Matthew 28:18-20, Matthew 22:37-39
The foundation of our church is our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The Four Pillars sum up what Harvest Bible Chapel is all about.
Proclaiming the authority of God’s Word without apology.
(2 Timothy 4:2)
Lifting high the name of Jesus in worship. (John 4:24)
Believing firmly in the power of prayer. (Ephesians 6:18)
Sharing the good news of Jesus with boldness.
Mature disciples worship Christ, walk with Christ and work for Christ. At Harvest we emphasize a quality of discipleship, not a quantity of disciples.
The 3W are actionable characteristics of a disciple of Christ.
Experience the sufficiency and express the supremacy of Christ through a lifestyle of worship.
Faithful reading of God’s Word, prayer and fellowship with other believers.
Minister to one another and serve in the capacity each person has been gifted with
The story of our church is still being written. God continues to change lives for the sake of Christ by His Spirit, through the ministries and people of our church.
In the summer of 1988, Dr. James MacDonald and 18 Christ-followers from 5 different churches came together in Rolling Meadows, IL with a vision for planting a life-changing church that would blend the unapologetic preaching of God’s Word, passionate contemporary worship, powerful prayer and the bold sharing of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The first Harvest Bible Chapel launched in Rolling Meadows on September 18, 1988. Since then, it has grown to nearly 13,000 worshipers on six campuses.
In 2000, the Lord gave the elders of Harvest Bible Chapel (HBC) a vision of planting 10 churches in 10 years. Burdened by the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20), they launched their first two Harvest plants in the Chicago suburbs of Glen Ellyn (2000) and Crystal Lake (2001). In 2002, God began to expand HBC’s planting efforts by causing groups of people to approach HBC about bringing the Harvest model of ministry to their communities. The unprecedented demand necessitated the development of Harvest Bible Fellowship (HBF), a separate not-for-profit organization that would oversee the Harvest planting efforts. God blessed the vision for church planting so much that HBF has now planted 66 churches in 10 years instead of 10 in 10 years! After the first three or four church plants, Harvest no longer had to target communities in which to start new churches. Instead, the communities began coming to Harvest asking for help to start new Harvest plants.
In 2005 God placed a calling and a dream within a small group of people to see a Harvest Bible Chapel come to the Markham area. Soon prayer meetings began, ideas were articulated and eventually plans were underway for a Tuesday evening service in a community centre in Markham. This group met on Tuesday evenings for approximately one year and went on to become the fourth Harvest church plant in Canada. In the fall of 2006, this group of believers began worshipping on Sundays in a school in Markham. Harvest Bible Chapel York Region was the name chosen, to reflect the fact that many travel from other areas within York Region to worship with us in Markham. Senior Pastor Paul Whittingstall joined Harvest in December 2007 and after three months of intense training in Rolling Meadows, Chicago, began his teaching ministry at HBC York Region. In the spring of 2008, the leadership at Centennial Community Church were led to contact the elders at Harvest Bible Chapel York Region. In what can only be described as miraculous, God arranged for Centennial Community Church to become Harvest Bible Chapel on June 22, 2008, generously giving themselves, their resources and their debt free building to partner with us for the Glory of God. As with many of the other Harvest church plants, we believe this kind of unprecedented event in our area is a sign that our awesome God expects much from His people here. He has already done great and wondrous things, too wonderful to imagine (Psalm 86:10). We believe that to whom much is given, much will be expected!
As the church planting ministry of Harvest Bible Fellowship grew it became apparent that reorganization in the way we multiply churches was needed and a movement toward decentralization and regionalization began.
In 2017, a new church planting movement, The Great Commission Collective (GCC), was formed. In November of 2017 HBCYR joined the GCC.
We are grateful for our rich heritage, and now move forward with a renewed passion to be a worshipping and sending church in the GCC. As a result, our church is no longer associated with Harvest Bible Chapel Chicago (Pastored by James MacDonald).
We believe the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments to be the full record of God's self-disclosure to mankind. Different men, while writing according to their own styles and personalities, were supernaturally moved along by the Holy Spirit to record God's very words, inerrant in the original writings. Therefore, those applying themselves to study its literal, historical-grammatical context can accurately understand God's Word. Scripture is fully trustworthy as our final and sufficient authority for all of life (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
We believe in the one living and true God, eternally (John 17:3) existing in perfect unity as three equally and fully divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19-20). Each member of the Godhead, while executing distinct but complementary roles in redemptive history, has precisely the same nature, attributes, and being, and is equally worthy of the same glory and honour and obedience (John 1:1-4; Acts 5:3-4).
We believe God the Father created all things in six literal days for His glory according to His own will (Revelation 4:11), through His Son, Jesus Christ. He upholds all things by the Word of His power and grace, exercising sovereign headship over all creation, providence, and redemption (Colossians 1:17, Hebrews 1:3).
We believe that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son, moved by love in accordance with the will of the Father, took on human flesh (John 1:1, 14, 18). Conceived through the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit, He was born of the virgin Mary. He, being fully God and fully man (John 14:8-9), lived a sinless life and sacrificially shed His blood and died on the cross in our place accomplishing redemption for all who place their faith in Him. He arose visibly and bodily from the dead three days later and ascended into heaven, where, at the Father's right hand, He is now Head of His Body the Church, the only Saviour and Mediator between God and man, and will return to earth in power and glory to consummate His redemptive mission (1 Timothy 3:16).
We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ during this age. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He draws the unredeemed to repentance and faith, and at salvation imparts new spiritual life to the believer, bringing that person into union with Christ and the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit sanctifies, seals, fills, guides, instructs, comforts, equips, empowers, permanently indwells at salvation, and bestows spiritual gifts to the believer for Christ-like living and service (John 16:8; 13:15; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 1:22; 4:11-12; Romans 8:9-17; 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 12:4-5, 11-13, 19; Galatians 5:25; Hebrews 2:1-4; 2 Corinthians 12:12).
We believe that God created mankind male and female in His own image and likeness, free of sin, to glorify Himself and enjoy His fellowship. Tempted by Satan, but in the sovereign plan of God, man freely chose to disobey God, bringing sin, death and condemnation to all mankind. All human beings, therefore, are totally depraved by nature and by choice. Alienated from God without defense or excuse, and subject to God's righteous wrath, all of mankind is in desperate need of the Saviour (Genesis 3:1-6; Romans 3:10-19; Romans 1:18, 32).
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, as the substitutionary atonement in our place, and that salvation is found in none other than Jesus Christ. Before Creation, God chose those who would be saved and granted this unearned grace solely based on His sovereign good pleasure. Jesus Christ's death on the cross was the sole and complete payment for sins, fully satisfying God's righteous wrath, for each person that turns from sin in repentance and places their faith in Christ alone by grace alone. At salvation each person is made a new creation by the Holy Spirit, declared righteous before God, and secured as an adopted child of God forever. Genuine faith continues in obedience and love for Jesus Christ with a life eager to glorify God and persevere to the end (Romans 8:37-39; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 12:13).
We believe that upon placing one's faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, the believer is made part of the Body of Christ, the one universal Church, of which Jesus Christ is the Head. The Scriptures command believers to gather locally in order to devote themselves to worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, fellowship, the ordinances of baptism and communion, service to the local body through the development and use of talents and spiritual gifts, and outreach to the world to make disciples (Ephesians 1:22-23; Acts 2:42-46; 1 Corinthians 14:26; Matthew 28:18-20). Wherever God's people meet regularly in obedience to this command, there is the local expression of the Church under the watchful care of a plurality of elders. A church's members are to work together in love and unity, intent on the ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ (Ephesians 4:16).
We believe that Christian baptism is a public declaration of the believer's salvation in Christ, identifying with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection symbolized by immersion in water. The Lord's Supper is the united commemoration by believers of Christ's death until He comes and should be preceded by a careful self-examination (Acts 2:41; Romans 6:3-6; 1 Corinthians 11:20-29).
We believe it is the aim, duty, and privilege of every believer and local church fellowship to glorify God by responding as active participants in the Great Commission call of Jesus Christ to go and make disciples of all nations. We believe the primary focus and priority of this call is centered on efforts that establish, strengthen, and reproduce biblically-based churches, which will then plant churches that plant churches for future generations and God's glory.
We believe in and expectantly await the glorious, visible, personal, premillennial return of the Lord Jesus Christ. The blessed hope of His return has vital bearing on the personal life, service, and mission of the believer (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the saved and the lost. The lost will be raised to judgment and experience eternal wrath in hell. The saved will be raised to eternal joy in the new heaven and new earth in the manifested presence of God (Acts 1:3, 9; Hebrews 7:25-26).
The Scriptures show that the elders serve by leading and that their responsibility involves the spiritual oversight of the congregation. All elders are equal in authority but not necessarily equal in influence.
The elders’ primary responsibilities include:
The Scriptures teach that a plurality of elders governed individual New Testament churches (Acts 14:23; Acts 20:28; Titus 1:5; Philippians 1:1). The Scripture does not mention any congregations featuring a stand-alone pastor and leader. A plurality of godly elders, exercising their individual giftedness, squares with the Scripture’s teaching that wisdom is found in a multitude of godly counselors (Proverbs 11:14; Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 15:22; Proverbs 19:20; Proverbs 24:6). This truth does not eliminate the possibility and likelihood that one or more elders will stand out from the others as more public in their ministries or more influential in their workings on the Elder Board.
The Harvest Bible Chapel Senior Pastor automatically serves as an elder and, because of his public presence and responsibility before the congregation, may be considered first among equals as a member of the Elder Board. The Senior Pastor should be gifted primarily as a preacher/teacher and as a leader.
The Bible teaches that deacons lead by serving (Acts 6). The qualifications for elders and deacons are the same regarding an individual’s character, but they differ in aptitude. The elders are to be able to teach while the deacons are to be able and proved as servants.
1 Timothy 3:8-12
Realizing that the cause of Christ extends beyond any one local fellowship, we commit ourselves to an ongoing ministry of extending the call of Christ to make disciples around the world (Matthew 28:19-20).
Baptism and communion are the two ordinances required in the church. We believe that Christian baptism by immersion in water is a public identification with Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. Although baptism is not required for salvation, it is commanded of all believers and is for believers only (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:38, 41; Acts 18:8). Scripture shows that a person was baptized after personally receiving forgiveness of sin through accepting Jesus Christ. The waters of baptism are a symbol of our death, burial, and resurrection to newness of life that happens when we become new creations in Christ (Colossians 2:12; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:1-4).
Communion is the commemoration by believers of Christ’s death, and a reminder—through the bread and the juice—of the Saviour’s broken body and shed blood. Communion is to be a time of confession of our sin and should be preceded by careful self-examination according to Acts 4:13; Romans 6:3-6; 1 Corinthians 11:20-29.
Harvest Bible Chapel is a non-charismatic, conservative, evangelical fellowship that welcomes all who know Jesus Christ as their Saviour and all who are seeking Him. Those who claim to possess the gift of tongues and other sign gifts are welcome to worship and fellowship with us if they are willing to be a source of unity rather than division within our church body. We believe that the Christian life is supernatural and that the Lord continues to perform miracles. We also believe that current displays of the gift of tongues distract from the main task of the local church, which is to glorify God through the fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).
Current displays of the gift of tongues:
Give unwarranted prominence to the gift, which is described in the New Testament as being only one of many spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12).
Emphasize speaking in tongues as the primary manifestation of the Spirit’s work in a person’s life, while minimizing the Spirit’s work in producing a holy life (2 Corinthians 3:17-18; 2 Timothy 1:9), and a life that displays the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).
Often suggest that speaking in tongues is a required proof of being Spirit-filled or of possessing salvation in Christ, even though the Scriptures do not teach this.
The church exists to glorify God through the fulfillment of the Great Commission, and in the spirit of the Great Commandment (Matthew 28:19-20, Matthew 22:37-38).
The Great Commission is fulfilled as disciples of Jesus Christ are made and grow in their relationship with Him and likeness to Him. God is glorified as we manifest His presence as we do His work (2 Timothy 2:2; 1 Corinthians 10:31).
In seeking to act upon the church’s purpose, we recognize the extraordinary value in multiplying the reach of His ministry by planting local churches and by associating with existing, like-minded local churches. God is glorified when Harvest Bible Chapels and other like-minded churches associate with one another in order to foster relationships that edify, protect, encourage, support, and admonish.
The Lord changes lives and accomplishes His purposes directly through reading and applying the Scriptures, meditating on the truths of the Scriptures, and prayer. The Lord also uses those who minister His Word as they encourage, exhort, admonish, edify, implore, reprove, rebuke, and console others toward godliness. God needs no new or unique insight into the human condition in order to change lives, regardless of whether that insight is gained through psychology or some other tool of human origin. Problems that are approached by integrating the Scriptures with psychological theories tend to deceive individuals into diminishing the God of the Scriptures and into believing that He has not provided and cannot provide sufficient truth, insight, and wisdom that will change their lives (Colossians 2:8-10).
When psychology and other social sciences step beyond observing human behaviour and seek to explain the causes of human behaviour, they enter spiritual territory. Only the God of the Scriptures can explain causes and offer solutions that lead to godliness and a fruitful, joyful life. God has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). He changes us as we discipline ourselves through obedience to the Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Timothy 4:7; 2 Peter 1:5-11).
Each Christian’s passion should be to become more like Christ and fulfill the Great Commandment to love the Lord with the entire heart, soul, mind, and strength (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2, Deuteronomy 6:5; Mark 12:30; Matthew 22:37-38).
The Christian who learns and applies the Word becomes mature and, in turn, can help others mature (2 Timothy 2:2).
We believe God created the universe in six twenty-four hour days and that before He created the universe, nothing except God existed (Genesis 1; Exodus 31:17; Psalm 33:6-9; Acts 17:24; Hebrews 11:3; Colossians 1:16).
God chose to create the universe and all that is in it to reveal His glory, divine nature, eternal power, infinite wisdom, and supreme authority (Isaiah 43:7; Psalm 19:1-2; Jeremiah 10:12; Romans 1:20; Revelation 4:11).
We deny the theory of evolution, which states that nonliving substances gave rise to the first living material, which then reproduced and diversified to produce all living creatures. We believe that all people are descendants of Adam and Eve, whom God created personally and individually and as complete human beings (Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 2:7; Genesis 2:21-22; 1 Corinthians 11:8-9). The fall of Adam and Eve infected all people with sin and death, but the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ gives the opportunity to receive God’s gift of eternal life (Romans 5:18-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22).
God rules over His creation and cares about and is involved in the lives of individual people (Job 12:10; Acts 17:25; Acts 25:28; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:13; Ephesians 4:6).
It is God’s divine decision to save a person and it is God’s kindness, forbearance, and patience that lead that person to repentance (Romans 2:4). All glory for the salvation and security of every believer belongs to God alone (Romans 3:21-31; Ephesians 1:7-9; Ephesians 2:8-9, Jude 1:24-25). We believe that everyone who is born again by the Spirit through Jesus Christ is eternally assured of salvation from the moment of conversion. This assurance relies on God’s decisive grace rather than on the works of the Christian. Obedience, good works, and fruit-bearing do not earn or retain the believer’s salvation but indicate the reality of the person’s love of Christ and profession of faith (Luke 6:46; John 14:21; James 2:17-18).
Eternal security in salvation relies on the Lord’s guarantee of each believer’s adoption as His son or daughter (Galatians 4:4-7), His seal of the believer by the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13-14), and the conviction that God gives the Holy Spirit to each believer as a down payment toward future bliss in heaven (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). A person who professes genuine faith in Christ immediately becomes His possession (Luke 23:42-43; Acts 2:40-41; Acts 16: 30-34), and nothing can snatch that person out of His hands (John 10:27-29). Having been bought with the price of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion as complete payment for sin, Christians are not their own. They are Christ’s possession (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This assurance is absolutely certain, reserved in heaven, protected by God’s unlimited power (1 Peter 1:4-5).
We believe in the importance of serving the body of Christ by offering clear paths for people to start and develop healthy and growing relationships with others in the church body. We value an intentional plan to help every interested person enjoy godly relationships in the church. Church membership is a byproduct of people who are growing in Christ and who grasp the importance of serving the Lord by using their gifts to serve others in the local church.
Mature disciples walk with Christ, worship Christ, and work for Christ. A person committed to a relationship with Christ focuses on a personal walk with Him, worshipping Him, and working for Him. That person will experience significant growth in personal sanctification and, therefore, will experience a closer personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and will become “complete in Christ” (Colossians 1:28). We are committed to multiplying the godly characteristics of leaders’ lives into others (2 Timothy 2:2). This multiplication of ministry is key to the healthy growth of the church. We believe the disciples of Jesus Christ should minister to one another in the local church, rather than one or a small number of professional pastors bearing total responsibility to care for the entire congregation. God has given spiritual gifts to all of His people to provide mutual ministry in the context of the healthy and strong local church (Ephesians 4:11-12)
Satan and his demonic servants viciously oppose the work God performs in and through His people (1 Peter 5:8; Genesis 3:1-7; Ephesians 6:12). God, who by His nature is infinitely more powerful than Satan, in due time will have complete and total victory over Satan (1 John 4:4; Revelation 20:1-10).
Although it is appropriate to pray in Jesus’ name for protection against demonic activity, the Scriptures do not instruct the Christian to “bind Satan in Jesus’ name.” Rather, the Scriptures instruct the Christian to combat Satan by:
Humbly drawing near to God, knowing that He will give grace, mercy, and strength (2 Corinthians 12:7-9; Hebrews 4:15-16; James 4:8; 1 Peter 5:6-10).
Resisting Satan’s temptations (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9).
Rightly applying the truth of the Scriptures (Matthew 4:1-11; John 8:44; Ephesians 4:24-27).
Forgiving offenses (2 Corinthians 2:10-11).
Putting on the armour of God’s truth, righteousness, readiness to share the Gospel, faith, salvation, and prayer (Ephesians 6:11-20).
Demonstrating faithfulness to the Lord by enduring trials (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 2:13; Revelation 3:9-10).
We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures and that they contain all the words of God that we need in order to completely trust and obey Him. The Scriptures are inerrant in their original writings (Psalm 119:97-104; Psalm 119:160; Matthew 5:18; John 5:46-47; John 10:35; 2 Timothy 3:15-16), and are infallible in their instruction (Proverbs 6:32; 2 Peter 1:19), eternal in duration (Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:23-25); the final authority and the standard for faith and practice (Matthew 4:4; Psalm 119); and sufficient for counsel in every issue of life (Psalm 19:7-14; 2 Timothy 3:16). We believe that the very words of Scripture in the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic are inspired by God. Therefore, we believe that the Bible versions which translate God’s Word most literally into modern English should be preferred.
Harvest Bible Chapel affirms the God-ordained and significant role that women should play in establishing and leading the local church. Every leadership opportunity is open to women except those that are excluded by Scripture. The Scriptures clearly state that men are to serve in the office of Elder and that women are not to serve in church positions in which they exercise authority over men or in which they teach doctrine to men (1 Timothy 2:12; 1 Timothy 3:1-2; Titus 1:6-9). We do not see this as an issue of equality, for men and women are equal under God. The Bible is clear that men and women do not have the same roles. Qualified women should serve in any leadership position that is not forbidden in the Scriptures.
The chief purpose of mankind is to glorify God by loving Him with the entire heart, soul, mind, and might (Deuteronomy 6:5; Isaiah 43:7; Matthew 22:37). All believing men, women, and children are to glorify God and thus fulfill the purpose of their existence. Worship glorifies God through adoration (Psalm 95:6), praise (Psalm 99:5), prayer (Daniel 6:10-11), thanksgiving (Nehemiah 12:46), and a complete yielding to Him (Romans 12:1). Worship declares His worth, pays Him homage, and celebrates Him in a life of devotion. We seek to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (Exodus 15:1-21; 2 Samuel 6:14-16; Psalm 5:7; John 4:23-24; Revelation 4:11; 5:12).
Several tenets guide our worship. We seek to:
Lift high the name of Jesus Christ (John 4:22-26; John 12:32; John 14:6).
Lead God’s people to lift their hearts and voices to Him, giving Him praise and thanks in music and lyrics (Nehemiah 12:45-46; Psalm 66:1-4; Psalm 95:1-2).
Prepare hearts to hear the Lord speak through the proclamation of Scripture (Psalm 95:6-9; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42).
Emphasize fresh and contemporary expressions while retaining traditional elements that recognize the richness of our heritage in the faith (Deuteronomy 32:7; Psalm 33:3; Isaiah 46:8-9; Matthew 13:32, Ephesians 5:19; Revelation 5:9).
Pursue excellence in worship, knowing that God is worthy of our best (Exodus 12; Deuteronomy 17:1; Psalm 33:3; 1 Timothy 4:14-15; Hebrews 11:4).