1st September 2016
Joining the team at King's London feels like coming home. I was born in Lambeth, first lived in Camberwell, took my first job in Holborn, went to church in Bermondsey, lived in Islington and then Southwark in my twenties, and did my doctoral studies at King's College London in my thirties. My parents became believers in Bishopsgate, and my sisters live in Croydon and Nunhead. Whether or not London is the centre of the universe—and I couldn't possibly comment—it has mostly been the centre of mine.
But as much as I love this city, my main reasons for joining the team as Teaching Pastor this September, and for being excited about it, are bound up with the church. I have had the privilege of visiting and preaching at an awful lot of churches over the years, most of which are both charismatic and enthusiastic about preaching, but I have never been anywhere quite like King's. It's not just the exuberance in worship, or the spontaneous outbursts of applause, or the beautifully diverse congregation, or the warmth of the people; it's the sense I get, while worshipping and preaching, that the men and women around me actually believe what they are singing and hearing. I love that. It struck me the first time I visited several years ago, and it strikes me still.
On top of that, there is a wonderful team in place, full of competent and committed people who like what they do and know what they're doing. At a personal level, elders, trustees and staff members alike have gone out of their way to welcome me over the last few months. It's also an exciting time to join a team: there are a number of new faces around, and the office move to Lee will create a better working environment and a huge amount more space, as well as shortening my commute dramatically (which Steve keeps assuring me is the main reason it is happening; I remain sceptical).
So it's a great city, a great church, and a great team. Beyond that, though, Rachel and I genuinely sense God's leading in my joining King's. If you had told us a year ago that it would be possible for me to serve as a teaching pastor in London, work alongside Steve in Newfrontiers, continue with my wider ministry of teaching, writing and training pastors, and yet keep the family in Eastbourne for now, we would have stared at you in disbelief. But God has opened a way for all of this to work, so that the church in Eastbourne can flourish, I can do what I feel God has called me to do, my children can keep their school and support network, and King's can hopefully benefit as well. We are so grateful.
Our first major teaching series of the academic year will be starting towards the end of this month, and it will engage with seven big questions we all have about truth, origins and redemption: it's called If God, then what? We're planning for me to do five of the seven messages, so you'll be hearing a lot more from me in the next few months! But I'm thrilled we're doing it, because it will be a fantastic context to invite people who have questions, as well as a good way of equipping the church. All in all, I can't wait to get started. I look forward to meeting you later this month!
Andrew Wilson is married to Rachel and they have three young children: Zeke, Anna and Samuel.
Steve Tibbert will resume his blog from next week.
Posted by Andrew Wilson
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.