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" fit together.

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. 5:23).
"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 Goodness to 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 Body.

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.

Here’s 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 “pastoral” as 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 herdsman’s 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 God’s 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.)

These ingredients, 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 concert.

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 governmental systems.

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 earth.

The coordination, cooperation, communication and authority in the church has everything to do with the recognition of the scriptural understanding that "(God) gave some, 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).

God gave 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
Smith’s 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.
emerging church:
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.

 

 

1. Building 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

2. 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. Men and women leading together, alongside each other bringing out the best in each other.

4. Justice and Care for the Poor. Not in 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.

The Harbor is much more - but you'll have to find the "more" on your own - I don't have a simple template available for you.   

                                                              g2kemerge@aol.com              

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