To see God’s Kingdom come and will be done here on earth, as it is in heaven.
We exist to transform culture, as we help people find their way to Jesus Christ, discover their purpose in Him, and impact their world.
Who we are. What we treasure.
We love our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
- His Word
We live out the Word of God, through:
– Daily, individual study and practice of the Scriptures
– Corporate, biblical preaching and teaching to train, educate, and disciple God’s people
- His Presence
We desire to truly experience God’s tangible, manifest presence, in our personal lives and as a church. It is His presence that has the power to change anything and anyone, not religion. HE is what we seek, through prayer and creative worship.
We are participators, not observers. We love and serve people through real relationships, hospitality, mentoring, and fellowship. We look for opportunities to share life. We live in, are healed in, and find our purpose in relationship.
We are a team. “We” is better than “me”. We value and equip all ages to find and live the purpose of God in shared vision together – creating a family atmosphere through love, acceptance, and forgiveness.
We extend the Kingdom of God through evangelism, missions, and church planting. We don’t maintain, we multiply. Where there is life, there is growth. We are a place that is exciting and full of life. Growth is a sign of health that is normal and expected, as we respond to Jesus and His Word.
Everything we have is a gift from God. As stewards of this gift, we generously share all that we are: our time, talents, and treasure. We wisely steward God’s resources and practice radical generosity. We are givers, which enables us to impact the world.
We are committed to excellence in our character, attitude and our actions, willing to do whatever God asks us to. We believe in wholehearted passion and devotion to Christ, and live lives obedient to His Spirit and His Word. Anything God calls us to do is worth giving our life for, and we willingly lay down our lives for His.
We choose to look for God’s best in every person and situation. We model appropriate openness and practice a lifestyle of mercy and forgiveness. We will be known more for what we are for, rather than what we are against.
We are full of joy and full of life. God is good. He is for us, not against us. We are privileged and excited to partner with God in what He’s doing on the earth, and we serve Him with the very depth of our being. We are courageously confident in Him, and we believe our best days are ahead!
- We are radical, yet balanced. We emphasize the Spirit AND the Word.
- We are world changers, not for the sake of change but for the sake of Christ.
- We go into all the world, not just geographically but culturally: reaching every sphere of society.
- We are marked by the presence of God. This is the differentiator from other religions.
- We are a house of worship. In all we do, we passionately glorify God.
- We are prophetic. We hear and respond to God’s voice.
- We are missional: a launching pad and “home base” for missionaries and church plants all over the world.
- We are Biblical. In everything we do, our goal is to accurately follow and live out God’s Word.
- We are diverse. We are a multi-generational, multi-ethnic church.
- We are authentic. We’re sincere in our faith and genuine in our love for others.
We are a member of the Canadian Foursquare Church (www.foursquare.ca). We also partner with churches of other denominations and nondenominational churches in our city and around the world.
Denominations are families. We believe in the power of team and the strength that comes from accountability. This is why we are a part of the Foursquare family.
A brief summary of our rich and dynamic legacy.
Horizon was birthed in revival, and founded on God’s Word. From our early days, we have boldly proclaimed the Good News of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, and focused on discipling nations not just winning souls. Today, we continue to hunger for Holy Spirit, with a passion to understand and live out the Bible. We believe truth is always held in tension, which is why we believe in balance. Horizon always has been – and always will be – about the Spirit AND the Word, as we go into every facet of society and disciple nations.
Whether it is under the name Whalley Revival Tabernacle, Open Bible Chapel, Bible Fellowship, or Horizon, we are a people of revival. We are a people of the Word. We are seekers of His presence, who exist to live in intimate relationship with God as we extend Christ’s Kingdom in Surrey and throughout the world.
Our church sprang up from the Latter Rain Revival of 1948, which originated in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. There was a deep hunger to encounter the living God, and see the entire church – not just a select few – function in the power of God. This revival was marked by signs, wonders, and miracles.
Out of this movement, in 1955, Violet Kiteley founded Revival Tabernacle, and began meeting in the Whalley Legion Hall. It was a church plant out of Glad Tidings in Vancouver. Although some of the “Restoration Churches” in the movement were excessive and moved away from sound Biblical theology, our church has always been very deliberate in maintaining a balance of the Spirit of God and the Word of God.
In 1964, Kirk and Frances Duncan took over the leadership of the church, and we purchased a storefront on 104th Avenue and King George Highway, which we called home for a decade. In 1972, land was purchased north of the freeway on 104th and approximately 161st. Building commenced, and three years later, in 1975, we moved into our new building – where we met for the next six years.
A lot happened in the 1970s. The church changed its name to Bible Fellowship, and in 1978 merged with Open Bible Chapel and Pacific Bible College, which were both led by Mel Davis. Pacific Bible College needed a proper campus, and Open Bible Chapel had outgrown its location on Cambie & 12th, in Vancouver. They had grown by welcoming hippies into the church – only one of two churches in Vancouver to do so – and seeing people discipled in Christ, not just converted.
In 1978, Kirk Duncan founded Regent Christian Academy (originally, Bible Fellowship Christian Academy), and purchased the current facilities on 66A Avenue. That same year, Pacific Bible College began operating on the new campus. Regent would join them four years later.
Kirk Duncan and Mel Davis co-led the church for four years. In 1981, a multi-use auditorium/gymnasium was completed, and the church and school moved in to join the college on campus the following year. 1982 saw Kirk Duncan return to provide leadership at Glad Tidings Vancouver, with Mel Davis assuming the lead pastorate of Bible Fellowship. The church continued to grow, and oversaw dozens of church plants all over the world.
The 1990s were a decade of restructuring. In 1993, Kirk Duncan resumed the leadership of the church. 1996 saw Pacific Bible College merge with Life Bible College (Foursquare Canada’s Bible College) to become Pacific Life Bible College. And in 1998, Horizon’s congregation voted to join the Foursquare Gospel Church of Canada. Although a number of major governmental changes took place, the essence of our church remained intact, as “A Worshipping Community Impacting the World.”
In January 2002, we welcomed Steve and Becky Witmer as our lead pastors. Pastor Steve and Becky are known for their servants’ hearts and a passion for missions. The congregation’s involvement in short-term missions dramatically increased under Pastor Steve’s leadership (through ministries like Gleanings for The Hungry). Pastor Steve also was very intentional in reaching the diverse ethnic communities in Surrey and Metro Vancouver, and bringing together different age groups to serve the Lord as one generation. Our multi-ethnic, multi-generational identity is a large part of Pastor Steve’s ongoing legacy. Under his leadership, four ethnic church plants – Spanish, Fijian, South Asian, and Chinese – were established on our Surrey campus. All of this reflected our motto during this decade: “Loving God, Loving People.”
In 2011, Pastor’s Craig and Shanda – who were trained up and sent out by our church in 1995 to pastor on Vancouver Island – returned home. In 2012, a leadership transition began between Pastor Steve and Pastor Craig. This culminated in Craig and Shanda assuming the lead pastorate in September 2014. The following year, after a lengthy rebranding process, the name was officially changed to Horizon Church. The idea of a new name was initiated by Pastor Steve nearly a decade before, but the new brand came to fruition in October 2015.
We, Horizon Church, have a great legacy to stand on. As a people, we honour our past by valuing those who have gone before us, but the greatest honour we can give them is to make the most of each moment, fully confident our best days are ahead!
What we believe is important. It’s one of our key uniting factors, and as such, we want to be upfront about our beliefs because they shape us so powerfully as a community. The following series of commonly asked questions and answers are a brief summary of our theology, which is in accordance with the authorized statement of faith for the Canadian Foursquare Church.
Who is God?
We believe the Bible identifies three distinct Persons as the One Eternal and Infinite God, the Creator of all things – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These three Persons share eternal loving relationship as the one triune God – what we, as Christians, call the Trinity.
Why is the Bible important?
The Bible is truly and uniquely God’s Word. The Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the Old and New Testament Scriptures; therefore, the very words of their original writings are HIS Word. We also believe that the Bible translations we have today are accurate and authoritative, regarding what we believe and how we should live.
Why are people, and the whole world, so broken?
Although men and women are created in the image of God, we believe that all people have sinned and, therefore, have a broken relationship with God. All of us have gone our own way, and in doing so, have turned away from God. As a result, we are all in need of God’s forgiveness, healing, and restoration – so that we can have a loving relationship with Him. However, God is a gentlemen and doesn’t force anyone to serve Him. Everyone has a choice, and we can choose to submit to God and be healed, or do our own thing and continue to live in our brokenness, separated from Him.
For more on why a loving God allows suffering, click here.
What is God doing about the problem?
To every action there is a corresponding reaction. Sin has consequences; namely, everlasting separation from God. The cost of sin is death. However, because God loves us, He provided a way back to Himself – a way for our sins to be forgiven – through Jesus Christ. Jesus took the punishment for our sins upon Himself when He died on the cross, and He conquered death when He rose from the grave. As such, He now has the power to offer forgiveness and everlasting life to whoever will receive His free gift of salvation. To those who believe in Him, and submit to His authority, His finished work is sufficient.
You mean I can’t help myself?
God freely offers us the gift of forgiveness for our sin, and intimate relationship with Himself. There’s nothing we can do to earn the gift that He offers. All we can do is receive it, by faith.
How do I receive God’s forgiveness and new life?
Simply believe in Jesus Christ, and ask Him for forgiveness. When we do this, He forgives us and lives within us through the Person of the Holy Spirit. With a sincere change of heart, we turn away from sin because of a new and God-given desire to live for Him. The Bible talks about someone who experiences this as being born into a new reality as one of God’s children – a follower of Jesus.
How do I follow Jesus?
One day at a time! Following Christ isn’t about adhering to a list of “Do’s and Don’ts”, it’s about loving Him with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength…and loving your neighbour as yourself. There is a real and instantaneous spiritual transformation in your heart when you receive Christ, by faith. This radical change in your heart will be evident in a new desire to obey God and please Him in all you do. When God, the Holy Spirit, comes to live with us and in us, He brings a new life – a spiritual vitality – and a whole new set of desires that motivate us.
Daily prayer (i.e. talking to God), reading God’s Word (the Bible), and getting plugged-in to a local church (like Horizon) will greatly help you follow Jesus. But it’s not about following a checklist, it’s about following a Person – God Himself! Pursue Him with all your heart, and He will direct you in the details!
What about things like going to church, communion, and water baptism?
It’s important that Christians meet regularly together “in the temple Courts” (large gatherings) and “house-to-house” (small groups), as was recorded of the early church in the Bible. That’s why we encourage people who attend Horizon to prioritize our Sunday morning services and getting connected in a small group. Both types of gatherings are important to our spiritual growth.
In the Bible, we also read the story of Jesus’ last meal with His followers. He tells us to remember Him by celebrating a similar “meal.” That is why we believe in the regular practice of the Lord’s Supper, or Communion. The bread and the grape juice symbolically proclaim the truth of Christ’s sacrificial death for our sins and spiritually feeds the new life in someone who participates in faithful obedience.
We also believe that being baptized in water is an important act of obedience to a clear command of Jesus. It is a visible and public statement of what He has done in our lives and declares our desire to live for Him. It is an outward sign of in inward work, and distinct from the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit comes to dwell with and in Christians when they put their faith in Jesus, but they can invite the Spirit to show His power in them and work through them in the same manner demonstrated by the early Church. This empowerment is sometimes referred to as “the second blessing,” Baptism of the Holy Spirit, or being Spirit-filled. It is a distinctive part of our Pentecostal heritage that is in addition to the indwelling by the Holy Spirit in all believers. We believe the Baptism of the Spirit is crucial to living the Spirit-filled life.
What is the Spirit-Filled Life?
We believe that God gives us the Bible (His Word) and the Holy Spirit (His constant and personal presence in our lives). These two – the Word and the Spirit – are given that we might know God’s deep love for us and respond with consistent obedience. As we do so, we begin to respond to our circumstances in a way that increasingly looks like Jesus, becoming powerful witnesses to Christ’s redeeming love. There is great joy and blessing in living a fruitful life, transformed by the Word and led by the Spirit.
What are the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit?
We believe that the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and temperance – mark us in ever-increasing abundance, as a direct result of our responding to the Holy Spirit’s ministry in our lives. The gifts of the Spirit are different than the fruit of the Spirit…or even from natural talents. They are supernaturally given to the church, through us, so that we can minister powerfully as witnesses to Jesus’ redemptive work.
In short, the fruit of the Spirit is the evidence – i.e. the “fruit” – that God is alive inside of us. It is His character in us. Whereas the gifts of the Spirit are the manifestation of God’s power working through us.
Does it include divine healing?
Jesus is the Healer, and He hasn’t changed. He’s still willing and able to heal the body, as well as the soul and spirit, in answer to faith-filled prayer. At Horizon, we regularly see our prayers answered, and people are healed on a frequent basis. This is Biblical…and awesome! Our God is a good God!
But what about when I pray for healing and nothing happens?
We don’t always understand why healing doesn’t happen the way that we pray, but we continue to trust God to lead us. Proverbs 4:7 says that wisdom is the principal thing, and we need to ask God for His wisdom (James 1:5). When praying for the sick – or anyone, for that matter – it is important to address the root problem, and not merely the symptom. In the four Gospels, we never see Jesus do the same miracle twice. Every time He healed a person, it was unique. Sometimes it was instantaneous, other times there was a requirement for the person to fulfill. For us, sometimes the wisdom of God is to change our diet, exercise, or make some lifestyle changes! Wisdom, getting to the root problem, is the key. When we are only looking for a quick-fix, we can easily get discouraged.
Yes, God heals. But He is a wise and all-knowing God. And we need to pursue truth and wisdom, not just His healing power. Faith and wisdom always go hand-in-hand. The more radical our faith, the more necessary His wisdom!
Another distinction to make is the difference between healing and miracles. Miracles are instantaneous, whereas divine healing is an acceleration of the natural healing process. We believe – and have experienced – both! The bottomline is that we trust in Jesus, our Healer. He is a good God who loves to give good gifts to His children. Healing is one of the many gifts we receive from Him.
How do you maintain balance?
We value the outwardly visible ministry of the Holy Spirit, but we believe everything should be based on God’s Word. Therefore, our expression of the Spirit’s work amongst us is always examined in the light of Scripture. We believe that this practice is an important part of the principle of moderation: that our lives should reflect the balance, humility, and self-sacrifice Jesus demonstrated.
What about Jesus’ return?
We believe that Jesus Christ will fulfill His promise and return to earth physically and unmistakably (i.e. every eye will see Him on that day). We are not to “wait around” or “run for the hills” until He returns, but rather to carry on doing what He instructed us to do: extending His Kingdom, sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, and transforming culture into His likeness.
No one knows the day or hour He’ll return, except God the Father. What we do know is that He will return, and His return will catch a lot of people off guard. This is why so much of our ministry is focused on sharing Jesus with people before He returns.
His first appearance – over 2,000 years ago – was as a baby. When He went to the cross for our sins, it was as a lamb heading to the slaughterhouse. He came to offer us mercy. However, His second coming will be very different. He will return as a conquering warrior – as a lion. The time to turn away from sin and commit our lives to Him is now – because when He returns, it is to judge the world of sin.
What about judgment?
We believe that one expression of God’s love for his creation is judgment. That may sound counterintuitive! But it is in the capacity as Judge that He confronts evil on behalf of those He loves and eliminates it permanently. Within this larger context, we also believe that all people shall stand one day before God to give account for their lives.
This is why knowing Jesus, personally, is SO IMPORTANT!! For those who have a relationship with Him – who have made Jesus Christ the Lord of their lives – He will represent them on Judgement Day. In the same way a lawyer represents you in court, Jesus will be your advocate before Heaven’s Court, when you stand before God on Judgement Day. If you don’t know Jesus, you will stand before God all alone, and you will not be “good enough” to get into heaven – as it is a perfect place. One sinner would corrupt its purity. Therefore, no sinners are welcome. That is why Christ’s atonement is imperative. He is the only One who can save us from our sins and make us right with God – guaranteeing us access to heaven.
To learn more about Jesus, click here
What about Heaven?
Heaven is the glorious, everlasting home of those who love and trust Jesus Christ as Saviour. The Bible describes it as a place where there is no suffering, no pain, no tears. It is literally a perfect place! It is reserved for those who personally know Jesus Christ, and nothing could be more delightful to them than living in unhindered communion with Him.
Okay, what about Hell?
Hell is a place where the door is locked from the inside. That’s not just a clever saying, but a powerful truth about a place of everlasting isolation and suffering. God doesn’t want anyone to be there, which is why it is ultimately our choice. God gave us a freewill, so that we could truly love Him. But, if we reject Christ’s love, mercy, and forgiveness, the consequence is everlasting separation from Him in hell. It is a place of torment, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Where suffering will be unbearable, and there will be no relief. We have one life to decide whether or not we will receive God’s great gift of endless life, love, and joy, by making Jesus Christ our Lord. If we reject Him, hell is the consequence – and the only alternative.
Is that why evangelism is so important?
In a word, yes. We believe that helping people open their hearts to Jesus is the most important responsibility of the Church. We do this by telling as many as possible about Him, and praying that their hearts will be opened and God will continue to draw them towards Himself.
What does it mean to serve and give?
For starters, it means to follow Christ’s example. He didn’t come to be served but to serve. God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son. The purpose of giving and serving is to honour God by blessing others, and we all have the ability to bless others, in at least one of three ways: with our time, our talents, and our treasure. We believe that giving and serving should be done joyfully and willingly, not under compulsion. We also believe that faithful, faith-filled generosity is designed by God for the support of His work in the world through his Church.
What’s a Christian’s relationship with the Church?
There are two ways “church” is talked about in the Bible. The Church (capital “C”) is made up of all Christians – past, present, and future – and is distinct from the local church (little “c”), which is made up of Christians from a particular community who meet regularly for worship. We believe it is our responsibility to actively participate in the life of a local church in worship, fellowship, teaching, and service. The church community is one of the most important relationships a Christian has.
Craig and Shanda Millar - Lead Pastors
Craig and Shanda have been our Lead Pastors, since September 2014. Craig and Shanda grew up in our church, and were sent out to pastor in Campbell River in the mid-1990s. They went on to serve in Courtenay and then came home as Associate Pastors at Horizon, in 2011. The Millars have three daughters who are the joy of their lives – Alexandra, Anika, and Alaina. Their heart is to see the church walking with love, authority, and power to see culture transformed.
Mike and Cheryth Andre
Few people exude love and care for others like Mike and Cheryth! Their family motto is “Live to Give and Give to Live.” Mike is as an Associate Pastor, and Cheryth works part-time in the church office. Prior to moving to Canada, in June 2000, they served God in cross-cultural church ministry in Zimbabwe, Africa for 20 years. Pastor Mike also serves as a Foursquare unit supervisor to the BC South region, and sits on the Licensing and Ordination Committee of Foursquare Canada. They’ve been married 40 years, have 3 married children, and have been blessed with 11 grandchildren.
Daniel and Katy Eliason
We won the first overall draft pick of 2014, and in January 2015 welcomed Daniel and Katy as our Youth and Young Adult Pastors! Prior to that, the Eliasons served under Frank Damazio at City Bible Church in Portland, Oregon. Both Daniel and Katy are graduates of Portland Bible College, where they met. Daniel and Katy are passionate about Jesus, people, and life in general. Daniel and Katy love a good coffee (real, artisan coffee!!), and a day-off usually consists of hunting one down.
Alex and Sue Palmer
The Palmers have been a part of our church family for nearly 40 years. They have been involved in many ministry programs over the years, and are pillars in this House. Alex has been our MIssions Pastor for decades, and manages the campus, which consists of Regent Christian Academy and Pacific Life Bible College, in addition to Horizon Church. Alex and Sue have 2 children and 6 grandchildren.
Steve and Becky Witmer
Steve and Becky were our Senior Pastors from 2002–2014. The Witmers have a love and heart for cross-cultural ministry, especially in other nations. Steve and Becky have previously served as Foursquare unit supervisors, missionaries, and senior pastors in Northern Canada, California, and Mexico. Currently, Pastor Steve splits his time between local church ministry and supporting and overseeing our global outreach. But more than all of this, the Witmers most enjoy being Papa Steve and Nana Becky to their children and grandchildren.
Carley and Jacob Seward
Carley and Jacob joined the team in the Spring of 2017 as our new Children’s Pastors. They both studied at Hillsong International Leadership College is Sydney where they were Key Leaders in Hillsong Kids. Carley and Jacob love investing into kids and seeing God’s Kingdom built through them.
Alethea Linnitt - Accountant
Alethea has been a part of Horizon Church for over 30 years, serving in many different capacities as a volunteer. In 2001, she came on staff to work closely with our Lead Pastor in overseeing the implementation of our budget process and human resources. Alethea enjoys being a Mom and Grandma. She also loves gardening. Her backyard is regularly mistaken for a park – her garden is that gorgeous!