Meet Harbor Online Community
Harbor Online Community is a virtual church born out of the pandemic era. They’re committed to connecting people to each other and to God, loving each other compassionately, exploring what it means to follow Jesus, and working together for justice and peace. Harbor was founded by their pastor Jon Mathieu in Pittsburg, PA. When we first spoke with Jon in the fall of 2019, he was in a season of discernment and interested in meeting fellow leaders who were pastoring in an inclusive and evangelical, Christ-centered context. We instantly connected and have been excited to follow his journey ever since.
What We Do for Them
Our initial conversations with Jon motivated him to enroll as a fellow with Newbigin House of Studies then finish his M.Div. He officially became our coaching partner in January 2021 and since then we’ve helped him with many practical aspects of launching. We coached him on how to file for his 501c3, create bylaws, develop a budget and begin fundraising, and identify and lead a board of leaders. We were excited to be able to connect Jon with a candidate he then hired as a co-pastor. Harbor Online is now led by a trio of pastors (two in the U.S. and one in Canada) in a shared leadership model, one who participates in our women leaders cohort.
What They Do for Us
Working with Harbor online allows us to explore hard questions about a theology of place, what it means to live faithfully in online community, and how to pastor and lead in a virtual and hybrid world. They are also the first of our Launching Partners to become a Guiding Partner, and now give back a portion of their annual budget to help support other projects launching through our network. We’re thankful and proud of who they’ve become in the world.
What They Do for the World
Harbor Online Community is an exciting model of what the future of the church could be. They’ve attracted the support of the PCUSA and UCC denominations and are crossing borders and building bridges in many ways. Their opportunities continue to grow. We’re proud to say we had a part in helping the world see the potential of online faith communities and love hearing all the stories of life change that are growing out of Harbor as they connect with people all over the world.