a Bible church.
We originally had thought we would go with “Church” rather than Chapel. However, we believe keeping “Bible Chapel” keeps a least some consistency with our old name, Harvest Bible Chapel, honoring our heritage over the past 12 years, and the name just flows better as Redemption Bible Chapel.
We will begin a series of many tasks to implement this new name for our fall kickoff. Signs, printed material, government and web changes, new logos and branding, etc. There’s lots to do, but we are excited as this is our final step in making the transition from Harvest Bible Fellowship, to being a Great Commission Collective church with the same core, commitments, and values, but an exciting new association and future with the GC Collective.
We're looking to hire a Pastor of Biblical Soul Care:Click Here