05 Dec Family Chat – December 2-3, 2017
We are excited to bring you a few updates on some happenings around our church. Since the entire church just gathers for our weekend services, this is the only forum through which we can update all of you on some important items, so we ended our time a little early in this weekend’s services to bring you a few updates. This is for our church family – hence we call this a family chat.
(The content of this family chat has been edited for this online posting.)
First, we want to update you regarding our facility plans:
- We were a church-in-a-box, renting space for our weekend services for 15.5 years.
- In 2008, we bought 8 acres on Colonel Talbot Road north of Lambeth with the plan to build a new building as our permanent home.
- We spent over two years getting site plan approval, designing a 58,000 square foot building, getting building drawings completed, and a building permit from the city.
- After City Hall gave us the green light to begin site work and our contractor was on the property moving top soil, the Ministry of the Environment in Toronto told us we had to get our neighbour to the south to give us a letter saying he was okay with our storm water management plan. That neighbour refused, and all our work stopped. We tried to find a solution with him for almost two years to no avail.
- Eventually, that neighbour brought on another partner in his business – Ali Soufan of York developments in London and Ali, a year later, gave us that one sentence letter that was required.
- However, by then, costs had gone up so much we were not in a position to proceed and we began to sense God’s leading toward buying this facility as an ‘interim solution’ to our facility needs, looking at five year time span to determine our future facility solution.
- We have been here for two years, and are very thankful to the Lord for this facility. Over the past year, we have been analyzing, seeking counsel, praying, and have done a feasibility study on what our longer-term facility solution should be.
- We have come to the conclusion that building a new building on our Colonel Talbot property is not doable, or how God is leading us. We now estimate the cost of building to be around $10-$12M. If we sold this property for $3M, we would still need to raise at least $4-5M and take a mortgage of $3-5M – neither of which we think are doable. So, God has shut the door on a new building for us on the Colonel Talbot property.
- Therefore, we have put that property up for sale. We had a valuation done on it and were told it was worth $1.95M, so we have notified developers and builders in the city of our intention to sell. We believe that with the development work beginning in that part of the city, and with properties to the north, south, and east of us, that now is the best time to sell. Please be praying that if God wants us to sell, a buyer would give us our asking price or close to it.
- Our feasibility study on this property has centred around the question of how can we add much needed lobby space, classrooms, and a little extra office space. We will have some thoughts on this to discuss with you in the next few months.
Next, we want to update you regarding our association.
- We planted as an independent church – SouthWest Community Church, all on our own, in 2000.
- We transitioned to Harvest Bible Chapel London in 2006, joining the association of churches called Harvest Bible Fellowship (HBF). When we transitioned to Harvest London from SouthWest and we were the ninth church to join or be planted by the fellowship. HBF was a church planting organization started by James MacDonald church. His church, Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago, had been planted in 1988 and in 2000 determined God was calling them to begin planting churches via HBF. This church planting Fellowship grew to 160 churches worldwide by 2017.
- James resigned from his role as president of HBF in June 2017. He is still pastoring his own church in Chicago, but removed himself fully from any role in HBF.
- Following his resignation and as a result of all that we know, it was determined that no further association could continue with James or Harvest Chicago.
- Some of the Harvest pastors in the USA determined a new charity had to be formed with no connection whatsoever with HBF USA.
- This new association was formed this past summer, completely separate from James, Harvest Chicago, and what was HBF USA, called the Great Commission Collective or GCC. GCC was formed with the belief that many/most Harvest churches still wanted to work together to plant churches globally and would be interested in forming together with this new organization.
- This fall the board of our Canadian legal charity, called Harvest bible Fellowship Canada, decided to change its legal name to GCC Canada and fully align with this new GCC charity in the US.
- The new GCC church planting charity (USA, Canada, and international) is keeping all the things we loved and valued about HBF, but it also has added a much needed focus in leadership on humility and dependence on God; and a more distributed and stable leadership structure.
- GCC has formally invited all Harvest churches – worldwide – to join with them as member churches so we can work together to continue planting churches in Canada, the USA, and around the world.
- Each Harvest church in led by its own elder team and self-governing, therefore each church needs to decide for itself if it will join GCC, go on its own as a single church, or join another association of churches.
- It appears that a majority of the US, Canadian, and International Harvest churches will join GCC.
- Here in Canada, 13 of the 17 Harvest churches have already joined and a few others are still deciding, and it appears a few will not join.
- We want to inform you that we – Harvest London, have, as of a few weeks ago, officially joined GCC and are thankful for this association which maintains valued partnerships with other like-minded churches.
- GCC is the association name, not any individual church name. GCC will allow churches to have any name they want, so gone are the days of all churches having the same name, but no church will be called GCC, just that we all will simply say, we are a GCC affiliated church.
- We may decide to change our church name from Harvest London, but that decision will be addressed in 2018 and we will inform you if/when we begin that process.
- Together, we are far more able to be faithful and fruitful in our mission of glorifying God by making disciples than we are alone and independent.
- You can check out GCC on their website (www.gccollective.org), and we will be updating our website in the next month or two with more info about GCC.
- Exciting days are ahead! Actually, we believe, our best days as a church and church planting ministry are ahead. We are excited that GCC is focused on Jesus, His name, His church, and His mission.
- We are very committed to do all we can, under the power and leadership of God’s Spirit, to proclaim the gospel, disciple believers, and plant churches locally and globally.
- We encourage you to plug in fully, along with us, as we are trusting God to do wonderful things for His glory in the coming months and years.