22nd June 2017
In December last year, I was in a meeting with a number of UK apostolic leaders to discuss and pray about the ongoing partnership between the different spheres. While we were talking, Roger Bye leant across a map of the UK which had been laid out on the floor and stated: “We should gather the leaders of all our Newfrontiers churches in the UK and pray for the nation.”
Six months later, with only 13 days until our national Newfrontiers Day of Prayer for the UK, it is clear that Roger’s suggestion was both timely and prophetic. Our nation is facing numerous challenges in the context of what seems like political impasse: In the last three months we have experienced the shock of several terrorist attacks in the cities of Manchester and London, with another taking place just this week outside Finsbury Park Mosque; following the terrible fire at Grenfell flats, people are rightly asking how something so horrific could happen in this country, in 2017; the political ideologies of tax and spend versus austerity are being discussed at length, with the younger generation engaging in new numbers and flexing their muscle; our nation seems more divided between rich and poor, city and rural, young and old, than ever before. And all this is taking place under the shadow of the beginning of Brexit negotiations which will shape the UK for years to come.
It is in this context that we gather to pray. We will pray for our government and leaders, for peace and protection, for mercy and justice and for the church to rise up to serve and reach our nation. We will pray for a mighty move of God in revival.
The UK Day of Prayer takes place in less than two weeks, on Wednesday 5th July and I am delighted to say that Terry and Wendy Virgo will be joining us. Let us gather as His people and seek Him for our nation. I look forward to seeing you there. For details and booking go to prayerday.uk.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
15th June 2017
Yesterday morning I read a powerful article by Kay Warren. It is an open, honest and deeply moving account of the difficulties she and her husband Rick have encountered in their marriage. She does not shy away from describing the challenges they faced; nor does she underplay the hard work needed to ensure that their marriage did not stay in a place of pain and disappointment. Their determination to work at and build their relationship means that they can now say with certainty they are “the best thing that has ever happened to each other”.
I find myself wondering why testimonies such as this are so powerful. I believe it is because they are not afraid to say that marriage can be hard - that a happy, successful marriage does not happen by chance, but by each person being determined to work at the relationship. I believe that when a couple as successful and high profile as Kay and Rick Warren have the courage to share their story and admit that their relationship has not always been perfect, it gives the rest of us permission to admit that yes, we too have experienced challenges in our marriages. I believe it gives us courage and faith to work on our relationships and not live in denial if there are problems.
Like most young couples, Deb and I experienced difficulties in the early years of our marriage. We had challenges in our love life, our communication, how we dealt with conflict and the expectations we had each brought into the relationship. And over the course of nearly 28 years we have had to keep on talking, learning, growing, apologising and forgiving. It takes work – it does not just happen – but although it has been painful at times, it means that we too can say “we are the best thing that has ever happened to each other”.
Our years in pastoral ministry have confirmed that our experience is pretty normal – most couples will encounter challenges in marriage. It is with this in mind that Deb and I host a marriage enrichment seminar each year called Sex, Romance and God. The morning aims to help each of us understand and learn to love our partner better. This year, it is happening on Saturday 24th June, 9.45am to 1.00pm, at our Catford site - further details here. Whether you’ve been married for one month or several decades, the seminar is an excellent opportunity to invest in your marriage.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
8th June 2017
I believe it was Bill Hybels who once said that it is difficult to lead well and preach well in the same week. It is a challenge I can identify with and one I am facing this week. Tuesday was made up of a full day of leadership meetings – a morning spent with the senior leadership team, an afternoon with the staff team, finishing with trustees' and elders’ meetings in the evening. It was a long but very fruitful and encouraging day! Contrast that with Wednesday, which I set aside for final preparation for this Sunday’s message in our Origins series. From a day spent discussing vision, values and strategy in rooms full of people, to a day spent alone in my office with a table of books!
I have observed that the healthiest churches are both well led and well taught. Getting the right balance between the two, knowing which to prioritise at any given point is an important skill. I would like to recommend a couple of blogs which I enjoy reading – both are excellent resources for learning more about these two important areas. The first is Paul Alexander’s blog, paulalexanderblog.com, where you will find many great articles about different areas of church leadership. And I would also highly recommend thinktheology.co.uk, an excellent source of articles by writers and thinkers passionate about theological matters.
Finally, we have all been shocked and saddened by the recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester. Let us continue to pray for our nation, for its communities and leaders, and for our emergency and security services. We pray also for today’s election – may God’s will be done.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
1st June 2017
Some of you, like me, are old enough to remember ‘A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, a popular TV comedy which we enjoyed in the early 1980s. And you may also remember that the show ended with the hero’s discovery that the answer to his questions of “life, the universe and everything” was, simply, “42”! It was both brilliant and very funny of course. Yet behind it lies the assumption that it is simply not possible to find answers to these big questions.
In the last few weeks at King’s, our preaching series has been focussing on the book of Genesis. Called ‘ORIGINS – Stories of Hope’, each week we have taken an in-depth look at a different character from Genesis. It has been fantastic to revisit some very familiar stories and discover how much we can still learn from them. But of course, as well as having some great Biblical characters, the book of Genesis also covers some big issues: the creation of the earth, the universe, mankind and all other creatures – life, the universe and everything!
Reading Genesis inevitably raises questions – how should we read and understand the book of Genesis? How old is the earth? Where do Christians stand on evolution and creation? How do more recent scientific discoveries influence our understanding of Genesis? These are big questions, ones which we have not had time to address on Sundays. So that’s why we asked Andrew Wilson, Teaching Pastor at King’s, to host an ‘ORIGINS’ seminar last week for anyone who wanted to go deeper into Genesis. There was a fantastic turnout, and some great questions were asked (and answered – thankyou Andrew) but if you were unable to be there, you can listen to the podcast. As well as explaining the different Christian positions on creation and evolution, you will also hear an excellent clip from John Walton, who helps us understand Genesis in its context.
So if, like me, you are not convinced that the answer to ‘life, the universe and everything’ can be found in the number 42, I highly recommend taking some time out to listen.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
Steve Tibbert leads King’s Church London, with sites in Catford, Downham and Lee. Over the past fifteen years the church has seen continued growth, both in size and diversity. Steve is also involved in Newfrontiers and regularly coaches other lead elders. His book, Good to Grow, was published in July 2011. He is married to Deb, and they have three sons.