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Investing in the Next Generation in Charleston

Investing in the Next Generation in Charleston

Investing in the Next Generation in Charleston

Harbor City Church is on a mission toward a Gospel renewal movement in Charleston and the world.

Planted in 2022 out of The Summit Church in Durham, NC, Harbor City has not only hit the 200 mark in attendance but has also sent out another church plant, Ten 27 Church, within its first year of planting. They also saw 12 baptisms in their first year, including current believers who’d never taken a step towards baptism and new believers who had experienced Christ for the first time.

Engaging the Community

Harbor City considers itself in a strategic location. “Less than two percent of those in Charleston attend church more than once a month,” Will Taylor, Director of Harbor City’s Holy City Institute, said.

One way the church is involved in efforts to reach the lost is by partnering with their regional Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) to engage students at the College of Charleston and the Citadel. Bronson Baker, Collegiate Minister for the Charleston area expressed his thankfulness for Harbor City. “I have been able to treat Harbor City staff as an extension of my staff, and it’s been crucial to getting our ministry up and going this year,” Collegiate Minister Bronson Baker said.

Harbor City regularly partners with BCM to go on campus prayer walks, sponsor events, bring volunteers to serve on campus, and provide students with rides to church since many students are without a vehicle.

As Taylor explained, “Just being on a college campus, you’re rubbing shoulders with people who have little to no regular Gospel engagement in their lives.” For Harbor City, it’s important to partner with BCM. “We realize that we’re not the only people doing this kind of work, so we partner with them heavily through building relationships and community on campus,” Taylor said.

Holy City Institute

Aside from their work on college campuses, Harbor City is also working to train the next generation of leaders through the Holy City Institute. The institute includes programs for Pastoral Residents and Apprentices.

Pastoral Residents work through a three-year program geared toward individuals who have felt a calling to ministry. Apprentices are typically recent college grads discerning whether the Lord is calling them to ministry.

“We want to encompass the head, the heart, and the hands of our Pastoral Residents and Apprentices,” Taylor said. “That involves good theological training partnered with Baptist theological seminaries, practical hands-on ministry training, and leaning in on character development aspects.”

Both programs work closely with pastoral staff at Harbor City in specific ministry areas. For Harbor City, investing in the next generation is part of God’s calling on the church.

Influencing the Next Generation

“We believe that we need to invest our time, talent, and treasure for this current generation and the next one,” Taylor said. “We see ourselves investing in the next generation of leaders to point them in the direction and path that God has for them.”

Victoria and Kobe Sonbert were recent North Carolina State grads when they felt the Lord calling them to help plant Harbor City and be part of the Holy City Institute. Kobe serves with the collegiate ministry, and Victoria serves in children’s ministry and communications.

“We’ve learned that our usefulness is not our decision, but what we can control is our availability, and God will take it from there,” Victoria said.

The Holy City Institute is part of a larger goal of seeing a Gospel renewal movement in Charleston. “This movement is not just for Harbor City but for the other churches in the area as well. We want to influence those churches to find themselves healthier because of the training at the Holy City Institute,” Taylor said.

As Pastoral Residents and Apprentices finish the program, Harbor City Church envisions them as being competent and confident in their makeup as disciples of Christ. “We want them to not just have the knowledge, but the character and expertise to know and take their next step in the journey for the Kingdom,” Taylor said.

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