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15th March 2018

River of Life and Visit from Scott Marques

It is great to welcome Andrew, Jacob and David, three of the full-time elders from River of Life Church in Harare, to King’s this week. Their visit is a further development in the ongoing partnership between our two churches. They are spending their time meeting up with King’s staff members, the eldership and the Zimbabwe Partnership Team, before returning to Zimbabwe later this week. On Sunday, the guys will travel around our different Sunday meetings and sites. Do welcome them if you see them.

Two members of King’s, Fay Thompson and Yvonne Steel, have recently returned from a trip to Zimbabwe. While there, Fay and Yvonne, both former headteachers, led a conference for teachers involved in education projects linked to River of Life and other DNA churches – it is great to hear that this went extremely well. They also spent time in Harare talking with project leaders about more ways we can be involved in supporting education in the future. It is very exciting to be able to share resources and expertise in this way.

This is all excellent preparation for Scott Marques’ visit to us in April. On the morning of Saturday 14th April, Scott will be speaking on the subject of ‘Kingdom Investment’. As well as leading River of Life Church and the DNA family of churches, Scott is also a successful business entrepreneur and leader, running several farming businesses in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The morning seminar will be a great opportunity to hear his story and catch his passion for finding Kingdom opportunities in every area of our lives. There will be an interview with Scott, then a talk from him, followed by Q and A. This is definitely a date to put in your diary!

I am also thrilled to tell you that Scott will be preaching at all our meetings on Sunday 15th April.

Steve Tibbert

Posted by Steve Tibbert

8th March 2018

Seasons of Life

Last Friday marked the end of a season for me and Deb: our youngest son Sam had his final GCSE and so wore his school uniform for the last time ever! It felt like a milestone moment. For this family, Friday meant that after 20 years there will be no more uniform to wash or school shirts to iron – our three boys really are growing up and a significant season of our lives is drawing to a close.

Life never remains the same, especially if you have children. As the years pass, you move through different seasons, and each will bring its own opportunities and challenges. A number of years ago, I came across the writing of Gordon MacDonald, and I have found his observations on this subject extremely helpful. In his book A Resilient Life, he suggests that each decade of our lives raises different underlying questions and that ‘...knowing them helps us to deal with people sensitively, and gives us a better understanding of how to build a larger view of our own lives.’ The questions we ask ourselves in our 20s will vary greatly to those we ask in our 40s or 50s. Here is a sample of some of the key questions MacDonald suggests are raised as we move through the decades:

20s – What kind of a man or woman am I becoming? What will I do with my life?
30s – How do I prioritise the demands being made on my life?
40s – What can I do to make a greater contribution to my generation?
50s – Why is time moving so fast? How do I deal with my failures and successes?
60s – When do I stop doing the things that have always defined me? Do I have enough time to do all the things I’ve dreamed about in the past?
70s and 80s – Is there anything I can still contribute? Am I ready to face death?

Do any of these resonate with you? His book is well worth a read if you haven’t come across it before. It has helped me understand myself and others better. Knowing what season I am in, what lies ahead and the questions I am likely to be asking, enables me to anticipate and prepare for the opportunities and challenges that are coming, and to embrace each season I live through.

So what season are you in at the moment? It is worth some reflection.

This blog was first posted on June 23rd 2016. 

Steve Tibbert

Posted by Steve Tibbert

1st March 2018

Small Changes, Big Results

A few weeks ago I wrote about how making one small change – starting to walk 10,000 steps each day – has brought great benefits, not just to my physical health, but also to my spiritual and emotional health.

This week I thought I’d tell you about another recent change I have made to my weekly rhythm: since the beginning of the year I have moved my day off from Monday to Friday. Now, I realise this will come as shock to many of you who have been around Newfrontiers for a long time! For as long as I can remember, Monday has been the standard day off for pastors in our family of churches. You could almost view it as a core value: grace, church, word, spirit – and Monday off! And until recently, I had followed that model unquestioningly. It was helpful to have a day off to rest after Sunday, the busiest day of the week. And as most other pastors and church leaders I knew were also off that day, it made sense that I was too.

But in the last few years, having Monday off has gradually worked less well for me. As King’s grew and its leadership demands became increasingly complex, I found I was having to spend at least some time every Monday ensuring I was well prepared for all the meetings which take place on Tuesdays, many of which I would be leading. This did not always go down too well with Deb, my wife! And I must confess that if we went out for lunch on Monday, I was sometimes distracted as I checked emails and messages. I also found that being in the office on Friday was not always a productive time, since many of the other staff I might need to see were busy preparing for Sunday. Then last year we began recording each Sunday’s preach on the Thursday before. This meant that with the mix of live preaching and video that we operate at King’s, every service could hear the same preach on the same week. Until then we had run some meetings a week behind. Having to be ready to preach by Thursday rather than Sunday put more pressure on the beginning of the week.

So I decided to try moving my day off to Friday. Having run with this for three to four months now, I thought I’d let you know what I’ve found:

1. Your diary needs time to adjust. I tend to plan a long way ahead and, inevitably, I had several commitments booked for Fridays which it wasn’t possible to move. So for the first six weeks or so, I needed to be flexible with my day off.

2. I needed time to adjust. At first, working Monday and being off on Friday felt very strange. After all, I had been having Mondays off for over two decades!

3. My week has become far more productive. I can get far more done on a Monday than I ever could on a Friday.

4. I am far better prepared for the coming week – and less stressed as a result.

5. I am benefitting hugely from what has become a real ‘weekend’ experience. Having two days off together, Friday followed by Saturday (although I do work occasional Saturdays) means that I am more relaxed and rested by the time Sunday and the new week comes around than I ever was before.

6. My wife loves it! Deb has also rearranged her week to free up Fridays and she is appreciating having a husband who is less distracted by what may be coming up in the week ahead. We have had more days out together and overall it has been great for our marriage.

So I am converted. If you are in full-time Christian ministry, I encourage you to review your day off and make sure that your chosen day is still working for you.

And oh yes, for any of you wondering, I am still doing 10,000 steps a day. Only 66 days more and I will have completed a whole year!

Steve Tibbert

Posted by Steve Tibbert

22nd February 2018

Feeling the Pressure

Do you ever feel under pressure?

As 2018 began, I wrote a paper for the elders and senior leadership team of King’s called 100 Days and Vision 2030. It was an attempt to manage expectations and agree priorities as I plan for my sabbatical which starts at the end of May this year. The second part of the paper was about showing that we have years ahead of us to get to all we want to achieve together.

My experience of sabbaticals (my last one was eight years ago) has been extremely positive – at an emotional level they have been life changing. I have seen pastors go through burnout far too often, putting pressure on their families and leaving churches uncertain as to what the future holds. I am extremely grateful to the elders and trustees of King’s for the opportunity to stand back and recharge – physically, emotionally and spiritually.

However, one of the downsides of an approaching sabbatical is that people suddenly realise you are not going to be around for a while! They start bringing forward requests and suggestions, aware that if they don’t catch me soon, they will have to wait until my return in September. And I am having to identify those essential tasks, things which would normally wait until June or July, which require my attention before my sabbatical begins. One seemingly small item builds upon another, and before you know it, you can begin to feel overwhelmed.

So what can you do when you feel under pressure? Here are a few things which I find helpful when the demands are great but time is short:

1. Keep praying. It is tempting to cut prayer times short when we are very busy, but this can quickly lead to too much reliance on ourselves and not enough on God. It is hard to keep going if we are not being fuelled spiritually.

2. Do not compromise on boundaries. We may think that by working on days off, or cramming in just one more evening meeting, the pressure will ease. This is seldom the case and can increase the chances of burnout before we even arrive at the start of a break.

3. Prioritise your work. I have two lists at the moment, one of things I must get to before my sabbatical begins, and another of things that can wait until after I get back.

4. Manage expectations. It is important to communicate with team members what needs to take priority and what can be left for now.

5. Continually re-evaluate your priorities. These may need adjusting as circumstances change and new information comes in. I make adjustments all the time.

We all go through busy periods and times of pressure. If we are to keep going and not experience burnout, we need to find ways of managing these seasons, even if it means making some tough decisions.

Steve Tibbert

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.

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