Who are we?
The name “Harbour City” is a common description of our city, Sydney, which has a jewel of a harbour. Therefore, in a generic sense, we are a “Sydney church.” But also, each word embodies certain affinity aspects of our identity as a church.
“Harbour” is a safe haven for seafarers/journeymen. It shelters them from rough waters and nurtures them to health and rigour. Its liquid path is gentle and grooved with deep channels, safe to navigate, and its shores are brimming with crucial resources. In this way, we would like for our church to be a spiritual harbour for those on a challenging journey of life.
“City,” on the other hand, speaks of our cosmopolitan and urban cultural context. It is also our gospel context. We believe reaching the city will reach the world, especially in a multi-cultural global city like Sydney. We are in every way intentional about our choice of location, to be in a great city where a great many people need Jesus Christ. We hope and pray that Harbour City Church will be what the city people need, and what ultimately glorifies God.
As a part of Christ’s universal church, we exist in order to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that Christ has commanded.” Matt.28:19-20
To establish a multi-cultural church that ignites a church planting movement to reach the city of Sydney with the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that its people will be transformed at every level--spiritually, socially and culturally.
Our Core Values
We have seven core values. These not only shape how we do what we do as a church, but they also determine what we do as a church. These core values formulate our own unique church culture, or “DNA” as some might say. They are:
1. The Gospel of Grace
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is that He came, lived, died and resurrected to save His own people. We want never to outgrow or lose sight of this central message--ever! We also want to emphasise the grace aspect of our redemption, which the Reformers championed. The consistent application of biblical grace will not only help us to get the gospel right, by keeping away from works-salvation or legalism, but it will also ensure that our lives are loving and patient towards one another, making our witness winsome and authentic.
Cor 5:19-21, Mark 1:14-15, John 16:33b, Rom 1:1-4, 16-17, 1 Cor 15:1-5, Phil 2:5-11, 1 Tim.2:5-6, Titus 3:4-7,
1 John 1:8-2:1, 3:8b, 5:1, Rev 5:9-10, Rom 12:3, 2 Cor 8:7, Eph 2:8-9, 1 Peter 5:5.
2. Discipleship Training
The church’s mission was never to go and make converts, but to make disciples who follow Jesus with their whole heart, mind and body. The aim is to know Christ in such a way that our relationship with Him itself manifests the very reality of the Heaven we seek. Conversely, when Christians do not move beyond salvation, their life of faith is stunted into confusion, guilt, apathy and dysfunction. Christian life is about growth and transformation in the knowledge and wisdom of God. We believe that intentional training and nurturing of the believers ought to be an integral part of the ministry of the church, not just in classroom settings but in the context of shared journey and godly fellowship.
Matt 28:19-20, Luke 6:40, John 17:3, Acts 9:17-19, 18:23, 1 Tim 4:6, Heb 5:14, Heb 12:11, 1 Thess 4:3, 2 Pet 1:3-8.
3. Love for the city of Sydney
God is compassionate towards big cities whose many inhabitants desperately need Him. Cities are where people gather for refuge and opportunity. It is where the image of God, even in fallen form, is displayed through massive culture formation, and still reverberates its spiritual longing. We believe that reaching the city will reach our culture, our region, and the whole world; and in turn, it will deeply penetrate our own hearts with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Loving the city, for us, means displaying God’s own mercy and justice, reconciling sacred and so-called secular spaces, and breaking down the walls of hostility through racial, social, cultural and class integration. This is the picture of the Kingdom which Christ intended for us to realise here on earth, even while we wait for the final perfection that is to come with His return.
Jonah 4:1-11, Gen 11:1-9, Heb.11:10, Rev 21:9-27, Gen 18:16-33.
4. Church Multiplication
We believe in church planting for its effectiveness in reaching the uninitiated with the gospel. However, our goal is not to erect one mega-church. Rather, we seek to grow deep and wide, even while we grow in number. The way to accomplish this is by duplicating our healthy “DNA” in multiple church planting projects, raising and resourcing church planters and church planting teams throughout the life of our ministry. Stating this intention from the start will help to alleviate the difficulty of physically parting with dear brothers and sisters we will grow to love and cherish, and at the same time preventing unhealthy attachments that can idolise our social structure rather than obeying the gospel mandate. We desire to saturate the greater metropolitan area of Sydney with biblically viable and relevant churches with multiple congregations in multiple sites.
Matt 28:18-20, Acts 2:37-47, 8, 9-11.
5. Local and Global Mission
While local church planting is absolutely critical for our region and culture, the entire universal church of God is called to reach every tongue, tribe and nation of the world. Therefore, even while we live and serve locally, we must be equally concerned for those at the “ends of the earth.” The definition of mission is to be culturally displaced for the sake of Gospel ministry, therefore, we want to actively mobilise, support and partner with those who are called to serve away from Sydney, as well as being prepared to go ourselves. We believe that such missional work applies to Australia and overseas both. Therefore, we desire to cross local and global boundaries in order to share the gospel of Christ, and invest sacrificially as a church in order to obey the Great Commission Mandate.
Psa 2:8, 67:4, 72:17, 96:3, 10, 111:6, 117:1, Matt 28:19-20, Acts 1:8.
6. The Covenant Community
The word “Covenant” is a rich term in our biblical faith and tradition. Firstly, it refers to a divine pact made between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, in order to redeem mankind. Secondly, it refers to the way God makes and fulfils His promises in the course of saving His people as He unfolds His plan of redemption in history. Thirdly, because of God’s loving desire to save us, we can now hope to have a loving relationship with Him. God expresses this when He says, “I will be YOUR God and you will be MY people!” He also calls us His “treasured possession, people belonging to God,” meaning that those who belong to God also belong with one another as a community. Our identity in inseparable union with Christ joins us inseparably to one another and provides our unique identity as a church. This is no small thing. We believe that church is not simply a voluntary spiritual organisation. Rather, it is a living organism, the body of Christ. Being eternally covenanted to God covenants us to one another, enabling us to worship God in spirit and truth, and also to love one another as God loves us, so that the world may believe that God has sent Christ.
Gen 17:6-8, Ex 6:7, 20:2, 29:45, Lev 11:45, Jer 32:38, Ezk 11:20, 34:30, 36:28,
Psa 124:1-5, Rom 8:31, Jn 4:23, 1 Jn 4:7, Jn 17:21, 2 Cor 6:16-18, Rev 21:2.
7. Balanced Perspective
D. Martin Lloyd-Jones once said, “Ever since the fall, we have lost all sense of balance.” This is absolutely true. However, the Word of God and the Holy Spirit’s guidance in our lives give us hope to try, even though we may do so imperfectly in this life. In history, the pendulum of perspective has swung from one extreme to another on every issue, acting and reacting. Even the church under the headship of Christ is fraught with every kind of discord imaginable. Often, the church’s language is highly polemical, and its heart is tired and hard from battling. We hope, however, for a new heart and mind in Christ, that we may be sensitive to His leading, and that we will be willing to be changed. We will strive for balance between theology and practice, doctrine and devotion, historical and contemporary, holding fast and giving grace, serving and leading, already and not-yet, corporate and intimate, missional and communal, building and maintenance, etc.
Phil 2:1-3, Col 2:8, Jam 4:1-12.