14th February 2019
Steve has kindly offered me the chance to introduce the argument of my new book, Spirit and Sacrament: An Invitation to Eucharismatic Worship. In some ways the whole idea is summed up in that one word “eucharismatic”, which is a word I invented to combine the words “eucharistic” and “charismatic,” with the word charis, meaning “grace,” in the middle. But like any new term, it probably needs a bit more explanation than that.
When I talk about churches being “eucharistic,” I obviously mean to refer to the celebration of the Eucharist (or Communion, or the Lord’s Supper) in corporate worship. But I also mean to evoke the entire Christian tradition in which it plays a central role. If I see a church notice board proclaiming that it has a “sung Eucharist at 10:00 every Sunday,” I know rather more than that the congregation comes together at some stage to share bread and wine. Somehow, the word is richer than that. I assume that the service includes some combination of prayers, formal liturgy, confession, hymns, psalms, readings, silence, sermon, offering, benediction, and commission. I also assume that it does not include spontaneous spiritual gifts, lengthy times of extended corporate singing, sermons that last more than twenty minutes, video presentations, or ministry times. To be eucharistic, in this sense, is more than merely to celebrate the Eucharist, although it is certainly not less. It is to be historically rooted, unashamedly sacramental, deliberately liturgical, and self-consciously catholic.
The word charismatic has an even wider range of meanings. In its narrowest form, to be charismatic means to be part of a church that traces its roots to the charismatic movement of the 1960s and 1970s, often as distinct from the Pentecostal movement (usually dated from 1906). More casually, and inaccurately, the word is sometimes used to describe churches with a contemporary and expressive form of worship, so that a church could seem “charismatic” for having a band on the stage and extended times of singing, raised hands and dancing, even if most of the charismata never made an appearance. More often, charismatic is a bucket term for any contemporary church that emphasizes the reality of supernatural experiences and the availability of the New Testament gifts of the Holy Spirit to ordinary believers today: speaking in other languages, prophecy, healing, miracles, and so on. In its broadest sense, it can also connote a particular type of experiential, pietist, or mystical Christianity, in which personal and deeply emotional encounters with God occur, and a clear and direct sense of God’s presence and communication is felt by the worshiper. Given this diversity, it is probably worth specifying that I have the last two of these meanings in mind (use of the gifts and experientialism), rather than the first two (emerging from the 1970s, and contemporary in style). Whatever our denominational origins, to be charismatic is to expect spiritual experience, pursue and use the charismata, live and pray as if angels and demons are real, and express worship to God with all the joy and exuberance of a Hallel psalmist.
To be Eucharismatic, then, is to hold to the hope that it is possible to have one’s ecclesiological cake and eat it. There is no reason, beyond a series of historical accidents, why there cannot be churches in which set prayers are followed by spontaneous prophecies, and the “altar call” summons people to the Communion Table, and the rhythmic recital of the Nicene Creed builds into an explosion of musical celebration, with dancing in the aisles and angels in the architecture. That is the vision that I am trying to cast in this book, and I am convinced—and hope to convince you—that the pursuit of it will make our worship richer, our churches deeper, and our joy greater.
You can find out more at spiritandsacrament.com.
Posted by Andrew Wilson
7th February 2019
Several months ago, I walked into the kitchen and suggested to Deb we do something different for Valentine’s Day this year: ‘How about going to Mexico?’ I said. Now, I must confess Deb knew we were planning to go to Mexico and the USA early in 2019, but as I’d been looking at possible dates, I’d realised we would need to leave on February 14th. The obvious answer was to present the trip itself as a Valentine’s date – I always like to find a win/win in any situation!
Despite leaving on Valentine’s Day, we are very much looking forward to our two-week visit to Mexico and the USA, when we will have the privilege of spending time with friends from within our Newfrontiers apostolic fellowship. We begin with a long weekend visiting Lee and Stacey Yarborough in Léon, Mexico. I last visited this nation twenty years ago, when I was fortunate enough to travel with Terry Virgo. Deb is also looking forward to visiting again. She has family in Mexico City and last went there when she was seventeen (so also about twenty years ago!).
From Mexico, we fly to California to visit Travis Aicklen at Radiant Church, Visalia. This is a growing church and we will spend a day with their leaders before flying on to Missouri to be with Bryan Mowrey and his wife Rachel. Bryan leads Jubilee Church in St Louis as well as the Confluence family of churches, who are part of the Newfrontiers apostolic fellowship. Bryan and Rachel are good friends of ours, and we are looking forward to spending time with their local church and apostolic team. While we are there, I will be speaking at a three-day conference involving about 30 church leadership teams. We also hope to catch up with John and Linda Lanferman.
This trip is part of the outworking of King’s call to be a resource to many other churches. Please pray that Deb and I will be a great encouragement to the people we visit.
So, I don’t know what your plans are for Valentine’s Day, but I now need to find a table for two at Terminal Three in Heathrow.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
31st January 2019
Many of you will have heard my testimony of how I became a Christian, especially if you have been at King’s for a while. Although I was brought up in a Christian home, I did not commit my life to Jesus until I was nineteen. I had attended church for most of my life, having been taken along by my parents, but it wasn’t until the sudden death of a friend of mine in a motorbike accident that I looked seriously at the claims of Jesus. I remember being at my friend’s funeral service and telling God that I’d take six months to examine the Gospel! Not long after that I gave my life to Christ and have never looked back.
From the moment I became a Christian I have wanted to tell others about the Good News of Jesus. My life was transformed overnight and I had no hesitation telling people why I had changed. Before going full-time, I witnessed to my work colleagues and ran Just Looking groups. As a young youth pastor, I once stood on a table in the middle of a crowded pub and started telling the room about Jesus – I was keen, but not always that wise when it came to the best way of communicating my faith to unbelievers! Since I came to lead King’s over twenty years ago, we have run the Alpha course each term and have seen many people come to faith through it.
Reaching people with the Gospel is central to the Christian life and that is why it’s a key part of King’s Vision 2030: to Reach, Restore and Resource. But if we are honest, many of us find sharing our faith difficult and are not too sure how to go about it. In our new series starting this Sunday, we will learn how to REACH others by looking at the best example we could possibly learn from: Jesus. Over the eight-weeks of the series, we will examine the different approaches Jesus took and see how we can apply them to our own lives.
To make the most of the series we are encouraging everyone at King’s to do the following:
• Be at church each week – it’s only eight weeks!
• Be part of a group – a great place to make friends and discuss the topics together.
• Engage daily – buy the REACH devotional workbook (just £3.50 and available at all sites on Sundays or online). This is a great way to think more deeply about the topics raised in the series during our personal prayer times.
I am very excited about this new series and believe it will empower and equip us to ‘Go and Tell’ others the Good News of Jesus. There are thousands in our community who do not yet know Him. Though only God can transform someone’s life, we can all help to plant seeds.
Our new Reach series starts this Sunday, 3rd February, at all sites.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
24th January 2019
Deb and I first visited Zimbabwe in 2012, just as the country was becoming more stable following the currency crisis of 2008. Since then we have returned each year, including once with our three sons, our last holiday with just the three of them before our eldest son, Ben, married the lovely Alice.
Our last three trips to Zimbabwe have not been without incident. While we were there three years ago, one of the River of Life elders was arrested and placed in prison. We had gathered in the evening for a leaders’ meeting, when he arrived at the house having just been released quite unexpectedly. It really was like a scene from the book of Acts! Two years ago, we flew in as ‘the coup that wasn’t a coup’ unfolded. We witnessed people’s joy at being able to demonstrate peacefully and their very real hope for change. We were there again in November, just three months ago, and found the believers in good heart despite signs of hyperinflation, food shortages, and the possibility of economic collapse looming once again.
In the last couple of weeks, the situation in Zimbabwe has taken another worrying turn. The government increased the price of fuel by 150% overnight, meaning Zimbabwe now has the most expensive fuel in the world. This resulted in civil protest and a subsequent harsh crackdown from government authorities. Communication from Zimbabwe was hampered by the government shutting down the internet for some time. As the western media has been waking up to the deteriorating situation, we ask you to pray for our friends in Zimbabwe, the church, the government and the nation.
I have been in regular contact with Scott Marques, our dear friend and the leader of River of Life Church in Harare. He has asked us to pray along these lines:
- Pray for our Government and all those in authority that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness.
- Pray for Christians in all sectors of society to be salt and light, with Christ’s love and faith outworked in all they do.
- Pray for the individuals, families, businesses, schools and many communities suffering injury through beatings, shootings, looting and other forms of violence at this time.
We are still planning for Scott to be with us in the first week of March when he is due to speak at King’s on Sunday 10th March.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
Steve Tibbert leads King’s Church London, with sites in Catford, Downham, Lee and Beckenham. 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.