25th February 2021
It’s hard to believe, but this time last year Deb and I were seven days into a three-week trip to southern Africa, visiting churches in Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. We had left the UK aware that Covid was starting to spread around the world but not imagining how much it would shortly change life for us all. On arrival in Zambia and Zimbabwe we had our temperatures checked and were asked if we had any symptoms, but none of the measures which we have now become used to were yet in place. We therefore enjoyed visiting churches, meeting with groups of leaders and sharing meals together, with little idea that such freedom would be impossible very soon. Who knows when we will be able to visit again?
With Joseph and Lily Mwila and the church in Kitwe, Zambia.
Deb and I had entered 2020 with a number of overseas trips planned, starting with the trip to southern Africa. Sadly, the global pandemic meant we had to cancel visits to Newfrontiers churches in Armenia, India and Russia. We were also due to travel to Cyprus last October for the Newfrontiers Global leadership conference, when the transition of the leadership of Newfrontiers from David Devenish to me would be marked. Of course, an in-person conference gathering people from all around the world became impossible, and so we decided to host it online. I am very proud of our King’s Comms Team, who pulled off a remarkable three-day online event last October, with over 70 nations joining us for the transition moment.
Taking on the leadership of Newfrontiers has obviously been a significant increase in responsibility for me, and I had never imagined I’d be doing so in the middle of a global pandemic! However, I am grateful for the technology which has enabled us to stay connected with people around the world. Just recently, Deb and I, together with David and Scilla Devenish, were able to ‘Zoom in’ and bring greetings to a gathering of Russian church leaders. I was also able to record a message for them on ‘grace-filled families’, which they’d watched just before we appeared live on screen. Hopefully, we’ll be able to be there in person for their next conference.
Following the success of the online Global conference, things were relatively quiet on the Newfrontiers front for the rest of 2020, partly because I was recovering from an operation. However, they are now picking up pace, and I can see we will soon need to decide whether to host this year’s Global conference in Cyprus or online. Whatever happens, I remain certain that God’s church continues to be active around the globe. Please do pray for our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world, many of whom are facing significant challenges brought about by the pandemic and other factors. You can find all the latest news from the different spheres within our fellowship on the Newfrontiers website.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
11th February 2021
‘After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no-one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the lamb.’ Rev 7:9
King’s Church London has always been a diverse community – in age, class, and in cultural and racial heritage. This reflects our local community, and if you live in this part of south east London you will see the same diversity just about everywhere you go. Heaven will be like this, made up of ‘every nation, tribe, people and language’. If you look at our mission field and consider our eternal destination, then the local church should connect the present to the future.
Building a truly diverse church, one in which every person feels they belong, is not without challenge. In June last year I outlined our response to the awful murder of George Floyd, calling us to continue our journey of becoming an ‘Ephesians 2’ church (‘For he himself is our peace, who has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…’ ). These themes of missional relevance and heavenly perspective, rooted in biblical revelation and local church experience, are not new to us. Most recently, our 2017 INVITED series encouraged us to take intentional steps towards being a diverse church and to keep building relationships with those who are different to us. But the shocking events of last June served to highlight a truth which we already knew – that racial prejudice and its resulting injustice continues to be seen in our society, and that all too often, it remains unrecognised and unchallenged by those with the power to change things. The events of last June challenged us as a leadership to consider what more we need to do as King’s continues to address the important issues of race and justice. Here is a brief summary of some the recent steps we have taken so far:
• We addressed the subject directly on two occasions in our autumn preaching programme. I highly recommend listening again to the messages brought by our Teaching Pastor, Andrew Wilson, and by our friend Tope Koleoso, pastor of Jubilee Church, Enfield.
• We have profiled Ben Lindsay’s book, We Need to Talk About Race, and encouraged people to read it. This is an insightful and challenging book about the black experience in white majority churches. Last term, many of our staff took part in a weekly group to read and discuss the book together.
• We appointed Kwaku Osafo and Roberta Walker as new trustees at King’s.
• All our staff are attending unconscious bias training.
• We have held three separate consultation groups with members of King’s.
• Our elders have discussed the issues raised at length, including reflecting on such things as worship style, language, representation at all leadership levels, to name a few. These discussions are ongoing.
• We are planning another longer teaching series focussing on the issue of diversity and challenging us again to be an Ephesians 2 church.
• I would also value your prayers as I, together with some key staff members from King’s, advise, coach and talk with other UK churches as they grapple with this important area of ministry.
We are taking steps, but we know we have a long way to go. As we continue on this journey, I encourage us all to keep playing our part in building an Ephesians 2 church.
Please note there will be no blog next week as I will be taking a week's holiday.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
4th February 2021
As a part of King's Vision Sunday last October, we set a target of £2 million for this financial year (Sept 2020 to August 2021).
It is not always easy to talk about money in our culture as it tends to be seen as something that is intensely private. Yet it is an area of our lives which God cares about deeply – how we steward our money is an important part of discipleship. Nearly 25% of Jesus’ words in the New Testament deal with biblical stewardship; one out of ten verses in the Gospels deals with money. In his first letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul offers some advice about giving:
On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.
1 Corinthians 16:2
In these verses, Paul is setting out three important principles regarding giving:
1. Our giving should be regular (‘On the first day of every week’)
2. Giving involves us all (‘each one’)
3. How much we give should be in accordance with what we earn (‘a sum of money in keeping with your income’)
Over the last 25 years I have had the privilege of leading a very generous church, and I have taught regularly on the subject of giving. I believe a good starting point is to give 10%, save 10%, live off 80%. Or, as John Wesley famously said, ‘Earn all you can, give all you can, save all you can.’ If you would like to understand more about King’s philosophy of giving, please have a look at this interview I did with Charles, our Beckenham Site Leader, a few years ago.
So far this year, we are making good progress towards meeting our target of £2 million. Five months into the church financial year we have given £828,000. This is an encouraging start, particularly in the current economic climate, although we are a little behind where we would like to be at this time of year.
Lastly, a reminder that through our Love Your Neighbour initiative, we are working alongside local Christians Against Poverty (CAP) services to offer money and debt advice. They run an excellent four-week course which covers subjects such as managing and getting out of debt and setting a budget. Take a look at the short video below or go to our Love Your Neighbour page if you’d like to know more.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
28th January 2021
In my Vision Sunday talk last October, I shared the exciting news that we had secured some match funding from the government as a part of Holy Trinity Brompton’s Love Your Neighbour (LYN) initiative, set up to support people who are struggling because of the Covid crisis. This week, I thought I’d take the opportunity to update you on how it’s going.
Well, I am happy to tell you that our Love Your Neighbour partnership is up and running and going well! The extra funding we have received, together with the ongoing generosity of the King’s family, means we have been able to greatly expand our food provision through The Feast and Big Red Box. As well as this, we are now also offering employment support and debt advice as part of LYN.
The Feast has been running at King’s for over twenty years and is part of our Jericho Road Project. Until the Covid crisis hit last year, it offered a hot sit-down meal, friendship and support to around 100 of the most vulnerable in our community, every Wednesday evening. When lockdown was imposed, this was no longer possible and so The Feast transformed to a delivery service. At its height, the amazing team were preparing and delivering over 400 hot meals every week, mainly to those who were unable to cook for themselves or did not have the facilities to do so. It was great to hear from Simon Allen, who leads the Jericho Road Project, that we have been able to reduce that number in the last few months, as people find they are no longer in need of the help or are better served with a weekly delivery of groceries through our Big Red Box project. Currently, they are sending out hot meals each Wednesday and Sunday, totalling about 260 meals per week.
On Sunday afternoon, Deb and I took the opportunity to visit The Feast, which operates out of our Catford building. After meeting the team serving that day and seeing some of what they do, we went out as part of the delivery service and dropped off a hot meal and other essential items to three of our contacts. We were so impressed with the whole operation and all the volunteers involved – the cooks, washer uppers, packers, delivery drivers, and behind the scenes, some excellent administrators; it’s quite a project to get all the different elements coordinated and running so smoothly.
Through LYN we have also expanded our Big Red Box food hamper project, which we have been running each Christmas for many years, so that it now runs every week. We are currently sending out over 100 boxes a week to families and individuals referred to us directly, or through schools, Social Services and local charities.
I’m also very glad to tell you that we are working alongside local Christians Against Poverty (CAP) services to offer money and debt advice. This is such an important subject, and one many of us shy away from, but this is an excellent course which has proved extremely helpful to those who have done it. The first (four-week) CAP Money Course started this week and is already full, but we have a new course starting on Wednesday 24th February, and there will be other courses running through the year. Please take a look at the short video below to find out more:
The Covid Crisis is having a dramatic impact on our economy, and sadly many people are finding themselves without a job. When faced with unemployment, it is often difficult to know where to turn, which is why I am thrilled that we are now running an Employment Plus service in partnership with the Salvation Army in Catford.
REFERRALS & VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
You can make a referral for yourself or someone you know to any part of our LYN project – food provision, money and debt advice, or employment support – using this referral form, and someone will be in contact with you.
Lastly, none of this could happen without the support of our fantastic volunteers, but we are always looking for more. (In fact, Deb and I have just joined a Big Red Box packing team, something we really enjoy doing.) The LYN team are in particular need of delivery drivers on various days, and Employment Plus volunteers who can help on Friday mornings. If you are interested in helping in either of these or in any other area, please email email@example.com.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
Steve Tibbert leads King’s Church London, with sites in Catford, Downham, Lee and Beckenham. The church has seen continued growth since the mid-1990s, both in terms of size and diversity.
As well as leading King’s, Steve hosts and leads Newfrontiers, a fellowship of apostolic leaders with hundreds of churches around the world.
Steve is married to Deb. They have three grown up sons and one grandson.