begin our discussion, there is no "one way" for Harbor to happen. I
know, that sounds like a misapplication
of verbiage: "Harbor to happen." Stick with us. You'll understand better
in a moment. The following is a simplified discussion of what the word
"church" means. Following is a suggestion of how "church" and "Harbor"
We understand that the church (Greek ekklesia) is literally a
body of called-out-ones. We have been called out
of the world to be in the world, yet not of the world.
We have been called to become, literally the expression of Who Jesus is
in this world. Our task, call, command and purpose is to embrace, to
absorb, to be filled with, to overflow, to shine forth, to reflect the
glory (the visible manifestation of the characteristics) of God
to the world. Remember that Jesus prayed to the Father:
"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe
in me through their message, that all of
them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they
also be in us so that the world may
believe that you have sent Me. I have given them the glory that you gave
me, that they may be one as we are
one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to
let the world know that you sent me
and have loved them even as you have loved Me.
This is our calling, our passion, our purpose. Our existence on the
earth is to reflect God's glory....being
transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes
from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18).
But how do we reflect His glory? In what form or manner do we show the world Who
Jesus is? God created, gave birth
to the church, the ekklesia, to show forth the image of the
invisible God, the firstborn over all creation (Col. 1:15).
We are collectively the Body of Christ. Jesus is the Head of the Church.
"And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all
things to the church" (Eph. 1:22).
"Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body" (Eph.
"And He is the head of the body, the church" (Col 1:18).
We are the Body His hands extended. He has no hands but ours, no
voice, no feet but ours. We are His
Body wherever in the world we live and function.
Without us, He has no Eyes
of Mercy, no Hand of Grace, no Body of Patience, no Feet to carry His
hurting people, no Voice of truth.
Without Him, we have no Direction, no Guidance, no Purpose, no Strategy
He is the Head. He is the Intelligence,
the Wisdom, the Understanding that gives direction and purpose to the
He is also the Heart of the Body. Through the Holy Spirit He cares,
feels, is touched with the feeling of our infirmities.
As the Body, we are the expression of that care.
With the Body and the Head we lack only a Circulatory System. The blood
in our bodies is carried to the Body by
this amazing system. Through circulation, blood the transportation
system of the body carries oxygen to the
tissue level to permit regeneration of tissue and thus growth and health
of the body. By the presence of nitrogen With the Body and the Head
we lack only a Circulatory System. The blood in our veins is carried to
the Body by this amazing system. Through the presence of nitrogen, a remarkably
plain "inert" gas within the air we breathe,
the blood the transportation system of the body carries oxygen to
the tissue level to permit regeneration of
of tissue and thus growth and health of the body. The blood also carries
away carbon dioxide the waste produce of respiration. But carbon dioxide is not merely a waste product. It
fulfills an important use by stimulating the brain
to send signals to breathe. Without carbon dioxide, our bodies would not
know to accomplish the act of breathing,
called inspiration. The spiritual breathing of the Body is the work
and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Illumination,
anointing, inspiration, revelation, understanding; all come directly
from the work of the Holy Spirit. So when the
spiritual blood of the Body circulates among the Body, life is brought
into the Body and the gateway is opened
for the Holy Spirit to inspire. This spiritual Circulation System is
accomplished by the five-fold ministry.
Heres how it works: As we meet in several homes, the pastor moves among
us. He or she visits and circulates. The purpose of the pastor is to
pastor. The word pastor is of the same derivative as pasture and
used in farming terminology. The etymology of the word pastor derives
from the word pastour that comes from the
Latin "pastor" and means herdsman, from pascere to feed. The
herdsmans task is to look out for the safety and
protection of the herd or flock. It is to ensure that the herd/flock is
receiving good and sufficient food and water;
that the flock is healthy, that no sickness threatens, and that no wolf
or enemy threatens the security of the flock.
The role of pastor is not to occupy an office. It is not to be an
administrator, a Chief Executive Officer, a gopher,
a hired ministry professional or a counselor. The pastor is not the
"come-to-me" person in the church. He or she is not the repository of
the sum total of ministry that takes place in the church. The pastoral role is one
of care, nurture, of tending to the condition of the church. So the Pastor circulates visits one
Harbor and then another, rotating through and being
available to deal
with threats, hurts, injuries, to help solve problems, etc. (Please
notice the chief role of the pastor is not that of preaching sermons as
it is in many contemporary church understandings).
Likewise the Teacher receives a teaching from the Lord and brings it as he/she
circulates to the Harbors of a given region. The Evangelist does the
same thing, visiting circulating among the Harbors, bringing Gods
heart for the lost to each part of the region.
Every four to six weeks, all
the Harbors in an area or city gather together as one larger expression
of the Body for Celebration. This meeting occurs in a hotel banquet room
or other appropriate venue. This is a vital, indispensable gathering of
the Harbor - the Church. Without Celebration, we lack leadership,
continuity and cohesiveness. (It's worth noting that these three factors
are listed as the salient ingredients in the astonishing victories
achieved by the famous "Easy Company" of the 101st Airborne Division
during World War II. In his history of the Company, "Band of Brothers",
author Steven Ambrose rightly concludes that this small group of
Americans, outnumbered, outgunned, suffering from a pronounced lack of
warm clothes and food during the freezing winter of 1944-45 conquered an
army superior in experience, numbers, ammunition, food and shelter.)
leadership, continuity and cohesiveness are crucial for victory in the
ongoing war between the Kingdom of heaven and the regime of hell. It is
these three ingredients that are under vicious attack and assault by the
kingdom of darkness in the twenty-first century church.
During the Celebration, the Apostolic and Prophetic Voice is heard.
Leadership is exercised. Continuity, (stability of the Body) is
recognized. Cohesion, (spiritual unity) is witnessed and felt. It
is here that Apostolic counsel, insight, encouragement and vision is
received. During Celebration the Prophet brings a word to the Church.
Unified vision is developed as the five-fold ministry functions in
The Celebration begins with
a large communal (communion) meal, served to all without financial
obligation. Musical and/or artistic worship takes place. Edification of
the Body is achieved through the Apostle Paul's query and admonition. "How
is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a
psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an
interpretation. Let all things be done for edification"
(1 Cor. 14:26).
Introductions of new friends
are made in the Celebration. An awareness of the growing largeness of
the Body, the Church in any given city or region is developed. Sharing
of needs, opportunities, victories, miracles, all these and more take
place during the Celebration.
I need to speak for a
moment about the importance and function of the Apostle (and Prophet).
These roles in the Emerging Church cannot be overstated: God's word
is replete with instruction and revelation as to the existence,
necessity, role, function and authority of the Apostle (as well as the
Prophet). I am focusing on the office of Apostle here, but "Prophet" is
closely associated and should be understand in the same sense.
The church of the twentieth
century largely downplayed and ignored the Apostolic and Prophet to its
own harm and injury, but God is renewing the mind of the church and is
currently restoring the role of these offices in His church. And while
there are many misrepresentations and misunderstandings of the whole
concept of the Apostle, please recognize that this is a God-breathed,
God-instituted and necessary office and function in His church.
I am often asked if I am a
proponent of the "house church movement." While I encourage the
"assembling of (our)selves together" in whatever form we can, I am not a
strong advocate of house churches for the following reasons:
1) the house church movement
often lacks proper biblical governmental oversight and assistance. By
this I do not mean the kind of governmental control often exerted by
denominational or institutional churches. I am speaking of biblical,
God-given government as opposed to extra-biblical and man-made
2) The house church movement
is by nature, weak when it comes to assisting other parts of the Body of
Christ in the earth. The supreme purpose of the church of Jesus is not
merely "to exist." The church does not exist primarily to give people a
forum and a place to sing "Kumbayah" or to conduct spiritual
psychotherapy upon one another. The great mission of the church is not
to provide a fortress of protection where people of like mind can
retreat from the world and its pressures, temptations and ungodliness.
The supreme purpose of the church It is to fulfill the Great Commission
of heaven, to "go into all the world and preach the gospel to every
creature." The church is by definition a Missions Entity, not a Holy
Society of Do-Gooders.
Good things can and do
happen in house churches. People are blessed, filled, healed,
strengthened, encouraged. Positive, healthy Christian fellowship takes
place, revelation comes, worship happens in the house church. But the
inherent weakness of the house church is its inability to make a strong
difference when needs appear, especially in less privileged nations
around the world. For instance, if the church in Ethiopia or in India or
in any impoverished nation has a need - to purchase property or
facilities or to meet any kind of catastrophic challenge, the house
church is by its very isolation unable to make a significant difference
in meeting the need represented.
If, however the house church
becomes part of the "Emerging" expression of the church we talk about on
this site, there is an automatic "connectedness" and a joint realization
of authority and communication that enables to church to move in
coordination - like the members of a physical body - the arms, hands,
eyes, legs all moving with a single purpose. Think of a batter in a
baseball game for a moment. The thing that makes a true "hitter" begins
with what is called "hand-and-eye coordination." The eye perceives the
speed, location, movement and timing of the oncoming baseball. The brain
receives that information from the eye and in turn signals the
shoulders, arms, hands, trunk, legs and feet all in a coordinated and
almost choreographed movement that eventuates in the swinging of the bat
that connects with the ball that is sent screaming out of the ball park.
Uninformed minds might think
that the hitter knocks the baseball over the fence because of bulging
biceps. Yet there are numbers of relatively small men who play
professional baseball who hit the ball much farther than their
muscle-bound teammates simply because these smaller men develop more
coordination, condition themselves to move more gracefully and develop
the precise timing that causes the ball to fly farther than the largest
man on the team.
At the plate, when the bat
strikes the ball, It's about coordination, cooperation, communication
and authority. The same is true in the church. When the church becomes
fragmented, divided, and does not recognize God-given, biblical,
spiritual authority, the devil succeeds in his efforts to weaken,
destabilize, and otherwise mitigate the effect of the church in the
cooperation, communication and authority in the church has everything to
do with the recognition of the scriptural understanding that "(God)
apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors
and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the
ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in
the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a
perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried
about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning
craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth
in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even
Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by
that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in
the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying
of itself in love" (Eph. 4:11-16).
us apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. The battle
currently being waged in much of the church world is over the question
of the viability and even the existence of biblical apostles and
prophets. These are "authority" offices. When the devil attacks God's
church, he attacks at the authority level, because hell understands that
without leadership there is no certain direction. Without direction
there is no purpose. Without purpose, there is no church.
So Harbor, if it is to be a
truly biblical, spiritual, functioning representation of the church in
the earth must by its very definition include the apostolic and the
prophetic voices along with evangelists, pastors and teachers. (Let the
reader recognize that I am not in any way supportive of the perceived
"clergy-laity" divide. I do not subscribe in any way to the notion that
there is a biblical "clergy" or a biblical "laity." These terms were
"laid on" the church by human intent and not by divine mandate and the
whole concept should be discouraged by spiritual people. (See
"Distinctives of the Harbor and Emerging Church, below).
This is not a full
discussion of "Harbor." More appears on other pages of this site, and
more will appear as it is developed. We are, just like the church, a
"work in progress."
emerge Pronunciation i m&rj
Etymology: Latin emergere, from e- + mergere to plunge
1. To become manifest
2. To rise from or as if from an enveloping liquid: come out into view
3. To rise from an obscure or inferior position or condition
4. To come into view through evolution
church Pronunciation: 'ch&rch
Etymology: Middle English chirche, from Old English cirice, ultimately
from Late Greek kyriakon, from Greek, neuter
of kyriakos of the lord, from kyrios lord, master
Smiths Bible Dictionary:
The derivation of the word is generally said to be from the Greek
kuriakon (kuriakon) "belonging to the Lord." But the derivation has been
too hastily assumed. It is probably connected with kirk, the Latin
circus, circulus, the Greek
kuklos (kuklos) because the congregations were gathered in circles.
congregations, gathered in circles, belonging to the Lord and becoming
manifest; rising from the enveloping fluid of
the Holy Spirit from an obscure or inferior position or condition.
Authentic Church with our Generation,
not just providing spiritual entertainment. This means being discipled, developed and utilized. Lots of people doing things for first
time. Avoiding slick professionalism
and taking risks. Cultivating a culture of participation
Based on Community and Belonging rather than denomination and membership
- an answer to the fragmentation of our societies and our families. Most
of church life happens outside of the meetings in homes, pubs, etc
3. Non-hierarchical, Humble Leadership.
and women leading together, alongside each other bringing out the
best in each other.
4. Justice and Care for the Poor.
word only, but in deed..
5. Evangelism as a Way of Life; not an Activity.
We are the message-opening up the whole of our lives for others
to join us. Therefore, the boundaries of church are blurred. Not "are
you in or are you out" but "come along the
journey with us". Church is open to all, inclusive and accessible
6. Experimental & Creative. Use of color,
art, music, writing; multimedia. The message communicated through
many mediums, not just through words
7. A Thirst for Deeper Spirituality.
Learning from some of the ancient strands of the Christian life.
8. Breaking the Dualism that plagues Historic Church
- a fusing together
of ordinary life and church so that we are
more concerned with equipping and releasing the dispersed church than
with maintaining meetings. Living with the
premise that the whole of life is spiritual; we don't operate by
compartmentalizing our lives.
9. Knowing that We're Not There Yet
- a willingness and an ability to
keep evolving as we walk this journey.
is much more - but you'll have to find the "more" on your own - I don't
have a simple template available for you.
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