What is The Harbor?
We all need a place where we can safely talk about the things in our lives that cause us pain. We need a place to talk through the hurts and the tough times. We may be dealing with issues such as addiction, depression, anxiety, bullying, or past trauma. Sometimes, we just need someone to talk to because we have not been feeling ourselves lately.
We need a group of people who will listen to our hearts and souls and love us unconditionally through the ups and downs. A place where we can celebrate our journey through this crazy thing called life. It can be especially difficult while we are walking through some of the hardest years: middle school and high school.
At The Harbor, our main goal is to create a safe place where students can come as they are and be authentic, honest, and real with both their peers and adult small-group leaders without feeling judged.
We are called The Harbor because there are seasons of our lives where we can feel like we are being tossed around in a storm at sea. We may feel incapable of handling the tumultuous waves. We may feel lost and ill-equipped to find a safe place to land.
But imagine that in the distance, there is a safe shore with a lighthouse blasting bright light. You see that light and follow it safely to shore. You may be a little broken, a little bruised, and a little angry at your circumstances. But that light beckons you and brings you home to safety and restoration.
Christ is our light, and He wants to guide us all safely to Him. He wants to nurse us back to health and restore our souls and heal our wounds. He wants to fulfill His promises of restoration.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” -1 Peter 5:10 (ESV)
What Happens at The Harbor?
Each week, students arrive at 6:30 p.m. We eat and visit and meet in large group, which lasts until 7:30 p.m. During large group, we cover a variety of topics designed to reach the students where they are in their struggle no matter what burden they are carrying.
For the next hour, we divide into small groups based on age and gender. In small groups, we explore the large-group topic on a deeper level. We use this time to dig deep during which we can get to know the students and the hurts they carry.
What Does The Harbor Teach?
Starting in the fall of 2018, we will begin a new curriculum that is divided into three teaching sections. First is #allthefeels. During this section, we will talk about emotions—when you feel too much or too little. We’ll help students learn how to identify and communicate their emotions and healthy ways to cope with each emotion.
Section two is called #awkward. You know those really uncomfortable things no one likes to talk about? We are going to talk about them. In #awkward, we’ll address hard topics that can be awkward to talk about, but we desperately need to go there. We’ll cover topics such as pornography addiction, sex trafficking, boundaries in relationships, abuse and trauma, forgiveness, and family struggles.
Section three is #TheStruggleIsReal. We all struggle in some way with something—whether it’s depression, anxiety, self-worth, eating disorders, faith, or maybe life in general. We are not alone in our struggle, and we can work together to get through it.
When Does The Harbor Start?
At The Harbor, the adult small-group leaders each have their own stories of Christ’s rescue and redemption and seek to pay forward all the grace, love, and mercy that Jesus has shown them. As leaders, we want to equip our students with life skills that will serve them long after they have left our doors.
The Harbor returns Tuesday, August 28. We meet every Tuesday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the 201 Building. We hope that you join us this fall and find that you are not alone, but you are heard and loved. We look forward to journeying with you over these next several months.
How Can We Support The Harbor?
One way we can support The Harbor is to provide food for the students. Many of these teens have a difficult home life, and this may be the only opportunity for them to have dinner that week. How great is it that we can offer them nourishment for their souls and their bodies!
For each meeting, we need to provide dinner for 30-35 students. I know this is a tall order. But it can be fun if you get together with your friends, LifeGroup, or neighbors to prepare the dinner. There is no obligation to serve the food or clean up. All you have to do is prepare the food and drop it off at 201 (the Student Building). If you choose to sign up, we can provide sample menus to you and your group!
Aside from preparing dinners, we are always looking for leaders to serve in this ministry. We are looking for caring, compassionate adults that have a heart for hurting teens. We are looking for leaders that can relate to and connect with teens in the middle of a painful period in their lives.
If you are interested in serving in this ministry or providing meals, please contact Shanda Gunter at .
Since life can be tough, “we don’t go it alone,” meaning we do life together in groups. On August 10-12, our campuses will host “Don’t Go It Alone” weekend where you can learn about our groups and find one that is a great fit for you. We have groups for all ages and stages of life. We hope to see you there!