Dear Pastors and Ministry Leaders,
September 29, 2019 was the official launch of Harbour Church Belleville, the daughter church of Parkdale Baptist Church. Parkdale had been serving the community for several years by running a midweek school-age kids ministry at nearby Prince Charles School. As the kids aged out of the program, Parkdale added a Jr High group at the school to keep the kids connected longer but knew that to have lasting impact they would need to create a ministry where the kids could stay connected indefinitely and the church could reach the whole family.
Harbour Church was planted at Prince Charles School with a vision to be a refuge in the storm and a place for individuals to relaunch. Because Parkdale already enjoyed such a great relationship with the school, and the community felt the encouraging impact of their presence, the church was able to leverage their relationships in positive ways. School staff assisted them in promoting Harbour Church and even helped distribute the launch materials for the church.
For their launch, Pastor Dave Drabiuk and his team sought a unique marketing piece that might catch the eye of their neighbours. He says, “There’s nothing wrong with handing out postcards and flyers, but we wanted to try something different.” As a play on their desire to be a refuge in the storm, Harbour Church had umbrellas branded with their logo and distributed them to help announce the church. These umbrellas combined with other print materials helped get the word out and to build a sense of anticipation in the community.
Despite the work that went into their launch, some things could not be anticipated, namely the looming threat of a strike in the local schools. After a great first Sunday with 60-80 people in attendance, Harbour’s permits were suspended and they had to find a temporary location on only their second Sunday. Dave says, “Through the planning process there was always a measure of comfort in saying ‘at least we had the school!’” But when that assumption was challenged, they understood more clearly that every detail had to be completely and firmly in God’s hands.
What existing relationships could your church leverage to share the gospel of Jesus Christ? You might not be ready to plant a church yet, but do you have community partnerships that would be open to introducing a discipleship component? Pray about your partnerships and ask God to use them to build His church.