Our Story

In 1988, Steve and Sue Pruett started The Harbor (then Evangelical Free Church of Santa Maria) in their living room. The Harbor was founded with a respect for the authority of Scripture, a commitment to clear teaching, dedication to equipping the body to do the work of the ministry, and a desire to significantly participate in world missions. Several families joined and we quickly outgrew the Pruetts’ living room. We met in a hotel, a school, shared a church facility with Oak Knolls Baptist church, and currently meet in our own facility at 751 E. Foster Road.

After more than 26 years faithfully serving The Harbor family and equipping them with a clear understanding of the Gospel, Steve sensed God was calling him to step down as Senior Pastor at The Harbor. In 2014, Steve retired and handed off the reigns to Shannon Estell. Shannon and his wife Julie served in multiple roles in ministry in the Chicago area for more than 11 years before joining The Harbor family. In 2017 Shannon and his family accepted an offer as Associate Pastor at a church in Brea, CA.

Mark Mayberry currently serves as a teaching Elder with a Seminary education, and Matt Patterson speaks while also serving as the full time Youth and Worship Pastor for The Harbor.

Throughout the history at The Harbor, God has repeatedly affirmed The Harbor’s calling: to become a complete training and discipleship ministry, equipping Christians on the Central Coast to be qualified ambassadors for Jesus Christ in our city, our state, our nation, and the world.

Our Mission

We are here to make and mature disciples of all nations:

  • Whose faith is planted in Christ alone.
  • Who are firmly rooted and grounded in the Word of God.
  • Who abide in Christ daily, and draw upon His strength.
  • Who grow to maturity in their walks.
  • And who reproduce themselves by sharing their faith with others.

Why a Church Named The Harbor?

Why a church named “The Harbor”?  We think it gives a good picture of what God has called us to be as a Christian church in Santa Maria, California:

A Harbor is a Place for Rest.

And our first desire for those who come to us is that they find rest in their souls—a rest in the wonderful, finished work of Jesus Christ.

A Harbor is a Place for Restoration.

As we go about our daily lives, we encounter storms that are sometimes devastating. At the Harbor, we want to provide an atmosphere where people can find healing from life’s hurts.

A Harbor is a Place for Preparation.

At the Harbor our desire is for every believer to have a solid foundation in God’s Word, the Bible, and the spiritual skills necessary to use his or her God-given gifts for God’s glory.

A Harbor is a Place for Launching.

Just as boats are not built to sit in the harbor, but to be launched out into the deep, our goal is to see our people having an impact on their world both locally and globally. We encourage each believer to seek God’s direction as to his or her role in the “Great Commission”.