Why are we changing the name of our church?
Harvest Bible Fellowship no longer exists.
In the Fall of 2015 this church joined Harvest Bible Fellowship, a church planting network of Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago.
The Elders at the time believed it was important to be affiliated with a network in order to help with the search of a senior pastor, equipping and training of existing elders and staff, while also helping to broaden the impact of this local body through church planting efforts.
While every church a part of HBF functioned autonomously, one of the requirements of joining this network at the time was to adopt the name Harvest Bible Chapel. The network felt this helped to provide alignment and clarity of shared vision with all 160+ churches that were a part of HBF.
In June of 2017, President and Founder of HBF, James MacDonald, resigned and HBF was disbanded. Having just recently changed the name of our church to Harvest Bible Chapel, the elders believed that making a decision to change the name of the church would be hasty and counterproductive to the momentum and stability that was building by Johnny Pereira being added as Senior Pastor of the church.
Provide clarity to our autonomy to those in our church and outside our church
In February of this year, Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago encountered some very difficult waters that led the Elders of that church to terminate the employment of their Senior Pastor James MacDonald . While they are an autonomous church like we are, the elders of our church did feel it was necessary to address the turmoil occurring at HBC Chicago with our members because we share the same name and logo.
While the Elders have been very intentional in making clear that we are an autonomous church, they have had growing concerns that this is not clear to those who are not a part of our church, those who may be looking for a church home, or has the potential of hurting the influence and impact the Lord desires this church to have in this city.
So over the last couple of months the Elders have gathered together the Life Group Leaders on two occasions as well as the members for some additional feedback to the direction the Elders believe the Lord was directing them in regard to the name change of the church.
Opportunity to provide clarity to who we have always been and what we desire to pursue in this city and beyond.
The Elders do not see this decision as simply a “name change” but as an OPPORTUNITY to provide greater clarity to who we have always been and what we desire to continue to accomplish as a church according to God’s Word and for God’s glory.
God has called this church to glorify Him by making and mobilizing disciples who represent the gospel of Jesus Christ to every man, woman, and child for the good of the city and the world. This is our calling. And the Elders will be providing greater clarity to how our church articulates this mission and the core values that support this mission. These things are of utmost importance to this church because they are foundational to your life as one who is a part of this church as well as providing the bullseye for success in every ministry of this church.
Did we make a mistake changing our name to Harvest?
Looking at changing our name to Harvest Bible Chapel and joining HBF as a mistake would be a mistake. God used this time we were a Harvest to stretch the faith of this church, provide training and sending opportunities for this church. Dave Jacobson being trained to plant a church in Madison, Wisconsin demonstrates this. Being a part of HBF served to lead us to the Pereira family coming to the church and Johnny serving as our Senior Pastor
Romans 8:28 is a very familiar but profound verse that reminds us that God works all things for the good to them that love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Why are we changing our name to Salem Chapel?
This church was started and named Salem Chapel is 2004 and was the name of the church for 11 years before being called Harvest Bible Chapel. We believe changing the name of the church to a 3rd name would distract from the clarity of mission and values the Elders want to stress moving forward as a church. These things being foundational to every person’s life who calls this church their home and being the bullseye for success for every ministry is vitally important to who we are and what we desire to pursue in this city and world as a church.
The name Salem Chapel connects this church to this city and “Salem” comes from the Hebrew Word “Shalom” meaning peace. This is exactly what the gospel of Jesus Christ brings to every man woman and child who places their trust in Jesus as their Savior. This message of peace is also what God has called us to represent to this city with our words and actions.
When will the church be called Salem Chapel?
Over the summer, the staff will be diligently working to make the changes necessary to make the move to Salem Chapel a very smooth process. (logo, branding, signage) We are planning to be officially called “Salem Chapel” the weekend of August 25th. The evening of August 25th is our Ministry Vision and Training Night. At this event we will provide training for every weekend ministry team as well as share in detail how our clarified mission and values will shape what and how we pursue ministry in and outside the walls of our church in 2019/20 and beyond.