Church Leadership

A Parable for the Church...

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I wanted to share this Sunday, as it illustrates what happens to a church that drifts from fulfilling her mission out of sincere love for Christ, His people, and the lost.

Take a couple of minutes and let this sink in:

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there was a once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves, they went out day or night tirelessly searching for the lost. 

Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station, so that it became famous. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding areas, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews were trained. The little life-saving station grew.

Some of the new members of the life-saving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and so poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea.

So they replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in an enlarged building. Now the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they re-decorated it beautifully and furnished it as a sort of club.

Less of the members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions, so they hired life boat crews to do this work.

The mission of life-saving was still given lip-service but most were too busy or lacked the necessary commitment to take part in the life-saving activities personally.

About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boat loads of cold, wet, and half-drowned people.

They were dirty and sick, and some of them had black skin, and some spoke a strange language, and the beautiful new club was considerably messed up. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club's life-saving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal life pattern of the club.

But some members insisted that life-saving was their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the life of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast. They did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. They evolved into a club and yet another life-saving station was founded.

If you visit the seacoast today you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are still frequent in those waters, only now most of the people drown.

-Author unknown

May we never become a “club”. Stay on mission.

-pastor jeff

Women as Pastors?

Is it Biblically sound to have women in positions of ordained leadership, such as pastors and/or reverends?

At Harvest Bible Chapel, we encourage women to be in every position of leadership the Scripture permits. And the only position I can see the Bible reserves for men only is the role of pastor/elder (same thing).

This belief comes from 1 Timothy 2:12-14, where Paul says he does not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man. Note that Paul’s reason was theologicalNOT cultural. 

Many of our leaders here, and at HBCs world-wide, are amazing godly women. The Lord continues to raise up and use some very inspiring ladies to carry out Kingdom work. I know I am so thankful for the amazing women leaders at HBCPN, like Amanda, Michelle, and Mandy - just to name a few on our Ministry Team.

This is our last Question of the Week for a while! I hope these were helpful to you – and encouraged you to go after God’s Word for answers for even the toughest of questions.

A New Chapter is About to Begin

This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you-- Titus 1:5

Can I overemphasize how important this season of our church is?

No, I cannot.

We are entering a new chapter at Harvest Bible Chapel Pittsburgh North. Up to this point, leadership has come from me and Rick Donald, who serves Harvest Bible Fellowship so faithfully and has served HBCPN faithfully since Day 1. 

But the goal from the beginning of the church plant has been to identify, select, interview, approve, train, and install men in our own church to shepherd this flock.

It has been a long process, but we have indeed identified, selected, interviewed, approved, and trained 3 men. And officially installing them will happen in service on September 14. These three men are Darren Keller, Jay Knauer, and Mark Ort. (Check out our “staff“ page on this site for pics and bios!)

What does it mean?

Simply put, it means HBCPN is now a self-governing and autonomous church (wait, is that simple?). With our own leaders in place, we are “independent” as a church body. We are not part of a denomination, we are a part of a fellowship. So while we have great relationships and influences in the Harvest Bible Fellowship Family, we strive to function as a local self-governing NT church as is the goal of all other HBC plants.

It is a milestone. It is a transition. And it is an exciting new chapter in the life of our church. Do not miss Installation Sunday on September 14!

Please keep Darren, Jay, and Mark in your prayers as they step into their new roles.

p.s. - thankful to God for these men

Harvest University 2011...

What can be said but “Wow!”?

Two and a half days of passionate worship (led by Micah Klutinoty on Tuesday), bold preaching, excellent ministry training, and warm fellowship. Could have stood to be there a couple more days, but we got work to do here!

A few years ago at the very first Harvest U, they had 38 people attend. This year saw almost 1600 people, from all over the world! Is the Lord moving through Harvest? You can do the math on that one.

Part of the festivities was the Graduation Ceremony for the class of 2011. Call me biased, but I was blessed to be a part of the best class ever. I may get arguments from previous classes, and someday from future classes, but I won’t hear it. In my class, I met 6 future legends.

Steve Deedrick is planting a Harvest Bible Chapel in Rochester, Minnesota. Formerly working at Harvest Naperville, Steve is a Harvest guy, through and through.

Frans Alberts was sent to Perth, Australia, to plant. He is one of the warmest Pastors I have ever met. He has a tough assignment, which is probably why he was sent there in the first place.

Josh Knipp is planting in Bloomington, Indiana. An intellectual and a NANC guy, Josh is the ultimate encourager.

Matt Townsend was sent to Philadelphia. Though I thought that might destroy our friendship (it‘s a hockey thing), I can’t see anything ever doing that. His enthusiasm is contagious.

Aaron Dogotch is in the Knoxville, Tennessee area now. The man is a genius - a Biblical genius and a comedic genius. The only thing I don’t like about him is that after I spend time with him, my face hurts from laughing so hard.

And Daryl Molyneaux is planting in Niagara Falls, Canada. Not actually in the falls, though that would be cool. Which Daryl is in spades: cool. I just love the guy. When I grow up, I want to be like Daryl. Don’t tell him. He needs to stay humble. 

It was so great to hear how the Lord is working in each plant! Here comes my bias again, but I still think I have the best Core Group in the history of Harvest Bible Fellowship. Let's keep these other planting Pastors in our prayers. 

It was great to catch up with those who poured into me during my training, see those amazing people from Joliet, and make many new relationships.

I am so blessed to be a part of such a Christ exalting, passionate ministry. And those of you who have committed to planting Harvest Pittsburgh, you should feel it, too! To God be the glory!

p.s. - made it through the Harvest Training Center with only a few scars and a slight lime