THE VISION: Harbour Co.

The vision of Harbour Co is to mobilise the missing generation in the church to reach the missing generation outside of the church.

Only 1% of people aged 16-29 go to church in Portsmouth – when we were invited to plant Harbour church by the Bishop of Portsmouth 2 years ago, he told us that this generation was missing in the church in Portsmouth. Yet it is, by far, the biggest demographic of people in this city. There are more people aged 16-29 than any other age group.

Statistics and newspaper reports are always telling us that the church of England will be dead in the next 20 years, that young people aren’t interested. 

We want to tell a different story.

18 months ago 12 people aged between 16 and 29 moved house, left behind houses, work, loved ones and friends to move to a city they didn’t know to start a brand new church in a derelict department store with no money but lots of faith. Since then, a lot has happened:

  • 28 young people have become Christians
  • 130 people aged between 16 and 29 worship at The Six every week
  • a group of 5 16 year olds have started running a Youth Alpha group for their mates, and 15 of their friends have come along
  • 2 weeks ago we baptized 4 brand new Christians, who are all aged between 18 and 25, who hadn’t been to church before and didn’t know Jesus until they were invited to come here and explore what faith might be for them
  • 80 university students regularly attend church 
  • 200 students have come along to our student socials
  • 550 people have joined mid –week groups
  • And one of my favorite stories is Ben – Ben started coming to Harbour church a year ago, but felt that he had no faith. At the beginning of September last year he told us that he wasn’t a Christian any more and that he’d given up on faith and on Jesus. As a last ditch attempt his best mate invited him to do Alpha. Ben says that on Alpha he encountered the love of Jesus, knew that God was real and that his faith had become so important to him. A few weeks ago Ben did the talk at the Six – in front of 130 people, including his friends and girlfriend who don’t usually go to church. That is bravery like I can only admire.
  • But not only that, Ben decided to run for school president and won – he then had to do a talk to his whole school of 800 young people, what did he decide to tell those 800 young people? That he had encountered Jesus, and that the love of God is real! 

God is on the move amongst this generation and is using this church to do something amazing. We call our work with this generation Harbour Co – the vision is to mobilise the missing generation in the church to reach the missing generation outside of the church. 

There’s a clothing line, worship nights and loads more planned. This Autumn we want to re-launch this building as a venue to home Harbour Co – specifically designed to reach that missing generation. 

Thinking about what God has done in this area over the last year, it makes me realize what just might be possible in the next year and the next 5 years!

Jessica Elliott