September has arrived and with it the launch of a new ministry year. With that in mind, we are pleased to update you on a number of elder matters. As always, we are grateful for your prayers and we thank the Lord for his grace and provision. As the Psalmist wrote, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” (Psalm 115:1)—Rob, elder chair
Our anniversary will pass quietly on September 16. To read a short history of how Harvest came to be, read the passage on our website. We’re grateful for all that God has done over these past 21 years and are eager to see what he will do through us and in us in year 22!
We held the Annual General Meeting of the voting members of the board on May 24 and the Annual Members’ Meeting on May 29. The 2021 financials were presented by our accountant at the AGM and approved and then presented to the members at the AMM. The document is available on the GIVE page of our website along with the video of the AMM and a link to our CRA reporting.
We’re grateful for how God has been supplying our need in 2022 through your giving. Here’s a snapshot of where we are as of July 31 heading into the last five months of the fiscal year.
General Operating Fund as of July 31:
Offerings actual $ 926,125
Expenses actual $ 969,035
Current deficit $ 42,910
The elders have finally completed a major project to compile a policy, procedures and training manual for serving as an elder at Harvest. This was a recommendation coming out of our DNA review that was completed in 2020. If you would like a copy of the first edition of Uncommon Elders, send us an email at email@example.com. We are already working on a second edition. We have also received more than 40 requests from pastors across the country, the U.S. and from churches in several other countries wanting a copy.
We are almost ready to announce a new elder candidate to you for congregational affirmation. This man has been sitting with the board as a trial elder since February and we believe that he is qualified to serve as an overseer here at Harvest. Once his name is released to the church, you will have 30 days to respond. If anyone has an outstanding issue with the candidate, they are encouraged to resolve that issue with the candidate himself. If resolution is not achieved, you are encouraged to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and a meeting will be arranged to seek a resolution. Of course, we’re also good with receiving letters of affirmation on his behalf! Please pray for all involved as we seek God’s will in this.
Luke and Camryn Dugard and Harvest Ayr
Consistent with what we read in Acts 13:1-3, the elders have approved Luke and Camryn Dugard for a one-year mission to Ayr, Scotland to assist Pastor Lee Ballantine with the new church plant in that city. This is a daughter church of our daughter church in Glasgow. We, as a church, have pledged $1000/month from our partnership funds toward the Dugards’ support, and they are seeking to raise the remainder of their need ($2650/month + $2500 one-time for transportation) from friends, family and anyone who is interested in supporting their ministry. Information is available here. They are hoping to be in Scotland by mid-October.
New ministry year
We’re grateful for our amazing staff team and the tireless work they put in to lead this ministry. Harvest is structured so that the elders protect the vision, values and doctrine of the church, the staff team leads the church, the members and attendees worship together and serve faithfully, doing the work of ministry, and the world receives this ministry of the gospel. As we all move into a new ministry year, pray that the Holy Spirit will empower all that we do in all the ways we do it. All for the glory of Christ!
We finally got new photos taken! It had been a while! Check out our updated webpage and see who your elders are. If you’re newer to Harvest, we’d love to meet you on a Sunday when we’re together at 7 George Street. Feel free to introduce yourself.
It has been many months now since our last elder update! Out of the norm for us. Can we claim, “No news is good news” as our excuse? The reality is that many good things are happening at Harvest. The Lord is so kind and is working in extraordinary ways here, and an update on all the good news is warranted.
And we’ll hear about those good news items and more at the Annual Members’ Meeting on Sunday, May 29, at 7 p.m. (in person event only).
The agenda for the evening will include:
An opening time in the Word and prayer by Peter Millard, the chair of the elder board
A presentation of the 2021 financials by Wendy Brouwer, our finance director
A brief report on our current financial position in 2022 (1st quarter)
A presentation of “Moving Forward: the post-pandemic plans for Harvest Barrie” by our lead pastor, Todd Dugard
Other ministry updates
And an opportunity for your questions
The evening will be capped off with refreshments in the south lobby compliments of Tony Arnott, whose phone rang during last year’s AMM. That’s the Harvest rule; if your phone goes off in a meeting, you bring snacks to the next one. Thanks, Tony!
We are looking forward to formally inducting Erich Koroshetz as an elder on Sunday, November 21. Erich became an elder on October 19 after an extensive 13-month process. He is already distinguishing himself in our meetings and, as the youngest elder on the team, he brings down our average age a bit! We feel younger already! Thank you for praying for Erich and Val as he steps into this leadership role in our Harvest family.
After being unable to get together for such a long time, it was a special blessing for the elders and their wives to gather for a meal together in October.
The Pandemic, Restrictions, and Vaccine Passport
As elders, we have been pleased with the way the staff team has led our church through the challenges of restrictions to continue to care for the body, to remain focussed on the gospel, and to have a vision for even greater ministry. As you already know, we have been generally supportive of government measures to deal with the pandemic. From the start of the pandemic, we made it clear that as long as we were treated fairly with respect to capacity limits, we would continue to comply with the measures. Though it is an imperfect analogy, we stated that if attending a place of worship was treated similarly to attending concerts, movies, and sporting events (each one gathering a large group of people to essentially observe something happening at the front), we would happily comply. And that has been the case until the most recent announcement by the Ontario government.
In its statement of October 8, the government said that theatres, concerts, and sporting events would have their capacity limits eliminated, along with physical distancing requirements. Places of worship were also granted the same privilege—and here’s the condition—so long as the place of worship requires the vaccine passport. Thus, only full-vaccinated persons could attend worship. That’s something that, as elders, we simply cannot and will not require. To close the doors of the church to anyone is inherently unloving and contrary to the gospel. And again, there is no inequity with movie theatres, concerts, and sporting events because each one is requiring the vaccine passport. The church will remain open to all, regardless of vaccine status. Thus, we will remain restricted in terms of physical distancing.
That said, with several members of our Harvest family affected by vaccine mandates and the threat of job loss, we will state our concern about the loss of civil liberties. We believe that the governments of Canada and Ontario have been disingenuous in their statements about vaccine thresholds (Ontario is nearing 90% vaccinated) and have trampled the Charter rights of individuals in the public service. It is a grave concern of ours that we have so easily given in to the pragmatics of what benefits me now to the exclusion of what is best for our country in the long term.
The Annual Members Meeting was held on September 19 in person and on livestream. Aside from the normal presentation of the financials, Pastor Todd presented a report entitled, “The Pandemic Changed This for Good.” It was a helpful look at the changes that have resulted in our approach to ministry through the last 19 months. If you were unable to attend, you can watch the meeting online.
In the past year, the elders adopted a protocol regarding baptism that frees up this ordinance to be practiced consistent with what we see in the New Testament and free of church tradition. You can read the protocol here.
Good-byes and Hellos
One of the things that has become apparent over the past 19 months of the pandemic is that an adjustment is taking place in churches across North America. What we have observed—and many others as well—is that the core membership has been strengthened, many on the fringe have drifted away, and many newcomers have arrived. We’re certainly seeing that here at Harvest. We have, sadly, seen many who were occasional attendees simply disappear. Several long-time families have left for various reasons, but we have also welcomed many new people, eager to be a part of what the Lord is doing here.
End-of-Year Offering: 7 George Street
You have been so faithful in your giving through 2021! You may have noticed that our pastors stopped mentioning anything about the offering on Sunday mornings. There’s no great strategy behind that. We have simply taken a break from saying anything about it. Not that we won’t ever say anything again. And as we reported at the AMM, the finances are solid, you are giving, and God is providing.
But, with this in mind, we have put a special effort in front of the church as 2021 winds down. You should have received an email on November 2 introducing our end-of-year offering to raise needed funds for our building. We are so grateful to God for this amazing facility that we get to use, and we have a need to shore up the fund that helps us maintain and renovate it. You can read more about the offering here. Pray that we will be able to raise or even surpass the $200,000 goal through your generous gifts.
Staff 20th Anniversary!
We would like to acknowledge the incredible part that Joyce Martin has played on our staff team for twenty years now! For those who are not aware, Joyce is the quiet, behind-the-scenes, administrative strength that allows for the smooth operation of our staff team. They sometimes call her, “the glue.” Joyce, her husband Dave, and their four children were members of the same church in St. Thomas as the Dugard family, and felt called to move here with them in 2001 to join the core group that planted Harvest. She joined the staff team on November 1, 2001, a few weeks after the church launched. As elders, we’re grateful they did! We’ve given her a gift, on behalf of the church, to thank her for her two decades of faithful service.
Thank you for reading this important update from the elders. In these days we remember that God is firmly in control of all things. Someone shared a reading in Ephesians 1 in our Tuesday morning prayer meeting recently, reminding us that God is working, “according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time.” That’s a good word for all of us as we lean in to trust him more in uncertain days. Uncertain for us, but not at all for the Lord who saves us. We hope you’re blessed and encouraged as you read about some of the things that the elders are discussing and working on these days.
The Pandemic, Restrictions, and Vaccines
As this pandemic drags on, we see increased hospitalizations, ICU admissions, variants of concern, and a host of collateral damage to the financial and business health of our country, as well as emotional, relational, and mental health issues. We are also aware, as Christians, that this is driving a wedge within local churches and in the broader church community. Bible-believing Christians, pastors, and churches are finding themselves on opposite sides of a contentious debate about restrictions, vaccines, pandemic politics, and whether the church should have unrestricted freedom to meet in person or not.
Our position has been clear from the beginning of this long pandemic, and we have re-iterated it regularly over the last 15 months:
We are generally supportive of government measures to curb COVID-19 even if we do not always agree with the decisions that have been made. We understand that we do not have all the information necessary to make these decisions and that we are not experts in economics or epidemiology.
We have had and will continue to have conversations with government and health unit officials with respect to places of worship being treated equitably in terms of restrictions. On our behalf, our lead pastor has engaged with the medical officer of health, his staff, and our MPPs on several occasions to lobby on behalf of places of worship and specifically to raise the concerns of those who are suffering as a result of restrictions.
We do not believe that the gospel has been hindered, that churches have been unfairly treated, or that this is in any way to be considered persecution of Christians, pastors, or churches. All things considered, we have had a great year of ministry with conversions, baptisms, and new members joining.
We have taken a hands-on approach to supporting first-responders, frontline workers in health care, small businesses, and families that have faced financial pressure. We have increased our giving to local partners and have seen greater engagement from our church in terms of assistance and volunteering.
We hold firmly to the principle that God is at work in the pandemic and that we must not resist his work but discern what he has for us to learn and grow in as Christians and as the church.
We lament that a small but vocal number of pastors, Christians, and churches have taken a contentious posture toward the government, their own communities, and their fellow Christians by making the pandemic a test of faithfulness to the gospel. Their claim of persecution is offensive to those who truly are persecuted around the world and their accusations of cowardice toward those of us who have complied with the restrictions are disappointing.
So, it follows that with respect to vaccines, we are supportive of government measures to vaccinate as many Canadians as possible. As history has demonstrated, vaccines have provided a quality of life that has been free of some of the devastating diseases that afflicted people prior to and including the 20th century. Medical progress is the end result of using our God-given gifts and intelligence to find solutions to the effects of this sin-marred world we live in. It is the common grace of God. Having said this, we also understand that not all feel comfortable with the vaccines. In addition, some people may have a valid health reason for not receiving a vaccine. If you have specific concerns with the vaccines, we advise you to consult with a physician and not social media. We also want to be clear that there is room in the church for that disagreement. As elders, we are not saying that everyone ought to be vaccinated; the choice remains a personal one and whatever decision a person makes will be respected.
The voting members of the corporation (Harvest Bible Chapel Barrie), which include the board directors (i.e. the non-vocational elders), our lead pastor, and our emeritus elder, will meet with the finance team, our staff director of finance, and our outside accountants to review the 2020 Financials and then conduct the 2021 Annual General Meeting. All motions required by the government to fulfill the obligations of incorporation will be brought forward and approved at that meeting on Tuesday, June 8.
On Thursday, June 10, at 7 p.m., the members of Harvest Bible Chapel Barrie will be invited to attend the Annual Members’ Meeting to hear reports and presentations by the elders with respect to the financials and other matters of importance. If the stay-at-home orders are not extended to include June 10, this will be a hybrid meeting with in-person attendees (limited by whatever percentage is permitted) and a private livestream for those who choose to remain at home. Otherwise, it will be a private livestream only.
Worship Director Search Update
Pastor Todd is leading the effort to find our next worship pastor/director. A number of applicants have contacted us with their C.V. as a result of our advertising of the role, but only one has caught our attention. That applicant has become our primary (only) candidate and has participated in six meetings to date and many other side conversations with staff and some of our key volunteers. As soon as restrictions allow, we will be providing an opportunity for some of our musicians and vocalists to meet with him to jam. This will allow us to assess his chemistry with our team and his musicianship. Of note, this candidate is from outside of Canada. The extra challenges that this present during a global pandemic are obvious. Please pray that God will continue to lead us and the candidate and his wife as we carry on with the process as it has been laid out.
Given the ongoing pandemic restrictions and the current lack of a worship director, we have paused our drive to plant in Alliston until 2022. We are continuing to set aside funds for this plant and holding out the vision to have a new campus there soon to reach that growing community with the gospel.
The big news since our last update was that we were accepted into full membership with Acts 29 Canada. This makes us part of a diverse global community of church-planting churches. Pastor Todd preached a message on April 25 that laid out exactly what Acts 29 is all about and why we’re so excited to be part of it. If you have been tracking with us over the past four years, you know that this has been a challenging season for our church as we saw the dissolution of our former fellowship and embarked on a lengthy evaluation of our own DNA. Joining Acts 29 represents both the ending of that chapter and the beginning of a whole new one. We’re anticipating the great things that God has in store for us in the days ahead, and we’re grateful for his kindness in leading through the challenging days.
Elder Board Members
We are pleased to let you know that we now have a trial elder at the table. This man completed one of the most thorough elder questionnaires of all time! He will now sit with the elders for a period of not less than three months to assess his suitability to be an elder. It is, in many ways, a lengthy “job” interview. We’re eager to see how God leads in this. We are also open to looking at other candidates. If you have a man in mind who you think would be a qualified elder based on what we read in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, and 1 Peter 5:1-5, please submit a letter of commendation to the elders concerning the man you’re thinking of.
We are glad that Clement Bamikole will be re-joining the board following the Annual General Meeting on June 8. Clem has served as an elder for ten years now and was on his mandatory year off since last June. Clem brings so much to the table and we’re grateful that he has agreed to return to his shepherding role in the church. Continue to pray for Clem and his wife Bimpe, who works as a nurse at Southlake in Newmarket and has felt the weight of being a frontline worker this past year. Clem and Bimpe became first time grandparents recently when their son and daughter-in-law, Peter and Rebecca, delivered a beautiful granddaughter to them! Praise God!
No elders are scheduled for their year off in 2021. It will be great to have the full complement at the table!
As we come to you with this latest update, first and foremost, we give glory to God for all that he is doing in our church family and in his church throughout the world. It is evident that the Lord is at work and we’re grateful to be a small part of it.
We are also deeply grateful for your prayers and support for our team of elders, staff, and volunteers as we look to honour the Lord in fulfilling the Great Commission during some very challenging times. We do so because the LORD is in control and accomplishing his purposes. To the shattered nation of Israel he said, “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose…I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.” (Isaiah 46:10-11). We rest in that and join him in his work.
2020 year-end financials
We had the sense as the year was progressing that things were going quite well financially. As a result of COVID there were reductions to certain budget lines but there were also many new expenses that we had not faced before this unusual year. In March 2020, we met to plan for expected lower giving and adjusted the budget accordingly. But you surprised us! The Lord provided all that we needed and far more through your faithful giving week by week. We posted a healthy surplus which was moved into our reserve/savings, some of which was used to pay down that pesky second mortgage.
The full financial picture from 2020 will be presented at the Annual Members’ Meeting in June after our accountant has reviewed the financials and given them his stamp of approval. For now, here are some highlights:
We posted a revenue over expenses surplus of $107,885 in 2020. The accountants will adjust this number with respect to depreciation and interest payments;
Regarding our loans, our second mortgage balance is now just $58,484 at the lower rate of 5.25% and will be paid off or rolled into the first mortgage this coming December when we renew; the outstanding balance on the first mortgage (purchase of 7 George Street facility) is $2,221,500;
The sale of bonds was successful with $439,000 in bonds now being held by our own members. A second issue of bonds will be made available this spring and will help us reduce the mortgage principle before we renew;
The following balances reflect our current financial position:
Designated Building Reserve
As elders, we want to express our gratitude to our finance team for the work they have done this year to ensure the integrity of our processes. We also want to thank Wendy Brouwer, our finance and human resources director, for her tireless work managing it all.
The Salvation Army Bayside Mission
Thank you for your support for the Bayside Mission. Pastor Todd had originally reported that a cheque of $10,545 had been sent. Once the dust settled on the year-end though, we were able to send them a second cheque for $5,065 for a total of $15,610! That’s awesome! Now that our Christmas effort has wrapped up and we are not receiving further donations for the Bayside Mission, any gifts you’d like to send their way should be given through their website.
Site pastor search for Alliston
We will be posting the job description on various search sites soon and will be asking God to lead us to a great pastoral candidate to lead our effort to plant a new Harvest site in Alliston. Anyone can contribute directly to the Alliston Plant Fund through the regular giving methods. All donations received will be used exclusively for Alliston.
Affiliation decision progress
After more than three years of being unaffiliated, the elders have all but completed the process of choosing the network of churches that we will partner with. A provisional decision has been made and we are calling on the church to take some time over the next 14 days to fast and pray and seek God’s face for this important decision. Barring any check from the Lord, on Tuesday, March 9 we will make the final determination and begin the assessment process with this group. Our goal remains to be affiliated by April 1.
Worship pastor/director search
The search for a worship pastor/director was put on hold due to the cascading restrictions related to the pandemic. As these restrictions begin to ease, we will resume our search in earnest. Please continue to pray that the Lord directs us to the man of his choice. The elders would like to thank Joel Dugard for his ongoing work as our interim worship director. As many of you know, Joel stepped into the interim role after the departure of our previous worship pastor, Jordan Donald. Since that time, Joel has done a remarkable job leading our worship team, particularly during the many changes to our worship format driven by the pandemic. Joel’s employment contract with the church will be complete on or before December 31, 2021. The elders wish Joel and Meggan God’s continued blessing as they seek his will for what’s next in their life and ministry.
Elder candidate progress
We are actively working with one candidate for elder and would appreciate your prayers for us as we meet with him in the coming weeks. His questionnaire has been submitted, and we have reviewed it carefully. The next steps include interviews with the candidate and then with the candidate and his wife. If we are in a place to go forward, he will be invited to the elders’ meetings as a trial elder for a period of time to assess his suitability to be serving in this role. Again, please pray for us as we walk through this process in the coming months.
We are also open to looking at other candidates. If you have someone in mind, please submit a letter of commendation to the elders concerning the man you’re thinking of.
As we continue to experience the effects of COVID-19 and the restrictions that it brings, some of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ (even some in our own Harvest family) and some churches have taken a different stand than we have on the legitimacy of the lockdowns. Our elders and staff have been resolute from the beginning that the church is still the church even when we only meet online. Ministry will carry on though in a different form, the mission to make disciples remains our focus, and we are still to love God and love people while obeying the government orders.
You may be reading news or seeing posts about some of these outspoken pastors, Christian leaders, and churches as they push back on the government and hold services in contravention of the lockdown orders. Police have now charged several in Ontario. At least two that we were once affiliated with.
We want our Harvest Barrie family to know that our position has not changed and this post, written by an esteemed and godly professor emeritus at Heritage Seminary, sums up our conviction:
Our last update was in July and plenty has happened since that time. The country is still in the grip of this pandemic and the restrictions continue to affect how we function as a church. Through these last months, the Lord has opened the door to far greater ministry through in-person worship (three services), livestream services, and on demand. The elders are grateful for our staff team who continue to serve the Lord, our church, and the community-at-large with distinction.
Here are some items that have crossed the elder table that you should be aware of:
Q3 financial update, bonds, and the 2021 Budget
As of September 30 (the end of the third quarter), we have an operating surplus (revenue over expenses) of $66,506. We would like to thank you for your faithfulness in giving this year. The Lord has provided through you and that has put us in a much more favourable position to pursue vision initiatives and carry on with our ministry unhindered.
You have no doubt seen that we are selling bonds in order to retire the second mortgage which is the residual construction loan of $718,160. It is strapping our cashflow because of the 8% interest rate. The bond issue will provide investors and savers with an attractive interest rate while giving the church’s cashflow much needed breathing room. Please consider purchasing bonds. It is really a win-win for you and the church. Go visit our website the details.
The board has approved the 2021 budget at $1,500,269 or $28,178/week. We are currently averaging $28,065/week since the beginning of the pandemic restrictions began in March. That would represent an increase of just $113 weekly or $5,876 for the year. The elders are grateful for the incredible effort put in by our finance director, Wendy Brouwer, and our finance team in preparing and scrutinizing this new budget. And we continue to marvel at God’s goodness toward us and the generosity of all who give toward this church and our mission.
AMM and DNA Report
At our delayed Annual Members’ Meeting on Sunday, October 25, the elders presented our report on the year-long evaluation of the culture and practices of our church. We examined 100 “DNA” items that we identified as Harvest philosophy and culture. This was prompted by the recent challenges faced by our mother church (which planted us in 2001) and the dissolution of the Harvest Bible Fellowship, of which we were a founding member church. The report is available to anyone by request. We appreciate the more than 30 questions and comments that came in during the meeting and the great spirit you displayed as we discussed all of this. The hybrid in-person and livestream format seemed to work well. Thanks for your flexibility and patience with us.
With the DNA report complete, we are now searching in earnest for the right fit for our affiliation. Some have asked us, “Is it necessary to affiliate at all?” The short answer, from our perspective, is “Yes!” We believe that the synergies developed, the accountability provided, and the encouragement that comes from mutual ministry outweighs any advantages of remaining unaffiliated. As a board, we have laid out our decision-making plan and will be working on this over the next few months. The 2021 budget includes funding for affiliation as of April 1. Please pray for us as we seek God’s will for our church.
We have two potential candidates for elder who are currently working on their questionnaires. We remain open to other candidates and would solicit letters of recommendation from the congregation for potential candidates. This should be a letter giving reasons for your recommendation and should be written only after carefully considering the qualifications for elders given in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, and 1 Peter 5:1-3. Send your letters to email@example.com. The elders will take these letters into consideration as we proceed. And pray for the two candidates currently in the pipeline.
It should be noted that funding has been included in the 2021 budget to launch a new Harvest Bible Chapel site in Alliston. We will begin a search for a location pastor in the next few months.
The Barrett Family
The elders have also endorsed long-time Harvest members, Andrew and Jennifer Barrett, to serve with Emmanuel’s Wish in South Africa for four years. We have included financial support for them as partners in our 2021 budget, and we looking forward to an official laying on of hands service to commission them for this ministry. To learn more about what they’ll be doing and who they are, check out their Barretts in Africa website.
It’s all about Jesus
For the devotional at our last elders’ meeting, Peter walked us through Ephesians 1:3-10where we saw some of the spiritual blessings we have in Christ. Under the theme “Christ is God’s Everything,” he showed how all of God’s undertakings for us—redemption, forgiveness, adoption—only come to us “in Christ,” and further, he reminded us that all of history will culminate in the exaltation of Jesus as Lord of all with every knee bowing to him. Peter challenged us to keep Jesus front and centre in everything we do as a church, because, if Jesus is “God’s everything,” then he must be everything to us as well. That’s a great word for us all.
At any time, if you have a question or comment, please let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We thought it would be great to update you on a few things right here in the middle of the hot summer days we’re experiencing. There is a lot going on in our church that you need to be aware of, so here goes…
INTRODUCING OUR NEW FINANCE TEAM
We are pleased to let you know that our newly-constituted finance team is in place and on the job. As a result of a review of our financial practices during our DNA evaluation, we wanted to enhance the already rigourous financial practices of our church. The new finance team is made up of two staff representatives (Pastor Todd and Wendy Brouwer, our finance director), one elder, who chairs the team (Terry Codling, our elder emeritus), and now three members-at-large from the congregation: Danisha Allen, Ben Hoffman, and Rob Tigwell. All three have business and finance training and/or experience, and we are grateful for the role they will play as internal auditors and advisors to the board. They will have access to all areas of our finances including cheques and debit transfers, the full budget lines, all financial reports, and compensation information. The only area not under their scrutiny is donor records. Pray for these servants as they execute their important work of accountability.
2020 BUDGET SUMMARY AND FINANCIAL UPDATE
As of June 1, the board approved a third iteration of our 2020 budget. The original budget that had a weekly requirement of $27,273 was revised when the COVID-19 lockdown began. We anticipated financial challenges and implemented an austerity budget of just $23,604/week as of March 1. Through the first 10-12 weeks of the lockdown, it was obvious that our offerings were trending much higher than we had anticipated. We revised the budget as of June 1 to $26,325/week. Some items from the original budget were significantly reduced, (eg. facility costs, general operating supplies, guest services) while new items were added related to our COVID response (eg. signage, PPE, video platform subscription, internet enhancement). There were also some staffing changes made that we previously reported to you in March.
With that in mind, we can report that 27 weeks into the budget year, the General Operating Fund is showing a surplus of $67,544 with offerings of $751,988 received to date. That is so encouraging! We’re grateful for your faithful giving during this unusual year. And we should add that even with a reduced budget, our spending is staying within or below the forecasted expenses. Further, we are not rushing to spend the surplus as we continue to approach this year cautiously.
We are looking forward to providing a more complete update at the annual members’ meeting in September.
Our accountants attended the elders’ board meeting this past Tuesday and presented their review of our 2019 financials. We received a “Clean Review” and the final report is now posted on our website’s “Giving” page.
One of the major COVID-related expenditures was the buildout of the new production rooms and studio to support the ongoing livestreaming of our worship services with the return to in-person services. The elders allocated the funds for this capital expenditure from the building reserve. Volunteers painted the walls this past week and carpet will be going down soon. The temporary production rooms and studios will then be torn down and moved into this permanent area.
DNA EVALUATION AND REPORT
In June, the elders completed our year-long evaluation of the culture and practices of our church, examining 100 “DNA” items that we identify as Harvest philosophy and culture. Due to recent challenges faced by our mother church (which planted us in 2001), we set out to determine what was biblical and/or best practice and therefore should be retained, versus what needed to be changed or eliminated from what we inherited from our planting church. With the evaluation complete, a report is now being written that will be approved by the elders and presented at the annual members’ meeting in September.
UPDATED DOCTRINAL STATEMENT
The updated doctrinal statement was approved this past week and is now posted on our website. This was a review and update of our previous statement crafted by our former fellowship.
CLEMENT BAMIKOLE STARTING HIS YEAR OFF
Since we incorporated, we have had a policy in place that prescribes that an elder must take a year off once he has served two consecutive three-year terms. Clement Bamikole has served with distinction since December 2011 (that’s almost nine years!) and is deserving of a sabbath rest. Pray for Clem as he finds refreshment in the next twelve months and then as he comes back ready to serve again with renewed vigour.
The board is in the early stages of seeking the Lord for new candidates to serve as elders in our Harvest family. We have been considering men for this role and praying for the Spirit’s leading. We would solicit letters of recommendation from the congregation for potential candidates. This should be a letter giving reasons for your recommendation and should be written only after carefully considering the qualifications for elders given in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, and 1 Peter 5:1-3. Send your letters to email@example.com. The elders will take these letters into consideration as we proceed.
BE THE CHURCH
With all that has happened in these unusual days, we want to re-affirm some things that our pastor has been saying recently. The church is a mystical body; the temple of the Holy Spirit, and is not bound in any way by geography and location. While we firmly believe that gathering together in person is preferable and most advantageous to being the church and encouraging one another (see Hebrews 10:25), we are no less the church when we gather in Zoom rooms or in smaller groups, outside, with physical distancing in place and/or masks on. Yes, church has become harder to do. But it is so worth it! For now, in these unusual days, we gather as best we can online, in person, in parks and backyards and patios to be the church and carry out our mission in this world. What is most essential is that we not neglect this habit! So, tune into the livestream, come to Sunday morning services, connect in a safe way with your small group, make the call, get together in a Zoom room. And be the church.
We would appreciate hearing your questions or comments; send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you
At our Tuesday morning prayer time, Pastor Roger read Psalm 46 and Pastor Todd focussed our thoughts on verse 6, “The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.” The novel coronavirus has brought the nations of the world to their knees. Thousands of airplanes sit idle at airports around the world. Borders are all but closed. Governments have opened the coffers to prop up economies that have been devastated by an unseen foe. God “utters his voice, the earth melts.” He is sovereign, and we are his servants. There’s a lot of comfort in that.
Here are just a few updates from the elders:
ANNUAL MEMBERS MEETING
Our annual report to the members of the church is usually held in June following the Annual General Meeting of the voting members of the corporation (the board of directors, the lead pastor, and our emeritus elder). To keep us legal, the AGM will proceed once the 2019 financials are available, but we will delay the Annual Members Meeting until we can meet in person if that is within a reasonable time frame. We’re hoping that it can happen in September. We are open to a livestream of the AMM if that is best, but we would still prefer to meet in person. Stay tuned for updates on this as the province announces a loosening of restrictions.
Our DNA evaluation is nearing an end! We are in the last section of items looking at culture and leadership. The changes that have come about as a result of COVID-19 have further delayed our discussions but we are on track to finish our work very soon. We are eager to complete this project and present the findings at the Annual Members Meeting. Please continue to pray for us as we work on this important identity document for our church.
Very simply, we are thankful for you and your generous giving over the past several weeks. We did the difficult work of trimming the budget in anticipation of a reduction in offerings due to the COVID-19 lockdown. We have seven weeks of livestreaming services behind us now and you have responded in great faith to give in an extraordinary way. In addition to your gifts that have brought our HOPE fund to more than $30,000 available to help those in need right now, you have also stepped up to give more than the weekly need over these seven weeks. You have lifted our spirits with your generosity, and this has relieved a weight of ministry from the shoulders of our staff and board. Thank you.
It is with sadness that we inform the church that the elders have accepted a letter of resignation from Dave MacDonald regarding his position on the elder board. Dave has served as an elder since 2010 and has contributed so much to the life of our Harvest family. We’re grateful for his leadership and will miss the sharp thinking and passion that he brought to our elder discussions. It is our hope to acknowledge Dave’s work as an elder at an upcoming worship service.
As elders, we want to express our appreciation for our amazing staff team. Over the last two months, they have risen to the challenge of doing church in an entirely new way and pulled it off with only minor technical issues. Pastor Todd must be acknowledged for carefully guiding the team during this time of unprecedented change. The other senior leaders—Roger, Dwayne, and Jeannie—have all adapted quickly to this new normal of doing ministry. The “young guns”—Jordan and Joel—together with Andrew and the technical team, have been key in transitioning us to the livestream world. As elders, we look at all this and frankly, feel our age (I guess that’s why we’re called elders) and like many of you, are a bit overwhelmed by all this technology. Yet we are so grateful to the Lord for providing all the resources needed to enable our church to stay on mission and proclaim the life-changing message of the Gospel.
We would appreciate hearing your questions or comments; send them to email@example.com and we will get back to you
Welcome to 2020! We continue to trust God as we move into this new year and are mindful of God’s promise of his supernatural provision from Deuteronomy 11:11–12: “But the land that you are going over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water by the rain from heaven, a land that the Lord your God cares for. The eyes of the Lord your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.”
This past Sunday, February 2, Pastor Todd delivered a State of the Church message that outlined some of what you’ll read in this update. The video of that message is available on our website.
DOCTRINAL STATEMENT REVISION IS COMPLETE
As a result of the dissolution of the Harvest Bible Fellowship in 2017, we embarked on a project to create our own, more robust, doctrinal statement.
In the past year, after months of study, discussions, writing, reviewing, and rewriting, we released a draft of the new statement to the congregation for thirty days for comments. Once that period of time was over, the elders discussed and approved some changes. The draft then underwent a final grammar, spelling, and Scripture review.
That final statement is now complete and has been approved by the elders and will be recommended to the members of the corporation for approval, and finally presented at the Annual Members’ Meeting in June 2020 as our official doctrinal statement.
Thank you to those who provided input along the way and prayed for us in the process.
We acknowledge, as some of you have graciously pointed out, that the process of evaluating our church’s DNA has taken a lot longer than anticipated.
As of the date of this post, we are approximately 70% of the way through the evaluation with another three-hour session booked for later this month to continue the process. We are hoping to be done very soon. Please understand that this is a deep dive into all aspects of our ministry.
We took on this effort in order to determine what needs to change in light of the crisis that hit our planting church, Harvest Bible Chapel Chicago, because we know we have much shared DNA. Determining what is biblical or best practice and should be retained versus what is toxic and unbiblical is proving to be a massive challenge.
We would ask you to continue to pray for us as we consider carefully the kind of church we want to be. Our pledge is that the evaluation will be completed this spring and that we will then launch a visioning process that will be fully reported on at the Annual Members’ Meeting in June.
Thank you for your patience.
2019: We have already reported that 2019 was a challenging year for us financially. We made three budget cuts throughout the year, curtailed our spending, and put a push on in the last six weeks of the year to bring us as close to the mark as possible. In the end, we finished 2019 with a small deficit of $7,832. We’re grateful to the Lord that you gave an additional $70,000 in the last weeks of the year to help us get to that place.
Made for This: If you pledged and/or gave to the campaign, you should have already received your final communication of the Made for This campaign. We came up short of the $3.2 million that was pledged in 2016, but more than $2.7 million came in and some of you are continuing to give.
That’s helpful because we are still carrying just over $800,000 of the construction loan. As you can imagine, those payments will become a burden on the ministry operations as we now have to carry that amount in the regular budget along with the mortgage on the building purchase.
Many of you have excelled in the act of generous giving over these three years (2 Corinthians 8:1-7), and we need everyone to not let up now. Much is left to do and we need the financial resources to carry it all out.
2020: We have brought in a budget for 2020 that is equal to the actual revenues we received in 2019, $1.418 million. But as we said above, this amount now includes a mortgage payment on the facility, a loan payment for construction, and all the ministry and partner obligations that are normally part of our general fund budget.
It will be a challenging year for sure.
We need everyone who calls Harvest their home to be faithful and generous in their giving throughout the year.
Our weekly need for 2020 is $27,269 and, with the debt payments, this represents a bare-bones budget with no new initiatives planned. A good way to see our current financial situation is to simply drop a zero and think of it in terms of a household:
Special Financial Advisor: We are so grateful that Jim Beattie, our former treasurer, has agreed to act as a special advisor on finances to the board. Jim and his wife Ethel live in Gravenhurst and are members at Harvest Church Muskoka.
Jim has helped to analyze our financial status and set out a plan for our finances.
Youth Director: As elders, we are pleased to announced that Jordan Coros has been given the permanent role of Youth Director as of March 1, 2020. Jordan has been serving in an interim capacity since August 2018 and has distinguished himself in the ministry. Because of the budget situation, this is still an 80%-time position and not at the full-time salary rate.
Worship Director Search: We are not able to resume our search for a new full-time worship director/pastor until we have the financial capacity to conduct a thorough search and bring that person on staff. We’re grateful for Joel Dugard who continues to serve us well in the interim role.
Alliston Campus/Church Plant: Two small groups are now meeting in Alliston and we continue to have it on our hearts to plant a new church there. Please continue to pray that God opens the way for this church to launch.
Affiliation: The decision on our affiliation will be made as part of the vision discussion which will happen following the completion of the DNA evaluation mentioned above. We are continuing to work closely with like-minded churches on various ministry initiatives both locally and globally, and do have it on our hearts to belong to a group of churches.
ANNUAL MEMBERS’ MEETING
Mark Thursday, June 11, 2020 on your calendars. That is the date for our Annual Members’ Meeting where we will present the full financials, look at our growth over the year, hear ministry updates, and present the DNA findings as well as some new vision initiatives.
Thank you for your active engagement at Harvest, particularly as we ramp up a new ministry year. We send out these quarterly updates with the goal of keeping you informed about various items under consideration by the elders. We only met twice through July and August, so there is not a lot to report since our last update at the end of June. Nevertheless, here’s what is on our plate right now:
DOCTRINAL STATEMENT REVISION
Over the last several months, we took on the task of reviewing, rewriting, and strengthening our doctrinal statement. A full draft of the new statement has preliminary approval by the elders and will now be put in front of the congregation for thirty days for comments. Once that period of time is over, the elders will discuss and approve any changes as a result of that input. The draft statement will then undergo a final grammar, spelling, and Scripture review. Once the final statement is completed, it will be translated into Spanish and French in an effort to supplement our current work within these language groups. At this point, it will be fully approved by the elders, recommended to the members of the corporation for approval, and presented at the Annual Members Meeting in June 2020.
The elders are still in the process of evaluating all of the DNA strands that make us the church that we are in an effort to determine what, if anything, needs to change in light of the crisis that hit Harvest Bible Chapel Chicago, our planting church. We appreciate your prayers as we undertake this review and consider carefully the kind of church we want to be. We look forward to Pastor Todd unpacking our core DNA in our November-December sermon series, We Are Harvest.
This has been a challenging year financially. You may recall that back in the spring, the elders reduced our operating budget by $150K in an attempt to address the growing shortfall, but even still our general fund givings have not kept pace with either our budgeted need or our actual expenses. In short, we are running just over $100K behind for the year. We are asking the Lord—and asking you—to help us close this funding gap and eliminate the deficit between now and the end of this calendar year.
Additionally, we are in the final months of our Made for This campaign, which funded the renovations to our facility where we carry out ministry week by week. It is absolutely crucial that we all do everything possible to fulfill our pledges by year-end and thus enable our church to pay off much/all of the remaining construction loan.
You will be receiving a personal update in early October, highlighting your offerings to all funds from January through September. Please remember the apostle Paul’s exhortation that we should excel in the act of generous giving (2 Corinthians 8:1-7). If you have any questions about contributing to Harvest Barrie, you can contact our Finance Director, Wendy Brouwer. Or you can visit our website for more information about ways to give.
As you will see in the next three items, our financial picture is negatively impacting vision initiatives.
WORSHIP AND YOUTH DIRECTOR/PASTOR SEARCHES
The elders have temporarily suspended the search for these two key positions as we do not presently have the budget capacity to recruit full-time, experienced, permanent staff for either ministry area. We intend to reactivate the search in the new year when, Lord willing, our financial position improves. We continue to trust God to direct our steps regarding these important hires. That said, we are extremely grateful for the solid work that Joel Dugard (worship) and Jordan Coros (youth) are doing in their part-time, interim capacities.
ALLISTON CAMPUS/CHURCH PLANT
We are excited that a second small group is being started soon in Alliston. And while we had hoped to launch a new campus or church plant in Alliston in 2020, the current financial picture is making that timeline unlikely. The elders will be determining the status of the Alliston launch as part of the budget deliberations this fall. Continue to pray for God to open a door for us to minister in that area of the county.
Until the DNA evaluation is complete and our financial situation is clearer, further discussions about affiliation have been put on hold. In the interim, we are continuing to work closely with like-minded churches on various ministry initiatives both locally and globally.
As always, if you have questions or comments, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to interact about these or any other items. Join with us in praying for God to do in our church and in our lives what we see him doing in the early chapters of the book of Acts.
Thanks for your participation in the life of Harvest. We send out these regular updates to help keep you informed of various matters being considered by our elders. We count it a privilege to serve the Lord and seek his wisdom on behalf of our congregation.
A couple of weeks ago, we held our Annual Members’ Meeting, which was an opportunity for us to share a number of informational items with our church family. We so appreciate the sweet spirit in the room as we interacted together. If you were not there, we would encourage you to watch the presentation from that evening.
Here are a few brief highlights from the presentation:
2018 FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
Our accountant recently completed his review engagement of our financial statements from the last fiscal year, and we received a clean report. Givings to all funds in 2018 totalled approximately $2.2 million. You can read the full financial report online.
2019 FINANCIAL UPDATE
This year to date, general fund givings have not kept pace with either our projected budget or actual expenses, and so sadly we have been forced to reduce our operating budget by $150K (almost 10%). Our weekly need in 2019 remains just over $28,000, plus we have an accumulated deficit of about $80K to make up. We are trusting the Lord to provide all of this through the faithful giving of his people.
MADE FOR THIS
We are entering the last six months of our three-year giving campaign to fund the renovation of our facilities at 7 George Street. Thanks for your sacrificial, over-and-above giving to this initiative. It is important that we all do everything possible to fulfill our pledges by year-end and thus enable our church to pay off much/all of the construction loan. If you made a commitment, you will be receiving a status update from Wendy Brouwer, our finance director, next month.
We rejoice in the many evidences of God’s favour in our church through our ongoing ministries. Here are just a few snapshots of the amazing things that have taken place over this past year.
As elders, we take seriously our responsibility to adhere to the truths of God’s Word and to preach and teach the Bible faithfully. We have nearly completed a full rewrite of our doctrinal statement, which clarifies our understanding in several areas of theology. We will be putting this in front of our congregation later this fall for dialogue. Also, we are excited about Pastor Todd’s preaching plan for 2019-2020, including new series on Acts 1-2, the church, finances, and the book of Jonah.
We continue to prayerfully seek the Lord’s guidance in our desire to formally affiliate with a church network/denomination and to launch a campus/church plant in Alliston. Both of these initiatives are being significantly hindered by our budget shortfall. In addition, we are currently engaged in a full review of our Harvest DNA and strategies, with the goal of ensuring healthy leadership patterns, sound governance structures, and above-board financial practices. We will give you a full report once this process has been finalized.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to speak with one of our elders after a Sunday service or send an email to email@example.com. We would be happy to interact about these or any other items.
The psalmist (105:5) exhorts us: “Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!” May God be our fervent pursuit all summer long.
After a very thorough process that spanned an entire year, we are pleased to report that Rob Hodgson became an elder on Sunday, February 10, at midnight. A formal laying on of hands, as we see modelled in the New Testament, will be happening in May in our Sunday services. We are grateful to God for setting apart this godly man for this weighty responsibility in our Harvest family. Continue to pray for Rob as he assumes this role and for his wife Tammy and their three children, Emma, Gabby, and Joel.
Since our last update, Terry Codling has assumed the new role of elder emeritus. This is an honourary position where Terry is fully recognized as an elder and functions as such as he is able. We are so grateful for Terry’s continued leadership in our Harvest family and for all the ways his godly influence is making an impact. And we’re thankful for Linda as she supports and blesses him in his role.
After the first two months of the year, here’s where we stand on our two principal funds.
We are running behind in giving to our general fund budget. Our net actual deficit as of February 28 is approximately $12,400. This is how the numbers look relative to the budget:
YTD Offering Budgeted:
YTD Offering Received:
YTD Shortfall to Budget:
Our staff and finance team are monitoring the shortfall and the giving to see if adjustments to the budget need to be made at the end of the first quarter (end of March). Please be faithful in your giving as we seek to fund the mission God has entrusted to us all.
MADE FOR THIS CAMPAIGN
The campaign to pay off the construction of 7 George Street comes to an end in December of this year. Based on the pledges we received in 2016, at the start of the campaign, we should retire the loan in 2019. How amazing will that be?! It will take everyone fulfilling their commitments. As of March 17, $91,402 has been received in 2019 toward that goal.
We have been unaffiliated since December 1, 2017, when the Harvest Bible Fellowship Canada board transitioned to become the Great Commission Collective. Since that time, we have been actively investigating various options for affiliation, but have not yet determined the best course of action for our church. This is obviously an important decision that impacts us for many years to come, and the elders have felt compelled to take our time before making our choice. Continue to pray for us in these deliberations.
In light of the events at Harvest Chicago, the elders will be undertaking a comprehensive review of our vision, values, leadership and staffing structure, and approach to ministry. Of particular concern is an examination to see if any toxic leadership patterns are evident, if our governance is sound, and to confirm that our financial practices are completely above board. This examination, of necessity, must precede a decision on affiliation.
HARVEST BIBLE CHAPEL CHICAGO
Some of you have had questions about recent events at our founding church, Harvest Bible Chapel Chicago, including the termination of Pastor James MacDonald on February 11 of this year. As things have unfolded, we have been deeply saddened by these events and the many lives that have been negatively impacted. While we maintain many of the distinctives of our founding church and bear the same name, Harvest Bible Chapel Barrie is an independent, self-governed local church, which has been unaffiliated with any association of churches for almost a year and a half now. Our unaffiliated status came as a result of the dissolution of the Harvest Bible Fellowship in June 2017, and we published a statement to that effect on December 1 of that same year. So, while we continue to maintain relationships with some like-minded churches, we remain completely autonomous in our governance and finances.
It should be said that we have benefitted greatly from the ministry of Harvest Bible Chapel Chicago and James MacDonald in the past, and we are grateful for what has been entrusted to us here in Barrie. Please join with us in praying for all who are involved as you would pray for any loved ones who are facing a severe crisis. Pray that God’s purposes would be accomplished and that he would be glorified in it all.
PREACHING PLAN FOR 2019–2020
With Pastor Todd completing his six-year odyssey in the Gospel of Luke in a few weeks, we have a completely blank slate in front of us for the coming ministry year. The elders are now in the process of helping him discern what we should be studying in God’s Word starting in September. Part of this process includes understanding where our church is at, and asking, “What do we need to hear from the Lord?” Maybe you have some ideas about that. We would welcome your input.
ANNUAL MEMBERS MEETING
If you are a Harvest member, be sure to mark your calendar for Thursday, June 13, 2019, here at 7 George Street for our Annual Members Meeting. The elders (board of directors) will be presenting the 2018 financials as well as other reports about our church. This is a further opportunity for you as a member to come and ask questions about the ministry.
IF YOU HAVE ANY INPUT OR QUESTIONS FOR THE ELDERS…
As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to speak with one of our elders after a weekend service or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to interact about these or any other items.
We count it a joy to serve the Lord with all of you at Harvest.
On Sunday, November 18, Pastor Todd reviewed and renewed our Made for This campaign to pay off the construction loan for our 7 George Street facility. Our members and regular attendees received a letter and commitment card in the mail the week following, and we would encourage you to complete that and return it to the office before year end. You can also fill out the commitment card online. So far, about 20% of those who originally made a pledge have expressed their intent to fulfill their commitment. We would love to hear from everyone.
We are excited about how this campaign has been going. Your faithfulness to fulfill your financial commitment is exemplary. We are so grateful for those who are giving without making a pledge, who have made a new pledge (currently 19 totalling $43,750), and those who have added to their original pledge (currently 9 totalling $14,520). Thank you for committing yourself to the mission in this way.
In addition to taking a few minutes to talk about the campaign, Pastor Todd preached a recap message of our Made for This: The 5G Christian series. If you missed that single message or want to access the whole five-part series from 2016, go to our campaign website.
If you remember what you heard in our Harvest Essentials class (or any of the precursors to it over the years), you know that the elders have responsibility for the 3 Ds: the doctrine, direction, and discipline of the church. One of the tasks we are undertaking under the “doctrine” category is a review and revising of our doctrinal statement, which we inherited from the now defunct Harvest Bible Fellowship. In each of our meetings, we are using our time in the Word (which starts all elder meetings) to search the Scriptures and then discuss one of the statements. So far, we have updated our statements on the Word of God, the Triune God, God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit, and Humanity. By spring, we will present our finished work to the church. This is important work that defines what we believe. We would ask you to pray for us in this task of guarding the deposit that has been entrusted to us (1 Timothy 6:20a).
We want to encourage you to consider giving an end-of-year gift to help us finish strong in our operating fund. While we are grateful for offerings that have slightly exceeded what we received in 2017 at the same point, we were anticipating greater growth in operating fund giving and therefore have dealt with some budgetary pressures through the year. Our staff team has been responsible in this and has managed to keep expenses below revenues, but we are behind budget by about $74,000 with two weekends to go in this fiscal year.
We have an opportunity before December 31 to help our church finish in a great place and meet the obligations we set out at the start of 2018. Your extra, end-of-year gift can be dropped off at the office (open until noon on December 24 and 8:30-5:00 on December 31), given on weekends through the offering bag or debit terminal at the Resource Centre, or anytime via online banking. Thanks in advance for your generous response.
The elders approved the 2019 operating budget at our December meeting. We will share details of the budget at a family chat on Sunday, January 13 following the message. As always, we are seeking to be wise stewards of the resources that God entrusts to us as we pursue the mission together.
As you may recall, we have had a trial elder sitting with the elders for the past several months. We are thrilled to tell you that this past week the elders approved this candidate for the 30-day vetting process before the entire church. We will announce his name and provide you with his testimony at the family chat on January 13. This step in the process allows you, the Harvest family, to affirm the elders’ choice of this individual. Continue to pray that God would lead us and this man and his family as the process unfolds.
Our staff team is preparing what we know will be an amazing time of worship together for Christmas. Plan to be here on Sunday, December 23 at 4 or 6 p.m. or Monday, December 24 at 4 or 6 p.m. for any one of the four identical services. Please let us know which service you plan on attending so we can ensure seating for everyone. There is children’s programming in all four services up to grade 3. Don’t forget that there will be no morning services on December 23.
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?
As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to speak with one of our elders after a weekend service or send an email to email@example.com. We would be happy to interact about these or any other items. We count it a joy to serve the Lord with all of you at Harvest.
May God fill you with good things this Christmas and always,
It is a privilege to serve our great Harvest family as elders (in the biblical sense) and as directors of the board/corporation (in the legal sense). In our governance model, which is rooted in Ephesians 4:11-12, the elders protect the vision, values, and doctrine of the church, while the staff leads and all of the members serve (elders and staff are also members). Our heart is to keep all of our members informed about elder-related matters and to solicit input and questions. We are grateful for what God is doing in and through our church in these exciting days.
7 GEORGE STREET
We have officially passed the 52-week mark here at 7 George Street. One year into this fantastic facility, and we continue to recognize “what God has done” in our midst. So grateful for the dedication stone at the south entrance to acknowledge the Lord’s work among us!
We also installed a bronze plaque at the north (Harvest Kids) entrance to recognize the 40+ years that the Army Navy Air Force Club was located here.
With eight months of this year behind us, we thank God for his ongoing financial provision. We are still running somewhat behind in giving to our operating budget, but our staff team has been careful to hold the line on expenses, and so our actual year-to-date shortfall is relatively small. We are just now entering what is historically our strongest giving period of the year (September–December), and we are trusting God to help us make up some ground and finish 2018 in the black—or better yet with a surplus.
Our needs continue to increase as our church grows, and new opportunities for ministry abound, so please remain faithful in your giving to the Lord, both to our operating budget and to our Made for This building campaign. If you are newer to Harvest and have not begun to invest financially, we would invite you to join with us in seeing God’s work advance in our city and beyond.
If you were here on August 5 or watched the family chat on video, you know that Pastor Todd announced we will not be re-starting Saturday Church this fall. We know this is a disappointment to some. Our staff team is going to focus on the Sunday services for the next while, and if growth dictates a need for another service, we will determine at that time whether or not a return to Saturday Church is the best option.
For the past several months we have been working with a candidate to become an elder. We are several steps into the process, and the candidate is now in the trial elder phase. He is sitting with the elders and participating in meetings for the next few months. At any point along the way, either the elders or the candidate could decide to shut the process down. Pray for God to continue to give us clarity concerning his will. If all goes well, we hope to announce his name to the church in the new year.
In addition, it is good to have Dave MacDonald back on the board after a year off. Dave has been serving as an elder since 2010. Terry Codling has been an elder since 2009 and is on his one-year break now.
One of our stated vision initiatives is to launch campuses of Harvest Barrie in multiple locations throughout Simcoe County, and we have identified Alliston as the first one. God willing, we are striving to see a vibrant worshipping community there no later than fall 2020. Last week we held a prayer night in the Gibson Centre with a solid expression of initial interest from folks in that area. It was so encouraging to hear people cry out to the Lord on behalf of their community. Continue to pray as we seek to multiply our one current small group in Alliston and lay the groundwork for the future.
MINISTRY LAUNCH 2018–2019
Our staff team is preparing for our fall launch this coming Sunday, September 9. After a great summer sabbathing, this is always an amazing weekend to regather and refocus for the coming ministry year. We have so much ahead of us, and we believe it is going to be an amazing year of lifting high and serving Jesus Christ. Make sure you are at church in one of our two services.
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?
As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to speak with one of our elders after a weekend service or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to interact about these or any other items. It is our privilege to serve the Lord together at Harvest.
“This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:23). We continue to be in a season of much blessing and stretching, and we are grateful to God for it all. Here are some informational items we wanted to pass along to you:
This is a snapshot of our financial picture right now. Be sure to watch the video to hear the explanation:
Initial 2018 operating budget
Offerings budgeted to April 30
Offerings received as of April 30
New 2018 operating budget
Obviously, $100,000 is a lot of money to cut, and our goal in doing so was to hinder current ministry as little as possible. We got this done by cutting $65,000 earmarked for our own church planting initiatives, which pushes our plan for a campus in Alliston further into the future, likely into 2020. The other $35,000 came from a variety of budget areas, including us holding off on some planned part-time staff help. We aren’t thrilled to have to do this, but we are seeking to be responsible stewards with what the Lord has entrusted to us.
According to the finance team, the next round of cuts—if necessary—would be much more difficult, requiring painful decisions impacting current ministry and staffing levels. What this means is, we really need to meet, or God willing exceed, this amended budget of $1.5 million, which translates to weekly general fund giving of $29,255.
Last week you should have received via email your donation statement for January through April, and we hope you will take some time to review that and carefully consider your part in the mission to which Jesus has called us. You can explore various giving methods on our website, with the most consistent and convenient way being our pre-authorized offering plan. If you have any questions, please contact Wendy Brouwer, our finance director.
MADE FOR THIS
Just a brief word on our Made for This campaign. For those who are newer, this is our giving initiative to fund the renovations of the facilities that we now enjoy at 7 George Street. In an amazing outpouring of generosity and faith, our church family committed to give $3.2 million over three years on top of our general fund offerings.
Thank you for being faithful to those pledges you made. We are trusting that, by the end of 2019, all of the commitments will be fulfilled, and we will have paid off our construction loan and be left with just a mortgage. Next month we will be sending out an update to each of you who made a commitment, showing where your giving is relative to your pledge at the halfway mark of the campaign.
If you have come to Harvest since our Made for This campaign, or did not participate initially, we would love to have you join with us in this undertaking. The second floor and several smaller projects remain unfunded at this time. Go to our Made for This website for more information about how to get involved financially.
7 GEORGE STREET FACILITIES
It has been a tremendous blessing to use these amazing facilities over the past nine months! Just a few weeks ago, our staff was able to move out of the second floor and into the newly-renovated office space across the parking lot. There are a few finishing touches still to happen to the interior and exterior, but the place is fully functional and greatly appreciated by our team. Watch for an announcement about an open house opportunity for you to come and see it firsthand.
As for the second floor in the main building, it is now being used as-is with that wonderful 1990s vibe: mirrored ceilings and walls, groovy carpet, tiled dance floor, and “crystal” chandeliers. Harvest Youth has already had several events upstairs, and our recent worship and prayer night was there as well. While we have finalized design plans for this space, currently we do not have the funds to proceed, so we will use it like it is until we are able to raise the money to renovate it.
We are doing this primarily because recruiting to fill our serving teams has proven to be a significant challenge as we plan for this summer and seek to deliver high-impact Saturday services. We are grateful for our many committed volunteers who sacrifice much for the mission and see this as an opportunity for additional rest and refreshment for them.
So, we are experimenting by pausing Saturday Church from the Canada Day long weekend through the Labour Day long weekend. We are planning to return to Saturday Church on our ministry launch weekend of September 8-9.
RESOLVED! LIVING FOR CHRIST WHEN YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE WHO IS
A twelve-message study of the Book of Daniel. We will examine it chronologically, inserting the apocalyptic visions and dreams from chapters 7-12 into the narrative sections of chapters 1-6 when they were given to Daniel.
OF ANGELS, GOD, AND MEN
A short Christmas series looking at what the Bible says about angels, the incarnation, and human beings.
JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN, DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD
We will study what the Bible says about contemporary issues like tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use; the LGBTQ question; sexuality and cohabitation; as well as abortion and euthanasia.
THE GOSPEL OF LUKE (THE FINAL SEASON)
The final three chapters of this great series will be wrapped around Easter weekend. You are going to want to be in the house on the weekend of May 4-5, 2019 when we finally finish this epic journey through Luke!
SALVATION HAS COME TO THIS HOUSE
The idea and title for this family series came from a recent sermon on the Zacchaeus story. In eight messages we will explore: Necessary Attitudes; How to Talk to Each Other; Relationships 1: Marriage; Relationships 2: Kids; Relationships 3: Everyone Else; Essential Priorities; Handling Money; and When It Is Really, Badly Broken.
We let you know in our last elder update that we were working with a candidate to become an elder. We are happy to say that the process is moving forward, and we are currently in the interview phase. Continue to pray as we seek God’s favour in this. Our hope is to present this candidate to the congregation sometime in late fall.
With respect to our broader affiliation, this is how we would describe our current status:
Harvest Bible Chapel Barrie is an independent, self-governed local church, currently unaffiliated with any formal association of churches but maintaining relationships with other Harvest Bible Chapels, Vertical Churches, and other like-minded local churches.
Pastor Todd and our elder board chair, Peter Millard, have been investigating various options for affiliation over the past several months. In June a report will be made to the elder board with respect to their findings. We do not expect that a recommendation will be made at this time other than to continue to remain unaffiliated through the end of 2018. The elders appreciate your ongoing prayers for the Lord’s guidance as we consider the various options in front of us. In the meantime, we are continuing to partner with like-minded churches on youth and men’s initiatives.
We love what God is doing in Cameroon in West-Central Africa! We have three growing churches in this French-English speaking country. Our global coordinator, Terry Codling, will be making his eighth trip there from August 2-28 to train leaders, assess planters, encourage the churches, and move them along in their effort to form a new formal fellowship of churches in that country. He will spend the first few days visiting the Children of Promise Orphanage in the neighbouring country of Nigeria, founded by Harvest Barrie members Dayo and Tinu Idowu. Pastor Dan will be joining Terry overseas for the last two weeks of the trip. Pray for God’s work to be done through Terry and Dan.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to speak with one of our elders after a weekend service or send an email to email@example.com. We would be happy to interact about these or any other items. It is our privilege to serve the Lord together at Harvest.
We continue to rejoice in God’s graciousness to our church. We join with the psalmist in declaring, “For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100:5).
Now that we are fully into this new calendar year, here are some items your elders want you to be informed about:
If you happened to miss Pastor Todd’s important “State of the Church” message on January 6-7, please take time to watch or listen to it now. This talk sets the tone for this year and casts vision for our ministry both in Simcoe County and around the world.
As was recently shared in a weekend announcement from elder chair Peter Millard, and also in a letter from Pastor Todd, giving to our operating budget has been lower than anticipated over the first two months of 2018. Here are the specifics
YTD Offerings Budgeted
YTD Offering Received
Our weekly need is $31,178 to carry out the ministry God has put before us. Offerings have been much stronger in February than in January, and it is still early in the year, but our finance team is keeping a close watch on the trend. We will take note of where things stand after Easter weekend, which marks the end of our first quarter. We are trusting God to meet our financial needs in this year of stretching, just as he has been faithful to do in the past.
Thanks to those who are already generously supporting the ministry and to those who have stepped up in recent weeks. If you are part of our Harvest family and haven’t already done so, please prayerfully consider what God would have you do. The most consistent and convenient way to give is through our pre-authorized offering plan, but there are several other giving methods as well.
GOOD FRIDAY & EASTER
The high point of our ministry calendar—and more importantly, of our faith—is the Good Friday and Easter weekend. This year we are doing a number of things leading up to and including that special weekend. You can read more details on our website, but here is a quick snapshot:
Second, that same day we will begin a 32-day social media journey, taking us through Easter Sunday on April 1, with brief biblical reflections to help us centre our hearts on Christ. Watch Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for that.
Third, on Tuesday, March 20 we will be hosting an event called My Jesus, a dramatic monologue wrapped in worship music presenting the story of the cross from the perspective of John the beloved disciple.
Fourth, plan to attend one of our two identical Good Friday services at 9 or 11 a.m. on March 30. These will be sober times of remembering Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
Finally, don’t miss one of our three identical Easter Sunday services at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., or 12 noon on April 1. (Yes, this isn’t a joke—Easter is on April Fools’ Day this year. And please note, for that weekend only there is no Saturday Church, and our Sunday service times have changed.) As always, we look forward to celebrating with much energy and excitement that Jesus is alive! Because we anticipate a record-breaking crowd, much like Christmas Eve, we are again asking you to reserve your seats for a specific service time so we can ensure everyone has a place.
We trust that all of this will help you prepare your heart to exalt our crucified Saviour and risen Lord!
The renovations in our office building across the parking lot are coming along well. The electrical, HVAC, plumbing, framing, and dry-walling work are essentially done, in addition to the exterior stucco to match our main building. What remains to be done now are the finishes: paint, carpet, floor and bathroom tiles, ceilings, lights, millwork, and furniture. The target date for moving in is mid-March, and our staff team can’t wait! Thank you for your continued giving to our Made for This campaign, which is fully funding these renovations.
MARRIAGE, DIVORCE, AND RE-MARRIAGE POLICY
We live in a secular culture that has all but abandoned the concept of biblical marriage. The role of the church in this area is to continue to proclaim God’s perspective on marriage and exhort believers to put these teachings into practice. After all, marriage is God’s idea! At the same time, we recognize that sin, brokenness, and divorce have impacted many marriages both inside and outside the church. Here at Harvest, we want to remain true to biblical principles and also encourage hurting people. To help us navigate these crucial and often-complex issues moving forward, the elders have drafted a policy statement. This comes after a season of studying the relevant Scriptures, followed by much discussion and prayer.
ELDER BOARD GROWTH
We are committed to a plurality of elders, recognizing the safety and wisdom in multiple godly leaders (see Proverbs 11:14 and 15:22). There are currently six men serving on the board at Harvest, with one additional elder on a scheduled year off. The board consists of two vocational/paid elders (pastors) and four non-vocational/unpaid elders.
Given the growth of our church family and our desire to raise up new leaders for both the present and the future, the elders are seeking God’s direction in adding another non-vocational elder to the board. An individual in the congregation has been approached and has agreed to begin the formal process of potentially becoming an elder. As you may know, this is an extended, in-depth process that may take up to a year to complete. We will keep you posted. Please be much in prayer for God’s clarity in all of this.
PASTOR TODD UPDATE
As we announced earlier this month, the elders have come alongside Pastor Todd and Cheryl and encouraged them to take some extended time off from ministry. Pastor Todd was depleted from several years of intense activity in the church and needed some well-deserved rest. He will be returning to the office on March 13 and getting back into The Gospel of Luke series the following weekend. Please continue to pray for our lead pastor and his wife. We are confident he will be spiritually refreshed and ready to go when he returns next month.
Watch for your next quarterly elders’ update at the end of May. As always, if you have questions or input for the elders, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are grateful for all that God is doing in our church these days! This has been a season of much blessing—and stretching. Here are some informational items your elders wanted to pass along to you:
The months of October and November are budget time around Harvest. Our staff team begins the process by preparing individual ministry budgets to support both current and future initiatives. These proposals are compiled and evaluated (and often reduced ☺) by Pastor Dan and Wendy Brouwer, our Finance Director. The full budget is then carefully considered (and amended as necessary) by our finance team, which is made up of a couple staff members and several people from our church (including John Kurvink, our treasurer) who have financial and ministry expertise. Finally, this budget is reviewed and ultimately approved by our full elder board.
We will share more details in our “State of the Church” message on January 6-7, but for now, just buckle your seatbelt. After stretching in our 2017 budget with the move to 7 George Street—and watching God provide all that and more YTD!—we are anticipating another significant jump in 2018 as we continue to adjust to our new reality.
NEW STAFF OPENINGS
Part of the 2018 budget increase is to fund several very part-time additions to our staff team. As our church is in a season of tremendous growth (see below), we have identified a few departments that require bolstering in order to minister effectively to our people and facilitate continued momentum. We are hoping to add a children’s assistant, a production director, a connections assistant, and additional creative support. Watch for more details from the staff team on these new positions in the coming weeks.
BY THE NUMBERS
For your encouragement and not for you to brag about (God gives the increase!), we have seen a 24% surge in weekend worship attendance year over year. Last year, in the 13 weeks from August through November, we saw an average of 763 people each weekend, and in 2017, since moving into 7 George Street, we are now seeing an average of 943 each weekend.
We have had 221 guest units (individuals, couples, or families) during those 13 weeks. Our best guess at the total number of guests (including children) in that time period is around 500 individuals. Truly incredible!
And the three Essentials classes that our staff has held since moving in have been packed with newcomers looking to join with us here at Harvest.
We are grateful to God for entrusting all of this to us. Pray for our staff team as they manage the growth while still getting used to the facility.
In July Pastor Todd shared a statement from the elders during a family chat that we were no longer affiliated with Harvest Bible Chapel Chicago and Pastor James MacDonald. At that time, the U.S.-based Harvest Bible Fellowship ceased to exist, and in effect, all HBF churches outside of Canada were unaffiliated.
While we are no longer in a formal association with Harvest Chicago, we continue to be appreciative of all that Pastor James and the church have done to bless us and help us over these 16 years. We were a church plant of Harvest Chicago in 2001, and we happily bear the DNA of our mother church. Our name, four pillars, three Ws, elder governance model, complementarianism, and vertical approach to ministry are just some of the distinctives that we gained from them and intend to retain.
Since the summer, Harvest Bible Fellowship Canada (distinct from HBF in the U.S.) has made the decision to transition to become the Canadian region of a new entity known as the Great Commission Collective. The GCC is based in the U.S. and made up of some of the former Harvest Bible Fellowship churches around the world. At this point, our elders have not sensed the Lord leading us to join this new entity. Of the 17 Harvests in Canada, as we understand it, four have chosen not to join the GCC at this time.
We are already locally governed, but this will leave us as an unaffiliated church as of December 1, 2017. Our hope is to be part of a group of churches again, but we are waiting on God’s clear direction on this. The word right now is “wait.”
I know this raises questions for some. We would be happy to answer questions that we can answer. The reasons for all of this upset with HBF and our pause on joining GCC are complex and subject to interpretation based on varying perspectives. It is not helpful to engage in speculative conversations about how this all happened. Sadly, it has happened, and as elders we are left to lead our church forward in the best way possible. We would appreciate your continued prayers in this matter.
While all of that is going on in the background, ministry here just keeps on happening! Please be as generous as you can be this Christmas. Many people live on the margins, and Jesus loved such people. Your gifts to the Pregnancy Resource Centre, Children of Promise Orphanage, Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree, and our church plants in Cameroon will make an impact in the lives of people who are in a tough place. Jesus says that when we help like this, we are doing it as unto him. Love God, Love People is on the wall of our west lobby. Let it be written in our hearts, too.
MADE FOR THIS
It has been one year since that epic weekend when Pastor Todd announced the commitment total for our Made for This campaign. It is remarkable to see all that God has done in these twelve months.
If you pledged for 2017, please fulfill your commitment by December 31 and help us toward the retirement of the construction loan.
If you did not make a commitment or are new to Harvest since all of this happened, we would invite you to join us on this amazing journey. Check out madeforthis.church for information about the campaign and how you can be involved. We would also invite you to make a special end-of-year donation to move us even further down the road of paying off the construction, as well as reaching for some new projects and plans we are working on and thinking about.
As of the date of this update, the work on 7A is not progressing as we would like since our permit is being held up in the zoning department. We have not asked for rezoning, nor do we need rezoning, to put offices there, so we are a bit confused by this. We are still hoping to have our staff in their new (and more permanent) offices early in 2018. Please pray for the permit to be issued and the work to be done quickly.
If you have questions about anything you have read here, or anything else that you would like to bring to the elders, contact us at email@example.com.
What a season of abundance this is! We are entering this new ministry year with great momentum and much anticipation for what God will do next. Here are some informational items your elders wanted to pass along to you:
7 & 7A GEORGE STREET
With the first floor and exterior renovations essentially completed (phase 1), we are now turning our attention to the two remaining and much smaller projects: renovating 7A for staff offices (phase 2 adds 3,300 square feet of space) and renovating the second floor of 7 George Street for additional ministry use (phase 3 adds approximately 5,000 square feet of space). The ANAF will move out of 7A by September 15, and we plan to begin renovations shortly thereafter. We hope to move our staff into the new office building by the end of this year and then begin work on the second floor early in 2018.
NEW MEN’S INITIATIVE
We had a heart to launch a new effort to more intentionally reach and disciple men. The pastoral team has recently put together a new men’s initiative that we think will ramp this up. In cooperation with Harvest Muskoka, Pastor Dwayne will be leading the charge with a number of special worship and teaching events over the course of this ministry year, capped off with a spring retreat in Muskoka. Details will be coming soon.
We have been so blessed by the series Out of the Depths: Praying the Psalms over this summer. We know that many of you were impacted by the messages, as well as the extra study materials and reading plan and Scripture memory project. We are so grateful for all of the preachers who contributed to this series.
A month or so ago, we approved Pastor Todd’s preaching plan for the upcoming ministry year. It will include the following series:
Sept-Oct – The Weight of the World (And How to Get Out from Under It)
Nov-Dec – Here I Stand: 7 Must-Believes for Christians
Jan-Feb – The Book of Jonah
Mar-June – The Gospel of Luke (Chapters 18-21)
Pray for the Holy Spirit to use the proclamation of God’s Word to transform us into the image of Christ week by week here at Harvest.
We are privileged to lead Harvest’s church planting efforts in Cameroon, west-central Africa. Terry Codling, one of our elders and our global ministries coordinator, was able to be in Cameroon again this past spring to train leaders, commission a new senior pastor, and assist with planning for the planting of a new church in the capital city of Yaounde. Terry will be back in Cameroon for the official launch of that church on October 1. Continue to pray for God to open many more doors for ministry in this country, for core groups to be raised up, and for church planters to be trained and commissioned.
HARVEST BIBLE FELLOWSHIP
A few weeks ago, Pastor Todd announced in the weekend services that Harvest Bible Chapel Barrie and Harvest Bible Fellowship Canada are no longer affiliated with Pastor James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel Chicago. A new church planting organization, the Great Commission Collective, has been formed in the U.S., and Pastor Todd and our elder chair, Peter Millard, will participate in the inaugural meeting of this new initiative at the end of September.
We continue to praise God for how he is meeting our financial needs beyond what we could ask or imagine. Here is a snapshot of our operating income vs. expenses through the end of June:
YTD Net Expenses
And in terms of offerings received vs. offerings budgeted, here is where things stand through the end of July:
YTD Offerings Budgeted
YTD Offerings Received
Our general fund giving has been incredibly strong in a year where our expenses have increased almost 15% due primarily to owning and operating 7 George Street. Thank you for your faithfulness.
We were obviously overwhelmed with last year’s commitment to the Made for This campaign. God moved in your hearts, and you responded in an extraordinary way. And to date, you are meeting your commitments ahead of schedule, which has enabled us to borrow money at a slower rate than anticipated.
Along the way, we told you that an additional pledge of $200,000 from a group of Christian businessmen was made. That money has now been received and has helped to fund the cross feature, additional audio-visual-lighting elements, and furniture throughout the building.
It is our joy to tell you that another gift of $180,000 has been pledged ($120,000 of it has been received thus far). A portion of this extra gift was designated to do landscaping and parking lot work that we had wanted to do but did not have in the budget. The money will also allow us to get started on phase 2 (7A office renovations) sooner than we had expected. God has been so good and generous to us through his people!
For those who attended the Annual General Meeting in June, you will know that we recently appointed John Kurvink as our treasurer. John is a member here at Harvest, is a Certified Professional Accountant (CPA), and holds the position of Vice President of Corporate Affairs & Chief Financial Officer at the Brant Community Healthcare System in Brantford. His role as treasurer at Harvest is as an internal auditor and advisor to the elders regarding our finances. We are grateful to have such a qualified servant of Christ giving oversight to this critical area of our ministry. Get more information about our financial practices by going to our giving page.
Watch for your next quarterly elders’ update at the end of November. As always, if you have questions or input for the elders, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.