The Shore Church
The Story, Vision, Questions & Prayer
The Vision & Story
In 2012, God led Westside Church to plant its first campus on the North Shore under the leadership of James Bonney. Over the last few years, the North Shore campus has faithfully and fruitfully embedded itself on the North Shore and has flourished in affiliation with Westside.
So why plant a stand-alone church ? Answer: God’s leading.
Approximately two years ago, Norm and I began discussing the question, “Is the North Shore campus being hindered in its growth (i.e. numbers, buy-in, ministry opportunities, ownership, outreach/evangelism, etc.,) by being a campus?” At that time, this was simply a question with no intent of moving in the direction of being a stand-alone church. The question rather grew from the recognition that although the North Shore campus was planted by Westside, it has since grown with people who have little or no affiliation with the Westside Vancouver campus. To put it another way, the vast majority of the people seem to attend the North Shore campus based entirely on its own ministry presence, not due to its link with Westside Vancouver.
This led to a year of the elders praying and pursuing the question again and again, with the goal of discerning if this was where God was leading, i.e. to the North Shore campus becoming a stand-alone church. In short, after many months, including a summer of prayer and fasting, the elders were unanimous in their belief that this was indeed a step of faith that God was calling us to take. We believe that in the long term, a concentrated vision and greater ownership and mission focus would not only be best for the people’s growth, maturity, and spiritual dependency, but are also what would be most effective for the mission of Making Jesus Known.
We believe a stand-alone ministry would provide greater opportunity for:
God’s empowerment and fresh energy to reach the lost, attracting new people in and around the North Shore.
Greater ownership for those who are not currently serving, including opportunities in ministry areas that were previously filled by the Vancouver campus (e.g. media, web, accounting, administration, counseling, etc.).
Greater spiritual growth--greater steps of faith, prayer, and dependence on the Spirit.
What will change?
Our heart has always been to be a church that exists to Make Jesus Known on the North Shore, for the North Shore. Along with Westside’s mission statement, what I (James) have guarded and loved about being a Westside campus is the rich Biblical foundations that shape everything that Westside does. These core values, beliefs, and doctrinal convictions are the scriptures’ convictions for the church and thus, principally, none of these will change.
Our mission statement will continue to be: We exist to make Jesus known.
Our church will continue to be a family of people following Jesus who gather on Sundays and scatter in Community Groups throughout the week.
Our Sunday gatherings will continue to be at Cineplex Odeon Park & Tilford Cinemas.
A New Name: The Shore Church
As a church that gathers on the North Shore and predominately scatters on the North Shore, we wanted a name that rightly reflected who we are sent to reach and disciple. Furthermore, we wanted a name that our neighbours would identify with, since North Shore people take pride in being North Shore people. Lastly, for a Biblical link, we can see throughout the Gospels that when Jesus would show up to teach, heal, and help, he would often meet people on the shore. A specific example of this can be seen in John 21 when the risen Jesus comes to his disciples after they have spent the whole night fishing, to no avail. Verse 4 presents Jesus standing “on the shore”, ready to provide for, restore, and instruct His disciples on the path ahead.
A New Size
Although we will be able to continue strong as a church in areas such as Sundays, Community Groups, classes, Youth, Delve, Men’s & Women’s Bible Studies, the reality is that a church of 200-250 people would not usually have the capacity to do all that a larger church could. There often wouldn’t be as wide a range of classes, courses, and conferences available. However, as a stand-alone church planted by Westside, we are excited to be able to continue in relationship with--and thus in partnership with--the Vancouver campus for events such as Youth retreats, Men’s & Women’s retreats, conferences, etc.
How can I pray and prepare?
Pray for God’s affirmation, His wisdom, heart, and direction for this church family. We want to seek God’s face for what God wants us to do.
Pray for God’s stirring. As a campus, it can be easy to assume that everything has been taken care of. Ask God to reveal to you where you may be able to have greater ownership and involvement in your stand-alone church.
Pray for God’s provision. God is our proactive, loving heavenly Father, who not only has a plan for our lives, but also has the resources to bring to pass everything He intends. Our confidence is not in what we have right now or what we have done so far in preparation, but in our unfailing God.
Respectfully, submitted on behalf of the Elders,
James Bonney, Campus Pastor