We're Launching a Second Service!

by Feb 7, 2012

More Stones for the Temple

You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house,
to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices
acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
[1 Peter 2:5]

God is good. He has brought many new people to our church over the last few months, including many people who are coming to know his glory and grace for the first time. In response to this growth, Harbor’s elders have decided to launch a second Sunday gathering.

Beginning March 18, our Sunday gatherings will be at 9:00am and 10:45am at Liholiho School.

Some expected questions about this decision are answered below.

Why should we desire numerical growth?

  • We want to introduce more people to God’s glory and grace in Jesus the Messiah. We are currently limited to 170 adults on Sunday mornings, and we don’t want to cap the number of people God can reach.
  • Revelation 7:9–10 says, “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
  • We want to give people a preview of this future reality in our church. We also want our church to grow so we can send and support more church planters and missionaries to bless the islands and the nations, gathering even more worshipers to the throne.
  • We need to avoid giving our preferred church size a moral status. The first-century church in Rome was a small house-church, while the church in Jerusalem numbered in the thousands. Both were faithful and fruitful gospel communities. Different sizes are different, not inferior.

Why should we add a second Sunday gathering?

  • Sociological studies show that when a room is 75% full, it feels full. People are less likely to invite friends when they will need to squeeze in and feel uncomfortable.
  • The cafeteria has been consistently 75%-95% full for the last 6 months (aside from the transient month of December). We’re also out of space in the nursery and parking lot.

Why not just move to a bigger facility?

  • Missional Reasons. We have a wonderful partnership with Liholiho that we don’t want to give up. We constantly hear what a blessing we are through our presence on Sunday mornings and especially through our ministry to staff and students.
  • Ministry Reasons. We want to bless kids’ ministry workers. They currently miss the service once a month, but now will be able to serve in one service and attend the other.
  • Pragmatic Reasons. All the suitable facilities available within a 5-mile radius would raise our monthly rent by $1500-$2000.
  • Evangelistic Reasons. Having more service time options means more potential people can attend, due to different work schedules and personal preferences . This means more people who can come experience the gospel in our words and deeds.

What challenges will we face?

  • Losing simplicity. Each Sunday morning ministry will become more complex. It will demand greater sacrifice from current workers, and will require more leaders and volunteers. But when we were called into the Kingdom, we were called to come and die, not to come and be comfortable.
  • Losing family feel. We won’t be able to see everyone in the church all at once. But with the extremely irregular schedules of a large number of people in our church, we already don’t. Also, sociologists say we can only really know about 60 people (most tribes are that size), so in actuality the sense of family is already gone.
  • Ministry growing pains. As the church grows, it’s easier for people to fall through the cracks. With more volunteers and leaders, it might be assumed that “somebody else will do it.” With ministry teams expanding, it might be easy to assume bad motives of fellow leaders and workers you don’t know well. We’ll address these dangers with the priorities below.

What will be our priorities through the transition?

  • Glory to God. “To him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations.” [Ephesians 3:20-21] We will do nothing just for the sake of doing it, only to display the glory of God to our church and community.
  • Love for each other. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” [1 Corinthians 13:7] “In addition to bearing all things, love also believes all things. Love is not suspicious or cynical… If there is doubt about a person’s guilt or motivation, love will always opt for the most favorable possibility. If a loved one is accused of something wrong, love will consider him innocent until proven guilty. If he turns out to be guilty, love will give credit for the best motive. Love trusts; love has confidence; love believes.” [John MacArthur]
  • We will make the following commitments:
    • I will believe the best about my brothers and sisters in the church.
    • When other people assume the worst about you, I will come to your defense.
    • If what I experience begins to erode my trust, I will come directly to you to talk about it.