Safe Harbor's Mission
2005, New Orleans. Volunteers help clear debris from the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.
Safe Harbor International exists to glorify God; to share the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ with people living in spiritual darkness, despair and poverty. This is accomplished through ministry, development, training and relief.
Our vision is to reach the lost; to proclaim Jesus Christ as Savior, Redeemer, Sovereign God and Lord; to share His love, His grace, His mercy, His hope, His joy, through His inerrant Word in obedience to His Great Commission.
Identifying the unique gifts of the body of Christ both in the United States and abroad, and supporting the local church through discipleship, evangelism, and doctrinally-sound teaching.
Uganda, 2006. Behold Your God Missions.
In support of the local church, providing programming, project development, technical, and fundraising services while pursuing opportunities for long-term sustainability and local ownership, in collaboration with our local constituents. Focusing primarily on the health, education, and livelihood development sectors according to the local context and in alignment with biblical principles while intentionally striving to deviate from the ever-increasing economic prosperity pursuits associated with Western traditions.
Identifying organizational capabilities and areas of expertise; participating in action-learning for best practices; engaging in biblically-based reflections of project initiatives; and disseminating lessons learned through publications, courses and training, both in the United States and abroad.
Catalyzing professional and effective disaster response efforts of the Christian humanitarian aid sector. Engaging, primarily, in the 3rd phase of disaster relief by pursuing long-term sustainability solutions to the relief to development
transition paradigm through engagement with the local church. We will consider a 1st or 2nd phase disaster response, but only if the disaster circumstances, context, and pre-established local relationships reveal a clear necessity to do so.
Our 12 Guiding Principles
1. Guided by God's Sovereignty
2007, California. Safe Harbor providing food and refreshments to fire-fighters battling the San Diego fires.
We approach our work and decisions with the theological underpinning that God is sovereign over all creation and that we are called to join God in His ministry to the poor under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We believe that Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords: He is the Head of this organization, He acts according to His good and perfect will in the lives of the poor, and He upholds the work of this organization according to His purposes. We desire that our actions would reflect these great biblical truths that speak to the sovereignty of our Almighty God. (Revelation 19:16; Colossians 1:16-18; Hebrews 1:2-4; Psalm 10:16-18, 12:5, 72:4, 72:12-14, 82:3-4, 146:7; Isaiah 41)
Jesus Christ remains central to the work of Safe Harbor, and in all we do, we seek to preach Christ and Him crucified. Our aim is to be faithful and obedient to God's call to serve the poor, and as the Head of Safe Harbor International, our confidence lies in Christ's promises that if we abide in Him, much fruit will be borne. (1 Corinthians 1:22-24; John 15:5)
2009, Nayala. Food distribution taking place outside of a small village.
We believe in the sufficiency of Scripture for every good work and seek to align our actions with the Word of God. Through partnerships or church plants, we co-labor with local, indigenous churches that teach the gospel of Jesus Christ according to the whole counsel of Scripture. Furthermore, we appreciate the complexities of the developing world context where theology intersects with practice, and purpose to approach complicated situations and difficult decisions in accordance with biblical principles. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Acts 20:26-28)
We recognize the dynamic context of the developing world, and initiate projects that are focused, impacting, and sustainable - for the building up of the body of Christ, to the glory of God. We are focused on the mission, vision, and method that God has called us to and pursue initiatives that truly impact the lives of all stakeholders. We plan projects with long-term sustainability in view and seek to understand how we can most effectively partner without creating donor dependency.
2009, Midigo. People gather to watch and partake games put on by Behold Your God volunteers.
Once project concepts have been approved, we engage in a comprehensive phase of project planning alongside our local constituents, trusting that the Lord gives wisdom and direction through prayerful preparation. While short, medium, and long-term planning offers guideposts to potential opportunities, we understand that "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps". (Proverbs 16:9)
Due to changing governmental grant objectives and inconsistent donor funding that is often pegged to a volatile global economy, we aim to implement strategies that foster the long-term sustainability of our work, which also allows donor funds to be directed towards expansionary and new project seed financing.
Through market-based approaches, Safe Harbor's sustainability initiatives are leading in international development in our aim to combine business and social ventures in a way that obviates a dependency upon external assistance. This does not preclude Safe Harbor from pursuing and maintaining long-term relationships with local, indigenous churches throughout the world. However, we believe that Western-based organizations should be positioned for partnership and support, rather than hierarchical-based donor dependency.
2015, El Salvador. Safe Harbor teaches a basic health workshop to a group of single mothers and their children living in San Salvador.
We believe that cultivating relationships is prerequisite to effective ministry, development, training, and relief. We value the gifts, abilities, and perspectives of all stakeholders - beneficiaries, partners, staff, and donors - and desire that each co-laborer is edified in Christ through the ministry of Safe Harbor. In cultivating relationships, we place a particular value upon: trust, understanding, learning, openness, acceptance, truth and love.
We aim to build trust and develop partnerships with domestic and overseas constituents who are committed to: (1) preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, (2) pursuing biblically-based and doctrinally-sound teaching, and (3) extending themselves to serving the needs of the poor, in alignment with our statement of faith and 12 Guiding Principles.
9. Financially Transparent and Accountable
2015, Kenya. Graduates from the Christian Literacy Program receive their certificates of completion.
As stewards of God's resources, we consider it our responsibility to be above reproach in financial decision-making by implementing transparent and accountable financial processes. Whether utilized for programs or overhead, we purpose to direct all resources towards our mission and calling while maintaining financial records that clearly illustrate the use of incoming funds.
While organizations differ in how to measure success, our primary aim at Safe Harbor is to be faithful and obedient to Christ's call in serving the poor, knowing that much fruit is borne when we abide in Him. (John 15:5) In light of this promise, we are committed to developing an impact assessment framework for each of our projects as a tool in promoting greater effectiveness and in providing accountability to meeting our stated objectives. Whereas activities, outputs, and outcomes
may paint an accurate picture of projects in the field, impact assessment
directs us towards the deeper layers of lasting effectiveness and multiplication of efforts.
2015, El Salvador. Farmer Tobias and his wife Maria with a gift basket.
Motivated by James 2:17-20, we strive to intentionally
act upon our faith by coming alongside those in need, regardless of religion, demonstrating the love of Christ in practical ways and sharing the hope of the gospel with the people we minister to. In pursuing intentionality in our words and deeds, we strive to act in a way that is reflective of loyalty, respect, service to others, honor, integrity, courage and humility.
12. Clearly Communicated
We believe in the importance of clear and open communication with beneficiaries, partners, staff, and donors. Effective communication fosters accountability, establishes clear expectations, creates space for learning mechanisms in the public domain, and most importantly, points to the mighty work of Jesus Christ. We strive to uphold the values of honesty and integrity in all of our communication, adhering to the biblical values of maintaining a strong and trusted word. (James 5:12)
We see God's heart and hand concerning the poor and oppressed, and are motivated by the dual calling of proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ and serving those who are living in poverty.
Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. "Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal." Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?" Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." So they said to him, "Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? "Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. "For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always." Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
"Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord? "Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? "Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? "Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. "Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, 'Here I am.' If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, "if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. "And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. "And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.
Statement of Beliefs
We believe the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments to be the inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of God's will for the salvation of men and the divine and final authority for Christian faith and life.
The Holy Trinity
We believe in one God creator of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We believe that Jesus Christ is true God and true man, having been conceived of the Holy Spirit, and born of the virgin Mary, He died on the cross, a sacrifice for our sins according to the Scriptures. Further, He arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven, where at the right hand of majesty on high, He now is our high priest and advocate. We believe in the centrality of Jesus Christ in the life of the believer.
The Holy Spirit
We believe that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and, during this age, to convict men, regenerate men, indwell, guide, instruct and empower the believer for Godly living and service.
Man's Glory, Man's Fall
We believe that man was created in the image of God, but fell into sin and is therefore lost, and only through regeneration by the Holy Spirit can salvation and spiritual life be obtained.
We believe that the shed blood of Jesus Christ and His resurrection provide the only ground for justification and salvation for all who believe, and only such as receive Jesus Christ are born of the Holy Spirit, and thus become children of God. We believe that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone for the glory of God alone.
Baptism & the Lord's Supper
We believe that water baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances to be observed by the church in the present age. They are, however, not to be regarded as a means of salvation.
The Universal Church
We believe the true Church is composed of all such persons who, through saving faith in Jesus Christ, have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and are united together in the Body of Christ, of which He is the head.
The Local Church
We believe only those who are members of the true Church are eligible for membership in the local church. We believe that Jesus Christ is the Lord and head of the Church, and that every local church has the right under Christ to decide and govern its own affairs.
The Return of Christ
We believe in the personal, premillenial, and imminent coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and this "blessed hope" has a vital bearing on the personal life and service of the believer.
We believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead; of the believer to everlasting blessedness and joy with the Lord, of the unbeliever to judgment and everlasting conscious punishment.