Elder Update

Q4 2019

STAFF UPDATE

 

Associate Pastor of Discipleship

 

  • We have continued our recruiting efforts to fill the role of Associate Pastor of Discipleship.
  • Many resumes and applications have been received, but very few of them have been viable candidates.
  • We were in discussions with two candidates (not at the same time), and had two phone interviews with each,
    followed by a weekend of face-to-face meetings with one.
  • After bringing this candidate here for several days, our ministry leaders and elders agreed that this was not the
    person God was leading us to, although he had good giftings and strengths.
  • While there was disappointment on both sides that this didn’t work out, it was clear to our leadership team that
    this was not the right decision for us.
  • Please continue to pray as we assess applicants, this role, and where God may be leading us.
  • Despite this role going unfilled, we are excited to be working together with some of our non-staff leaders, as we
    seek to enhance our discipleship ministry with some specific steps, as well as beginning to work on more family
    ministries, with our first step being a marriage conference in March.

 

Kids Ministry

 

  • We announced in September that Jen Kuypers has decided to resign as Director of Kids Ministry.
  • We are very thankful to God for providing Jen’s leadership to this ministry for almost seven years and wish her
    all the best as she spends more time as a wife and mother.
  • Our leadership team has begun to assess the Kids Ministry to see if we continue with the same structure or
    make some adjustments. This is a necessary first step, before we begin to consider another hire in this ministry.

 

CHURCH PLANTING UPDATE

 

St. Thomas, Ontario

 

  • There has been a lot of exciting progress with our re-plant of Gospel Fellowship Chapel to Redemption Bible
    Chapel St. Thomas.
  • The St. Thomas staff team is in place and going strong, with Jake Klassen as the Senior Pastor, Pete Bergen as
    Director of Worship and Assimilation, and Natalie Paterson as Office Manager. Kim Unger is also serving in a
    volunteer role, as the Director of Kids Ministry.
  • Our team, in conjunction with the St. Thomas team, have been working hard through the summer and now into
    the fall on the project plan – everything from facility renovations, tech upgrades, ministry changes, CRA
    requirements, and financial changes. Things are progressing well, and we continue to see God moving.
  • St. Thomas had their “soft launch” this fall – meaning they have made some of the critical changes to the
    worship service, started Kids Ministry, assimilation, and a few other infrastructure changes. More changes will
    be coming each week throughout the fall.
  • Attendance is currently over 200 at their services (including about 40 kids), with many guests every week from
    our church, other churches in the surrounding area, and those with no church affiliation.
  • We are continuing to execute the project plan through the rest of the fall, with a goal of a hard launch, including
    the official name change, as Redemption St. Thomas, early in December.
  • We estimate that approximately 30-50 families from London have transitioned to Redemption St. Thomas. We
    praise God for our people’s willingness to get involved in what He is doing in St. Thomas.
  • While we rejoice for the eagerness of our people to support this church plant, this has put a bit of a strain on our
    budget. We are investing about $200,000 into the transition costs and expect to be supplementing their
    operating budget by up to $100,000 in each of the first two years. This, along with the donations of our people
    who have transitioned from our church to St. Thomas, has meant extra pressure on our operating budget.
  • We are thankful that God has provided for us and St. Thomas through the faithful giving of our people and some
    capital funds we had been able to save. If you haven’t been giving biblically, faithfully, and generously, we would
    urge you to put God first in your finances and help us fully fund both our ministry, and assistance to theirs until
    they can become self-sufficient.

 

FACILITY UPDATE

 

  • The asbestos abatement in the gym was completed this summer, and the structure assessed.
  • We have all the completed, detailed floor plans and specifications needed for a possible renovation to make the
    back area of our first floor a large, open lobby, and turn our “gym” into two floors with much needed classrooms
    on both floors. We have driven out all the engineering and architectural issues to help ensure we know all that
    must be done and there will be no surprises when we tear out a wall or open up a ceiling. This was done to
    reduce our risk, should we go forward.
  • Our next step is to cost out all the work. We are working on this through the fall, with hopes of having some cost
    estimates to present to the congregation early in 2020. We will then ask for your input and thoughts on the
    need for this possible renovation, the plan, the cost, etc.

 

20TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

 

  • We are very excited and thanking God that we will be celebrating our 20 th anniversary as a church this spring!
  • As part of our celebration, we have some special things planned.
  • Beginning in October, we challenged our church family to memorize one verse each week, for 20 weeks, leading
    up to our 20 th anniversary celebration. We are a Bible church and felt this was a great way to celebrate who we
    are, and God’s faithfulness to us.
  • Our celebration Sunday will be on March 8. Come prepared to join with us in thanking God for His work, and
    we’ll also have some cake and a special video celebrating much of what God has graciously done over these 20
    years in the lives of our congregation!
  • As part of our celebration, we’ll also have some special “20 th Anniversary” shirts available for sale. Watch for
    details coming soon.

 

INCORPORATION

 

  • We are pleased to inform our congregation that as of this October, Redemption Bible Chapel has been
    incorporated in the province of Ontario.
  • Our leadership felt this was a necessary step to take in order to provide protection to our elders, staff, and
    congregants against legal action of any nature. Most churches have or are incorporating for these reasons.
  • The incorporation provides legal and financial protection and satisfies government requirements, while still
    enabling us to run the church in a biblical way.
  • We are thankful that the incorporation will not result in more red tape or formalities, but rather will serve to
    guard all our people from the financial implications of litigation.

 

UPCOMING DATES

 

Christmas Eve Services

 

Tuesday December 24th

2:00pm, 4:00pm, 6:00pm

Note: Kids Ministry available during 2:00pm and 4:00pm services only.

 

Town Hall Meeting

 

Sunday January 19th at 6:00pm

 

Free Indeed Men’s Conference

 

Friday February 7th – Saturday February 8th

 

20th Anniversary Celebration

 

Sunday March 8th

Q3 2019

STAFF UPDATE

 

Role Changes

 

  • We announced earlier this spring that Jeremy Giesbrecht, as of June 1, will be leading our Young Adults Ministry, in addition to his current role as our Youth Director. We are very excited for Jeremy and our Young Adults and all that God has in store for this ministry.
  • Under Jeremy’s leadership, the Young Adults ministry will be undergoing some changes to build upon the foundation that has already been laid by so many faithful before. Specifically, we would like to thank Craig and Lisa Enwright for their amazing ministry pouring into all those involved. Craig will continue to lead the Sunday afternoon group for the rest of the summer, as he has done so faithfully. Thanks also to Rhys Plant for his leadership over the past year as a pastoral intern.
  • Beginning this fall, Young Adults will be transitioning to Thursday evenings, and the program will be changing to look more like our other ministries – worship, teaching, and small groups. There will be more details to come, but we are excited about this change as we believe it will allow us to better connect with and disciple more young adults.

 

Associate Pastor of Discipleship

 

  • We have continued our recruiting efforts to fill the role of Associate Pastor of Discipleship.
  • As a reminder, we are looking for a man who has his Master of Divinity degree, years of proven shepherding and pastoral experience, and a significant desire to simply love on, care for, and be with our people as a pastor and shepherd.
  • Many resumes and applications have been received, but very few of them have been viable candidates.
  • We are in discussions with one candidate, but it is still very early in the process, so we would ask our people to continue praying that God would make next steps clear to us and whoever He chooses.

 

Preaching Contract

 

  • Our elders have recently secured Dr. Stephen Yuille on a contract basis, to help fill in our pulpit ministry for the 2019/2020 ministry season, preaching approximately 10 weekends for the ministry year.
  • He will be scheduled on a regular basis, covering some weekends when Norm is away, or just taking a regular turn. He will preach the next passage in whatever series we are working through.
  • Dr. Yuille was recently hired by Heritage College and Seminary as their Vice President of Academics. He has spent the past 10 years as preaching pastor at Grace Community Church in Glen Rose, Texas.
  • He has also served in churches in Canada and Portugal, and until his recent move to back to Canada, was also a Professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky.
  • Dr. Yuille and his wife, Alison, have two daughters.

 

CHURCH PLANTING UPDATE

 

Melbourne, Australia

 

  • Vertical Church kicked off 2019 with a very big move to a new location. They are now located in a key area in the suburbs of Melbourne and are excited at how this new location has provided more opportunities for evangelism. They have had many guests from a variety of belief systems attending their services.
  • The evangelism ministry continues to go out each week into the local community to share the gospel of Jesus.
  • This move has also given them access to a church building for most of the week, and they are using it for worship rehearsals, Bible studies, and of course, worship services.
  • The church is also developing their Biblical Counselling ministry, as they have started discipleship training. They’ve had some difficulties but have also seen God’s goodness and souls being saved.
  • With the foundation set for this church plant, the rest of this year will be focused on building on this foundation by continued growth and leadership development to establish future elders and deacons.
  • Pastor Adrian would like to thank the congregation of Redemption for our continued support and the gift that was given to them from our Christmas offering.

 

St. Thomas, Ontario

 

  • We are thrilled to announce that Gospel Fellowship Chapel (GFC) in St. Thomas voted positively on June 22 to join with Redemption and transition to Redemption Bible Chapel St. Thomas.
  • This vote included a motion to embrace a relationship with us and transition to our model of ministry (95%) and to adopt our constitution and statement of faith (87%). This also includes a transition of authority and leadership to our elder team during the transition period.
  • We have begun execution of a project plan, with the goal of having a soft launch in the fall, and a full launch in December. Many changes will be happening in the ministry in St. Thomas so please be praying for them.
  • Their Senior Pastor, Jake Klassen, has been assessed and approved by GCC, and has the full support of our elder team. He is a gifted preacher and loving shepherd, and our elders have seen an amazing attitude of humility in him through this entire process.
  • Pete Bergen has been hired (effective August 6) to lead the worship ministry in St. Thomas. Pete and Liz have been key volunteers in our ministry for many years and Pete is a gifted and experienced worship leader.
  • Our teams will be working hard over the summer on many facility improvements to the GFC auditorium and building, training up leaders in our model of ministry, and many other changes.
  • This church plant will involve an initial investment of about $190k, as well as supplementing their budget by about $100k for each of the first two years. We are thankful to God for His provision of the funds necessary to support this plant and be involved in growing the kingdom through the sale of our land on Colonel Talbot.
  • Both elder teams are very excited about how we have come together in unity, and how God is clearly working to grow His church.
  • Our elders would strongly encourage anyone from the St. Thomas area or south of the 401 to check out GFC and prayerfully considering transitioning over to make them their church home. We have scheduled a meeting for Monday July 29 for our leadership to meet with and answer questions for all those who live south of London to help them in considering a transition to Redemption St. Thomas.

 

FACILITY UPDATE

 

  • Phase 1 floor plans are completed, and we are working with mechanical, electrical, structural, and architectural engineers to discover all issues and changes needed to implement new floor plans.
  • Structural engineers are currently working to assess the structure in the gym ceiling, which will involve an asbestos abatement.
  • The next steps, once assessment and detailed floor plans are complete is to cost out all the work. This will then be presented to the congregation for discussion and prayer, prior to a go-no-go decision.

Q2 2019

STAFF UPDATE

  • In our last update, we explained the elders’ sense that God is leading us away from a Soul Care hire at this time. We felt the need to put more pastoral and leadership focus on marriages and parenting support as part of our desire to provide more relational shepherding, care, and discipleship in our church.
  • We have so many who are getting married, newly married, and young families, so we believe there is a need to have a Pastor of Family Ministries.
  • We approached Jason Johnston, our Pastor of Discipleship, and asked him if he would consider a lateral move to this new position. He has done an exceptional job, blessing our church by providing highly relational leadership to our small group ministry, but we believe a move to Pastor of Family Ministries is of the Lord.
  • Jason and his wife, Twyla, have always had a huge heart to help in the areas of marriage and parenting and have been doing this regularly in his time on staff, but they have agreed for him to make this change to Pastor of Family Ministries, as soon as we can find a replacement for his current role.
  • In this new role, Jason will help disciple and train small group coaches and leaders in the areas of marriage and parenting, especially with how to help those having difficulties. He will also look to help train up some of our people to provide counsel to others when having marriage struggles, and will begin to establish some specialty marriage small groups, parenting small groups, and look at us hosting one or two marriage conferences a year.
  • We believe this commitment of seasoned and proven pastoral leadership will be a blessing to the families of our church and will help many in the months and years ahead.
  • We have begun to look for a replacement for Jason in the area of small groups, specifically for an Associate Pastor of Discipleship, who will oversee our mixed small group ministry, men’s ministry, and will have Linda Seabrook, our Director of Women’s Ministry, reporting to him.
  • We are looking for a man who has his Master of Divinity degree, years of proven shepherding and pastoral experience, and a significant desire to simply love on, care for, and be with our people as a pastor and shepherd.
  • We would prefer that the successful candidate for this role have a preaching gift, allowing him to preach about 10 times a year in our pulpit.
  • Please join with us in congratulating Jason on his new role and praying with us for a new Pastor of Discipleship.

 

CHURCH PLANTING UPDATE

  • Our elders have been praying about planting a church locally over the past 2-3 years, seeking God’s leading, and our prayers began to focus more intentionally over the past few years on planting in the St. Thomas area, simply due to how many people we have coming from south of the 401.
  • We came to a decision last spring/summer that God was calling us to plant in St. Thomas, having watched and investigated the general church situation there, and the number of people making the drive to our church.
  • This past fall, we were approached by an existing church in St. Thomas, asking for some help and training with their model of ministry, eldering, etc.
  • It became apparent through these sessions, as well as meetings with both elder teams, that the Lord was leading us to investigate a more in-depth relationship, rather than planting a new church.
  • Both our elder teams committed to pray more about this and meet again in February. At that meeting, all agreed to tentatively move forward with some preliminary plans, with a final decision to be made in May.
  • Nothing is decided or final, but both elder teams have committed to serious work on both our sides toward the goal of re-launching their church as Redemption Bible Chapel St. Thomas early in 2020.
  • We are prayerfully assessing plans to transition this church to our model of ministry in all areas and we have a goal of this church becoming a GCC church, so will enter that process with GCC leadership.
  • We will be talking and praying with over 120 of you, asking if you would prayerfully consider switching your attendance, membership, serving, and giving from our church to Redemption St. Thomas over the next year.
  • This also would involve a significant financial contribution on our part to this ministry for several years, although this approach of a transition for this church is far less expensive than if we were going to plant from scratch. We do believe that within a couple of years, there will be a vibrant, healthy, gospel-focused, GCC church in St. Thomas – a sister church to us – which is more than able to fund and lead their own ministry.
  • Please pray intensely with their elders and pastor, as well as their church members, along with our leaders that if this is of God, He would have us all confirm this over the next 2-3 months, and that He would oversee, direct, and provide for all that may be needed for this wonderful opportunity.
  • We have seen God’s hand all over this, moving ahead and preparing hearts. This as an amazing privilege to have any part in as it is a wonderful kingdom investment, and one we believe will glorify God and better allow us to fulfill the mission He has given us – we are far stronger together than alone. If God would graciously allow, we pray this will be the first of many plants/transitions in the London area, for His glory.

 

INSURANCE UPDATE

  • During a recent review of our insurance requirements, we became aware of some areas where refinements were needed, with respect to areas affecting youth and kids.
  • These changes were needed so that we would be covered in the event of a lawsuit being filed against us, and the changes were effective in March.
  • One issue is ensuring that all volunteers and leaders have up-to-date police checks. Please help us with this. If you have been asked to get a police check, please put a high priority on this and get it to us ASAP.
  • The larger issue has to do with two unrelated adults, with current police checks, always being present when interacting with our youth. This is for both the protection of our students and of our adult volunteers.
  • This also means that there have been restrictions put in place as far as acceptable communications between a student and leader via text message, social media, etc.
  • We apologize for how these changes are affecting our youth and parents, but this is a requirement to have insurance coverage. If you have questions or concerns about these changes, please direct them to our elders.

 

REMINDER: SERVING IN KIDS

Our elders are very thankful for the ongoing growth in young families attending our church. This has been very encouraging to see, but has also put strain on our existing pool of volunteers in our Kids Ministry. After many efforts to recruit volunteers, and still falling significantly short on the number needed to provide the required supervision and care of children in our weekend services, our elders have decided that at least one parent of families using this ministry will be expected to serve a minimum of once a month. Although this may be difficult for some, it is our belief that this will be a blessing to you and your children, as you show them what it is to Worship, Walk, and Work for Christ.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

 

Easter Services

Good Friday: April 19 at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
Easter Sunday: April 21 at 9:00 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.

Please arrive early – doors will close right at start of service for a five-minute video, then will re-open.

 

Prayer Night

Thursday May 16 at 7:00 p.m.

 

Town Hall Meeting

Sunday June 2 at 6:00 p.m.

 

Kick-Off Weekend

Pre-Kick-Off Worship Night: Friday September 6 (watch for more details)
Kick-Off Sunday: Sunday September 8

Q1 2019

Christmas Offering Update

  • Thank you for your generous contributions to our Christmas offering. We were able to collect a total of $22,109.
  • The approach each year with this special offering, is for the elders to discern as we seek God’s leading along with ministry needs, how to allocate the funds given.
  • The Christmas offering is down a bit from last year, so the elders decided to top it up from our reserve, and distribute funds to Safe Families, Adrian and Jen Martinez (our church planters in Melbourne Australia), and the London Pregnancy and Family Support Centre.
  • We are praying that this financial support would be a blessing to these ministries.

 

Staff Update

  • As many of you are aware, about a year ago, we began a search for a Pastor of Soul Care.
  • We have had a few applicants, but no one who we feel the Lord was leading us to at this time.
  • After much prayer, consideration, and assessment of current staff needs, our elders have felt led to take a pause on the Soul Care position.
  • With our recent staff reduction, we are now beginning a process to determine the job description for a new associate pastor, and then will start a search for a proven, experienced, shepherding associate pastor.
  • This seasoned person would join our pastoral team, providing general pastoral care and shepherding, as well as some senior level ministry leadership.
  • Our elders and pastoral team are currently discussing, praying about, and analyzing our ministry needs in relation to general pastoral needs, marriage and family needs, ministry needs, and future direction. We are seeking to discern how God would have us organize and staff our pastoral team as we go forward.
  • We are very excited about our staff health, unity, and direction and we would ask you to pray for us and that the Lord would be right now leading the pastor He has for us in our direction and us toward him.

 

New Pastor of Hispanic Ministries

  • We have between 50-100 Spanish speaking people as a wonderful part of our church and have for many years.
  • Our website is translated to Spanish, and we have at least one Spanish small group. Our Open House and Redemption 101 class is offered in Spanish, as well as translation for our 11:15 service as it is being preached.
  • Hernando Medina has given leadership to this group, seeking to shepherd and care for them, as part of our ministry as a volunteer for many years.
  • There are countless more Hispanic individuals and families we could reach out to with the gospel as well as Christians looking for a church with our Biblical beliefs and commitment to the gospel.
  • Based on all of this, our Elders have sensed God’s leading to bring Hernando on staff, effective February 1 st , part-time as the Pastor of Hispanic Ministries.
  • Initially Hernando will be paid for two days a week, as we look to God to strengthen and grow this ministry.
  • Hernando is a seasoned man, with a huge heart for solid Biblical theology, and has a passion for the gospel. He is a man of prayer but also loves to shepherd people, already giving so much of his week to visiting families, encouraging them in the Word, and praying for them. He is often found with those who do not know Christ, walking through the gospel with them.
  • Our Hispanic community already look to Hernando as their pastor, so this is sort of overdue on our part to bring him on staff, with this role as Pastor of Hispanic Ministries.
  • A couple of years ago Hernando, at his own expense, left his job and spent a year in the Dominican, taking seminary classes in association with trusted pastors such as John MacArthur, Paul Washer, John Piper, etc.
  • Hernando’s bio and contact info will be added to our website, but would you join with us in thanking God for him and praying for him as he begins on staff. We were excited to formally introduce him as a new pastor in our church along with praying for him in our February 17 services.

 

Heritage College & Seminary

  • Redemption has been a supporter of Heritage – one of the few theologically solid schools in Canada.
  • Norm has been on the board for four years (the last two as chairman), with two more to go.
  • Under the leadership of President Rick Reed, God has been moving in wonderful ways, growing student numbers, developing an exceptional faculty and staff, providing financial wisdom, security and growth, and enhancing the facilities to better suit on-going ministry effectiveness.
  • Due to all God has been doing over these past few years, the school is close to maxed out in terms of classroom size, dormitories for resident students, and overall needs.
  • By God’s grace, some people of means approached the school with a desire to help reduce the long-term debt. This would be a huge blessing, freeing up tens of thousands of dollars, when the mortgage was retired. In support of this commitment by donors, the board put in place some policies to prohibit Heritage from going into debt again, established a reserve account, and other procedures, to seek better financial health moving forward.
  • The school’s debt was at $3.2M less than a year ago, but God has graciously provided special donations reducing that to just $250,000.
  • Our elders have decided to make a donation to Heritage in the amount of $25,000, in order to help them completely eliminate their debt. This is in addition to our committed support that we send on an annual basis.
  • Redemption has a number of students attending Heritage, as well as many of our adults taking various seminary classes. We would strongly encourage high school students to seriously consider at least a year at Heritage and all adults to look at the many courses available by extension which would be a tremendous help in your Biblical understanding and your spiritual growth.
  • Please continue to pray for Heritage, as God is doing something unique and needed in the Canadian landscape of Christian schools.

 

Facility Update

  • We are continuing to work with engineers on the drawings for Phase 1 of possible renovations (go to
    redemptionlondon.ca/facility to see more information on phase 1 and phase 2 ideas).
  • Once engineers and our architect have completed their analysis of our current structure as well as design plans of phase 1 renovations, we will be able to accurately price the renovations.
  • This will allow us to come back to all of you with some detailed plans and costs, seeking to have you pray about this with us, as well as providing input, feedback, and ideas.
  • We are hoping to have this information on costs and possible next steps later this spring, or early in the summer.

 

GCC (Great Commission Collective) Update

  • Redemption belongs to an association of over 120 churches world-wide called GCC.
  • This includes mostly churches that used to all be Harvest Bible Chapels.
  • We have a shared theology, model of ministry, and passion for the Great Commission by planting churches.
  • The GCC formed in 2017, but is still working to fully develop all aspects of our organization and how we will function together, plant churches together, funding, as well as how existing churches may join with us.
  • We are excited to see the infrastructure developing in GCC as well as the unity and health of this unique church planting movement.
  • Please be praying for us and with us as we not only help plant in Melbourne, Australia as Vertical Church Melbourne enters their second year, but also as we seek to discern where God would have us plant a church locally in or around the London area.
  • God may be opening a door for us locally, so please pray and we will share some initial details and thoughts as soon as we are able to say something publicly.
  • Also, mark your calendars and plan to attend the Stand Firm conference October 28-30 at Harvest Oakville (changing their name to Hope Bible church). GCC hopes to have our own annual conference beginning in 2020, but this year we are excited to encourage all our churches to join with Daniel Henderson’s prayer and revival ministry as he partners with Robbie Symons and Harvest Oakville to put on Stand Firm again this year.

Q4 2018

Kick-Off Update

  • We are very thankful to the Lord for such a wonderful kick-off to our ministry year
  • Our staff and volunteers were very busy getting things switched over to our new name, and ready to go for September
  • We spent three weeks covering the theme of our new name – Redemption – and the rich theology behind this word. We loved our six years as SouthWest Community Church, our twelve years as Harvest Bible Chapel, but now could not be more thrilled to be Redemption Bible Chapel and to be a part of The Great Commission Collective (gccollective.org).
  • The first few weeks of our kick-off saw 14 baptisms (and there are about 30 more on a waiting list) and just under 1,700 in attendance, over our three services
  • This summer, leading into kick-off, we also switched to a new church database, which has meant other changes with Kids registration, as well as volunteer check-in
  • We appreciate your patience with us as we have made these changes, and are very happy with the efficiency of the new system
  • With the switch to our new database, in the coming months, you will be receiving a link so that you can upload a picture of yourself to our database. With a church our size, this will be very helpful to our staff and volunteers in matching a face to a name. Of course, this is optional, but it would be very helpful to us to have as many as possible willing to do this.

 

Facility Update

  • We are thankful to report that the deal to sell our property on Colonel Talbot road has closed, as conditions were waived, and we were able to cover all of our costs (plus some!). These funds will be held for future facility upgrades or additions at 250 Commissioners Road.
  • In August, we gave an update on the plans with our facility to cover the three main areas of need: lobby space, classrooms, and offices
  • We have created a new page on our website (redemptionlondon.ca/facility/) where you can view the detailed drawings of our possible renovations (Phase 1) and future addition (Phase 2)
  • There is also a place where you can submit any questions or comments – we’d love to hear from you!
  • Please remember, this is all highly just in a “what if” stage. Nothing concrete is in place, no decisions have been made – we are just doing research and seeking input.

 

Financial Update

  • As we approach year-end, we continue to be very thankful for God’s continued provision over our years in ministry. We have been blessed by being able to pay off our mortgage and therefore, we have no debt at all.
  • Once again, as we often see at this time of year, we are currently running about $65,000 behind our budgeted donations of $1.35M
  • We would ask each of you who call Redemption your home church to be faithful in your giving, and prayerfully consider how you can help us close this gap
  • If you haven’t already switched to online giving, please consider this option, as it is the most cost-effective and efficient method for both you and us! If you pay any bills through online banking, you already know how to donate through online banking. Contact kplantt@rbclondon.ca to get signed up.
  • We will be doing another Christmas offering this year in the month of December to be able to give to some special projects, as well as asking the Lord to help us reach our budget in our general fund. Watch for more details in the coming weeks via our weekly bulletin and our website.

 

Staff Updates

  • We are thrilled to welcome Brad Adamache to our team in October. Brad will be taking on the role of Facility Manager, which is an area that was previously under Jon Sodeman’s responsibility. Brad is a licensed electrician and a skilled handyman, which will help since this older building is in constant need of many things.
  • Our elder team is very thankful for the twelve years of service that Jon has been with us as a staff member, and we are praying for him as he transitions to serving as a volunteer, while going back into the marketplace. Clearly God has used Jon in many ways as a key part of so much of what we have experienced in our growth in ministry over these twelve years.
  • We are continuing a search for a Pastor of Biblical Soul Care, but this has proven to be a very difficult role to fill, as we expected. We are persisting in our search and would ask you to be praying with us that God would bring the right man along for this important role.

 

Kid’s Serving Reminder

  • Our elders are very thankful for the many young families who attend our church and are being fed from God’s Word. Our nursery is constantly busting at the seams with more and more births due this fall and especially in the new year.
  • We have 220 children, on average, to care for on any given weekend, and we require certain volunteer to child ratios due to insurance. To cover our three services requires over 60 volunteers every week (over 240 per month). 
  • However, we have had an ongoing issue of a shortage of volunteers in our Kids Ministry
  • Our elders have instituted a serving requirement, whereby at least one parent of families using this ministry will be expected to serve a minimum of once a month. However, for a variety of reasons, this has not solved our chronic shortfall of volunteers in this ministry, so if you could plug in to help out, even just one service a month, please contact Jen at jkuypers@rbclondon.ca

Q3 2018

Staff Updates

  • As announced early in January, the elders have accepted Cory McKenna’s resignation from our staff team, and he will be finishing up his time with us as a staff member the end of June.
  • As an Elder team, we are in full support of Cory’s next steps in ministry in leading The Cross Current and are excited about the impact his leadership will have there and in Canada.
  • We are working to ensure that all of Cory’s areas of responsibility are transitioned to other leaders.
  • Recently, we announced that we have started recruiting for a newly formed position on staff called “Pastor of Biblical Soul Care.” Please see our website for a complete job description and details on how to apply.
  • This is an exciting new ministry emphasis for our church, and this person would be responsible to develop, implement, and lead a variety of Soul Care related initiatives aimed at addressing the counselling and care needs of the church. This would include both a new “Freedom Groups” ministry, and a lay counsellor training program, which will lead to a trained group of people who can minister within the church.
  • We are actively connecting with other churches and counselling ministries to identify candidates.
  • We have been told by several churches that this is a particularly hard position to fill, so we would ask for your prayer support in the process.

 

Facility Update

  • We have accepted an offer to purchase our property on Colonel Talbot road. The buyer has 60 days to do their due diligence, so please be praying that all goes smoothly and we are able to firm up this deal.
  • The plan is to use the funds from this sale to go towards a potential building addition.
  • A building addition is still in the very early stages of discussion, but we are hoping that this would address our three main needs of more lobby space, classrooms, and offices.
  • We have a draft of the floor plans ready for pricing and will be looking at getting estimates over the next several months.
  • We will be communicating more information about the addition in the next few months, so stay tuned for more details.
  • Also, just a reminder that there’s always lots of work to be done around the building. If you are handy and looking for a great way to contribute, please contact Jon at jon@harvestlondon.ca, and he’ll find a way to put you to work.

 

Church Plant Update

  • Our team travelled to Melbourne in April to provide training for the church plant in Melbourne, Australia.
  • We spent time building relationships with the core group, as well as providing some training and encouragement.
  • The response from that core group was very encouraging.
  • The core group is small, however they are very committed to this plant and have great unity, commitment, and excitement.
  • They are planning to launch in June as Vertical Church Melbourne.
  • We are also working with the fellowship (Great Commission Collective) to get other churches to partner with us in this church plant.
  • Please be praying for an encouraging launch, and energy for the team as they sort out the remaining details.

 

Name Change Update

  • Beginning last fall, we have been communicating that we have separated from Harvest Bible Fellowship and Harvest Bible Chapel Chicago and are now affiliated with “The Great Commission Collective”. As a result of that change, we have also been communicating that a church name change was likely in our future.
  • It was announced in April that as of this fall, Harvest Bible Chapel will be changing its name to Redemption Bible Chapel.
  • We started with over 75 names suggested, which was narrowed down to 5 names, then the elders sensed the Lord leading us to the name “Redemption”. The elders agreed to take some time to pray and seek the Lord some more for confirmation of this new church name, or a redirection from Him.
  • Our sense of leading to this new name has been confirmed, and we are very excited, enthusiastic, and unanimous in our believe and support that God has led us to our new church name of Redemption Bible Chapel.
  • We love this name because:
    • Redemption is a rich Biblical and theological word (Eph. 1:7-8a, Heb. 9:12, Col. 1:13-14, Rom. 3:23-25)
    • We are a Bible church and believe we needed to keep this in our name. We are unashamed to be known as a Bible church! We are sold-out, praying God would keep us forever as a Bible church.
    • We originally had thought we would go with “Church” rather than Chapel. However, we believe keeping “Bible Chapel” keeps a least some consistency with our old name, Harvest Bible Chapel, honoring our heritage over the past 12 years, and the name just flows better as Redemption Bible Chapel.
  • We will begin a series of many tasks to implement this new name for our fall kickoff. Signs, printed material, government and web changes, new logos and branding, etc. There’s lots to do, but we are excited as this is our final step in making the transition from Harvest Bible Fellowship, to being a Great Commission Collective church with the same core, commitments, and values, but an exciting new association and future with the GC Collective.

Q2 2018

GCC Update

  • GCC held the first Senior Pastor/Wife Retreat in February with pastors and wives there from over 70 of the 117 churches who are a part of GCC.
  • There was a focus on church planting, and the philosophy with which GCC will help churches get healthy, and then plant new churches.
  • There was a presentation regarding how GCC is going to work to strengthen their churches, via training, resources, fellowship, and care.
  • As part of the training, they are hiring a Director of Pastoral and Leadership Care, who will help oversee and ensure these things are happening.
  • GCC is starting several initiatives to promote organized training (including webinars, seminars, on-line forums, recruiting events, etc.), as well as greater knowledge sharing and fellowship amongst churches.
  • There will also be a greater focus on pastoral care, development, and character, as well as a significant increase in soul care training and discipleship, which will be offered to all churches.
  • There will not be a Vertical Church Conference (previously Harvest University) this year in the fall. Instead, people are encouraged to attend the Stand Firm conference in September in Oakville
  • All in all, everything presented was very exciting and affirming. The GCC is building on the strengths of our past, while adding some healthy, biblical, needed elements and focus going forward. Visit their website at gccollective.online.

 

Financial Update

  • Our elders had the joy to announce in our services on the weekend of March 3-4, that we are mortgage free!
  • Due to God’s provision through the generosity of our people, we were able to pay off the remaining balance of about $179,000 on our mortgage at the beginning of the year.
  • We took on our mortgage of $750,000 three years ago, so are tremendously thankful to God to be able to pay this off so quickly.
  • Future donations attributed towards our Growth fund will be put towards capital projects, or a possible future expansion.
  • Our current general fund YTD donations are around $250k, to a budget of $300k.
    Historically, the first quarter of the year are lower months for giving, but we would like to encourage our people to remain faithful in this, so we are not left with a large deficit going into the last half of the year.
  • If you would like to sign up for giving through online banking, please contact Karen at karen@harvestlondon.ca (on-line giving involves much less administrative work on our part in receiving donations).

 

Church Planting Update

  • We are continuing to work with Adrian Martinez on the first GCC church plant in Australia (in the city of Melbourne).
  • Adrian and his core group have been able to secure a meeting place at Monash Christian Fellowship, right across the street from the largest university in Australia. They have plans in place to officially launch late this summer.
  • We are sending a small team to Australia in April to meet with the core group and provide training. Please be praying for this team as they help prepare to launch.
  • Our elders are continuing to pray about a local church plant, somewhere within an hour of London. This possible church plant is still two to three years out, but we would ask you to be praying for us and the seeds that are being sown now for leaders and this future plant.
  • You can watch a video recruiting other churches to partner with us in planting Adrian at this webpage along with information about other GCC plants: gccollective.online/skw2018/

 

Harvest Kids Update

  • Our elders announced earlier this year that due to our continual shortfall of workers in our Children’s Ministry, that at least one parent of families using the ministry will be expected to serve a minimum of once a month.
  • Since implementing this requirement, we have had 15 families (of 55 families regularly using Children’s Ministry but not currently having at least one parent serving) contact us about serving. Of those families, 6 have applied and are actively in the process of getting plugged in and serving.
  • If you have not contacted us to start serving, or have not started your application, please contact Jen (jen@harvestlondon.ca) or Julie (julie@harvestlondon.ca) ASAP.
  • With the spring upon us, this means that many of our faithfully serving students who we depend on will be heading home, leaving a gap in the number of volunteers required to run this ministry each week.
  • Thank you to those of you who do faithfully serve on a regular basis.

 

Name Change

  • It was announced, in our fall Family Chat, that with the full separation from Harvest Bible Chapel Chicago and James MacDonald, we were prayerfully considering a name change.
  • Upon further discussion and prayer, we now believe we need to change our name.
  • We will have more information on this in the coming months, but if you have a name suggestion, please send it to our office.

Q1 2018

Staffing Change

  • It was announced in a Family Chat on January 6/7 that we have accepted the resignation of Cory McKenna from our staff team as of December, 2017.
  • Cory senses an increased press by God to be fully devoted to his calling as an equipping evangelist. However, the role we have had him in allocated about 60-70% of his time to evangelism and compassion ministries, but the other 30-40% to general pastoral duties.
  • He requested full-time hours for evangelism and compassion as well as the ability to be away more weekends a year to help equip believers at other churches in the area.
  • We love and affirm Cory’s calling, but this was out of sync with our needs as a congregation, and with all the volunteers he has trained up, we do not see a full-time role in the evangelism and compassion areas as viable.
  • Cory will stay on staff through the end of the ministry season, in the spring.
  • Although we did not want Cory to resign as we love him and his family and they us, we believe this is God’s leading for them as well as for our ministry. We are very thankful for his many years of faithful service as God has used Cory to bless and grow our congregation.

 

Financial Update

  • We ended 2017 with actual donations to our general fund of around $1.7M. Our budget was $1.675M. We are grateful for God’s provision and working in the hearts of our people to help us meet our budget.
  • In addition, throughout 2017, we received generous giving towards our growth fund, and will use this to continue to pay down our mortgage. We plan to communicate details on the status of our mortgage and the remaining balance this spring.
  • We are also thankful to report that through your generous giving, we received $33,644 towards our Christmas Offering. The majority of these funds will be used to support Safe Families, with the remainder going to Harvest churches in the Caribbean, as well as to our Harvest Market.
  • Tax receipts for 2017 will be available mid-February. Please remember that photo ID is required to pick up your receipt. If you would like your receipt emailed, please contact karen@harvestlondon.ca.

 

Facility Update

  • Our work on the feasibility of an expansion to our current location is continuing. We are getting close to firm plans to price out, however, our next step is to meet with City Hall and see if there are any requirements which would hinder the possibility of an expansion. For example, we may need to have raised islands in our parking lot, which would cost us parking spaces, and therefore render an expansion to our building unlikely.
  • We are still looking to sell our property on Colonel Talbot, and have had a few developers express interest. Other than an offer which was very low, no other firm offers have been made.
  • Please pray for meetings at City Hall, as well as the sale of our property on Colonel Talbot.

 

Harvest Kids Update

  • Our elders are very thankful for the ongoing growth in young families attending our church. This has been very encouraging to see, but has also put strain on our existing pool of volunteers in our Kids Ministry.
  • We have 232 volunteers serving over our 12 services a month, serving 326 children and 170 families who are blessed by this ministry. Even with this many volunteers, we are about 20-25 short of our required number to safely and properly care for your children. This number changes constantly through the seasons, especially when we lose our university students in the spring.
  • After many efforts to recruit volunteers, and still falling significantly short on the number needed to provide the required supervision and care of children in our weekend services, our elders have decided that at least one parent of families using this ministry will be expected to serve a minimum of once a month.
  • Although this may be difficult for some, it is our belief that this will be a blessing to you and your children, as you show them what it is to Worship, Walk, and Work for Christ.
  • Therefore, if at least one parent from your family is not currently engaged as a volunteer in children’s ministry, please sign up to serve once a month to help alleviate the shortfall we have in volunteers in this important ministry.
  • For those of you serving who do not have kids in this ministry, THANK YOU, as your continued service is so vital to this ministry.

 

Church Planting Update

  • We have had the privilege to help with planting in Nepal, and are excited to see a dozen Harvest churches in that needy country.
  • We are excited to be partnered with and helping to support and train the first Harvest in Cuba in Holguin. Please be praying for pastor Raphael and his family and church.
  • We are praying about partnering with and supporting a church plant in Belize City, Belize with pastor Pedro. Pedro is the principal of a residential Christian high school and is in the process of handing over leadership of that school so he can come for training and then plant a church. Be praying for him and us as we pursue this possibility in 2018/19.
  • We also have committed to help coach and partner with a pastor, Adrian Martinez, to plant the first Harvest in Australia, located in Melbourne. Adrian was trained this fall in Chicago, and was with us for a weekend in October and again in December. Adrian has returned to Australia to work with the core group he already has in place and launch a new church late this summer. We also have a small team who will be traveling to Australia this spring to spend some time with Adrian and his core group, getting them ready to launch.
  • Finally, but perhaps most importantly, please join our elders, who have been praying about planting a church locally, somewhere within an hour of London. By God’s grace, we have become a bit of a regional church, with people driving from all directions, but many long distances. We are seeking the Lord if He would have us plant another Harvest somewhere around London within the next two to three years.

Q4 2017

Financial Update

  • Very thankful for God’s continued provision over 17.5 years of ministry.
  • Thankful to God for your generous giving to our general fund.
  • We are running a little behind budget, but are seeking to manage our expenses to our income. Please join us in asking the Lord to make up this shortfall over the remainder of the year.
  • There are many who call Harvest London their church home, but are not regular in their giving or do not give at all. Please prayerfully consider, if you haven’t already, to put God first in your finances, by faith, according to the commands in His Word.
  • If you haven’t already, would you switch over to online giving? This helps us immensely with the internal processing of donations. Contact karen@harvestlondon.ca to switch.

 

Serving Needs

  • We are thankful for the 275+ people who serve in Children’s ministry and the way this vital ministry faithfully and effectively serves the families in our church. God has blessed us with a lot of young families and so our needs continue to grow.
  • In light of this, we still need an additional 40 people to serve at least one service each month.
  • We would especially ask all parents who have a child or children in this ministry to sign up to serve once a month. If we cannot meet the requirement of adult supervision and care in the classrooms, we may need to consider requiring parents who use ministry to serve one service each month, as this is what many churches do and is not unreasonable in light of the high volume of servers needed.
  • Other teams need help as well, so please consider joining our security team, greeters team, or our parking lot team.

 

Facility Update

  • Our elders have been praying for about a year about what to do regarding our future facility needs. In discussions with our staff, we are all in full agreement that we see our future being at our current location and not at our Colonel Talbot property for a variety of reasons, the two main ones being cost and location.
  • Costs have gone up significantly since the time we almost started to build. We now estimate the costs at $10-$12 million dollars to build. This means we would need to raise about $4-6 million more and would still have a mortgage of about $3-6 million. After having raised $4 million already, we do not see our church being able to raise that much more. Also, our elders have no interest in a big mortgage which could cripple our ministry.
  • Therefore, we have engaged an architect to help us conduct a feasibility study of staying in our current building. We are looking at it from three perspectives:

 

  1. Keeping the building functional and up to code, but making no substantial changes.
    Adding on to the back the minimum space needed for an increased lobby area, classrooms, offices, and bringing the current building up to code.
  2. Adding a larger addition on the back with lobby, classrooms, offices, and a gym for a long-term functional space as well as bringing the current building up to code.
  3. When the Ministry of Environment in Toronto stopped our project and we tried for two years to get it going, we responded by choosing to thank God and praise Him even though it made no sense to us.

 

  • It has become clear that God was saying, and is saying, “no” to Colonel Talbot.
  • Therefore, our elders recently made the decision to put our property on Colonel Talbot up for sale. With developers actively planning subdivisions all around that property, we believe now would be an optimum time to sell the property.
  • Please pray for wisdom and direction in this feasibility study and please be in prayer that if this is God’s will, for us to sell Colonel Talbot, someone would give us a very good offer.
  • We will communicate the options for our current building when our feasibility study is complete, and ask you for prayer and input, and will update you as we know more about the sale of the Colonel Talbot property.

 

GCC Update

  • As mentioned a few weeks ago, Harvest Bible Fellowship ceased to exist in the USA this past June when James MacDonald resigned as president and essentially rendered the Fellowship non-operational.
  • Therefore, the US Harvest churches needed to create a new charity, re-establishing an association which Harvest churches could now join. This new US organization is called The Great Commission Collective (GCC).
  • The GCC has asked all Harvest churches to consider joining with them to work together in strengthening and planting churches globally as we did together under Harvest Bible Fellowship.
  • In Canada, since we already had a separate Canadian charity, we now need to consider if we will change the name of our association from Harvest Bible Fellowship Canada to GCC Canada. Also, each of the Canadian Harvest churches need to decide if they want to be a part of GCC USA.
  • Confused yet? There are many moving parts on this with everything changing for all of us. Bottom line: All Harvest churches are continuing to function as before as each of us are our own charity and run by our own elder teams. A new association will develop with as many Harvest churches that wish to join. Whatever results, it is and will be completely separate from James and his church, as that relationship is over.
  • Many meetings, phone calls, and discussions are happening as all of us are seeking God’s leading on all these things, so please be praying for all involved.
  • Our desire is to not be alone as a church, but to be a part of the new collective. However, we still need to better understand what this new thing is before making that decision.
  • We hope to have a family chat update for you late fall as things become clearer.
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