6th August 2020
“Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Tim 4:16, ESV)
During the past few months, I have been ‘keeping a close watch’ on... my garden! I am by no means a ‘gardener’. Gardening to me extends to having a perfectly mowed lawn and having a few plants growing in pots. But each morning, I have found myself looking over the garden and ‘keeping a close watch’ on how the lawn is doing and how our rhododendron is growing, giving it a bit of care and attention when needed!
Reflecting on Paul’s words to Timothy and my keen interest in my garden, I’ve developed a better understanding of what Paul was getting at. During this pandemic, I’ve had to ‘keep a close watch’ on myself. This has meant spending time with God in prayer, Bible study and meditation, asking him to convict me of my sin, create in me a pure heart and give me a renewed spirit which helps me to live for Him (Psalm 51:1-10). This has also meant setting time aside to reflect on what God is teaching me during this season. Here are eight brief things that I have learnt:
1. Don’t lose sight of mission
The mission of the church has never changed. We are called to ‘go and make disciples of all nations’ (Matt 28:19) and be witnesses throughout the whole earth (Acts 1:8). Our Alpha courses during this season have been a huge success, with over 150 people exploring faith through the course. We are running a new course, which started on the 6th August, which you can still sign up for or invite friends to, and another course will be starting in September. We should never neglect our ongoing personal witness to our family, friends, neighbours and work colleagues.
2. Don’t lose sight of what it means to be a disciple
Being a disciple means being a follower of the way of Jesus in every area of our lives. This is far reaching, and includes - but is not limited to - the way we spend our time, money and other resources, how we think about social justice, our attitudes towards the poor and vulnerable, how we treat others and how we think about sex and relationships. The call to discipleship is a call to put to death selfish desires, to consider everyone else as more important than yourself, and to live a life of humble service.
3. We need each other
Human beings flourish when in loving community. During this season we have missed the physical presence of others and this has revealed again the importance of humans living in community. Let’s not neglect the calls to ‘build up’, ‘bear with’, ‘speak truth’, ‘comfort’, ‘stir up’ one another that are seen throughout the New Testament letters. If you aren’t in a group, take a step and sign up to a group.
4. A quiet life is ok - it's even encouraged in scripture!
1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 is not quoted very much but is worthy of reflection, particularly in our fast-paced, noisy, entertainment culture. Paul’s exhortation is to ‘make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.’ This is not an invitation to be lazy and just care about yourself – as he makes clear in the context. However, he seems to be teaching that a faithful life of working hard, providing for your family, and caring for the body of Christ is a life well lived.
I heard someone say recently, “sometimes quiet faithfulness is the most revolutionary thing we can do”. Now that’s worthy of reflection.
5. Excessive technology use is detrimental to human relationships and connection
Sherry Turkle, in her excellent book, “Alone Together” explores this in more detail and explains how humans have ended up expecting more from technology and less from each other. Research has shown that excessive technology use means we are less able to show empathy, less able to listen to one another, and less able to care for other human beings.
After reading her book, I decided to turn off my phone for 24 hours each week! It’s been challenging but actually very rewarding.
6. Regular exercise helps my mental, spiritual, and emotional health
A few weeks into lockdown, I was really struggling. I felt down, anxious, and frustrated. I realised that I had got out of my usual routine of taking regular exercise and this was having a detrimental impact on my well-being. This bit of learning has been critical to my well-being over the last few months. I have started a regular routine of running & cycling which has enabled me to feel better, but it has also been a worshipful experience. As I have got out into God’s creation, I have been able to experience and worship Him in new ways which have been good for my soul.
7. We need to talk about race
We have needed to talk about race for centuries. However, the recent murders of George Floyd and others, have exposed the need again to talk about race. This needs to be an ongoing conversation if we are to be the united and diverse church that God has called us to be. We need to be ‘quick to listen, slow to speak’ and show lots of grace to one another. But ongoing dialogue will help to bring to light the sin that exists in every human heart, and with God’s help we can bring about the change that will glorify God.
8. The work of God is to believe in the one he sent
It can be easy to feel inadequate and unproductive, particularly during this unprecedented pandemic. However, I praise God that the gospel is one of grace and not works.
When a crowd ask Jesus in John 6:28, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent”.
Fundamentally, God calls us to a life of faith. Don’t find your identity in good works, but find your identity in being a loved child of God.
We tend to ‘keep a close watch’ on many other things (including gardens), but let’s not neglect to ‘keep a close watch’ over ourselves.
Charles Kimbangi is a pastor at King's and leads the Beckenham site. He is married to Amy.
Posted by Charles Kimbangi
30th July 2020
Please take a look at the Leadership page on the King’s website, which we have recently updated. It summarises the three key leadership teams of King’s: Elders, Trustees and the Senior Leadership Team. These three teams work closely together to bring oversight, governance and direction to the church.
Our team of Elders, which I lead, meet monthly. We usually concentrate on just two or three major directional, doctrinal issues in the course of a year. Our last two meetings have been predominantly given over to our response as a church to the issue of race and justice.
Our team of Trustees is led by Simon Linley, and also meets monthly. The Trustees are responsible for all financial, legal and employment issues, and they set the parameters for delegated authority to our staff team. I attend this meeting and give a monthly report on key areas of church life.
Our Senior Leadership Team, which I also lead, meets once a week on a Tuesday morning. The focus of this team is to serve the church in implementing our vision and mission. We work closely with our superb, hardworking pastoral and operational staff members.
Finally, we have outside accountability and oversight in place. From our wider Newfrontiers family, David Devenish provides an objective voice and apostolic oversight into our community. We also have other people speaking regularly into the life of King's. For example, Steve and Cindy Nicolson from Evanston Vineyard in Chicago, are trusted friends who have visited King’s many times and have served us over many years.
We highly value your prayers for all those in leadership at King's as we seek to serve God – for His glory and for the advancement of His Kingdom.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
23rd July 2020
It’s great to have Deb back with me for this week’s video blog. Today, we talk a little more about our summer theme of Gather, Prepare, Pray.
Let’s take advantage of the relaxation of some of the lockdown restrictions and arrange to meet up with people from our group or ministry team, or with another household. And although we are not meeting in our buildings for the time being, we are using this time to prepare for when we do, so please help us in that by responding to the survey we’ll be sending out in September. And let’s continue to pray, in our personal prayer times, with our groups, and at the site prayer meetings coming soon.
‘And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.’ – Ephesians 6:18
Posted by Steve Tibbert
9th July 2020
In my recent message on Racism, the Gospel and the Church, I encouraged all of us to keep educating ourselves on this vitally important issue. I have therefore asked our Teaching Pastor, Andrew Wilson, to update his list of recommended resources on the subject, which he first posted a couple of years ago. There is a great deal of excellent material available, and it can be difficult to know where to start, so thank you Andrew for this helpful list:
1. Christian Smith and Michael Emerson, Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America. This is the first book I read when I was trying to learn about this subject, and although set firmly in an American context I found it enormously helpful.
2. Duke Kwon’s message at LDR on Speaking the Truth in Love. One of the best messages on anything I have ever heard, from a hugely thoughtful Korean-American who has written and spoken a good deal on issues of race.
3. David Anderson’s books Gracism and Letters Across the Divide. David was the inspiration for our Gracism series a few years ago, and he has written some really good books on the subject, as well as being a great help to us as a church.
4. George Yancey’s message on Moving Beyond Racial Gridlock. Particularly significant in the current moment, Professor Yancey’s seminar provides an excellent analysis of both the problem, and the solutions the Gospel provides.
5. Ben Lindsay, We Need To Talk About Race. Ben is a friend of ours, having been a member at King’s a few years back, and he has lived his whole life in southeast London. Here he writes about the black experience in white majority churches, and his insights will instruct and resonate with many of us.
6. Martin Meredith, The Fortunes of Africa. A rather different sort of book, which gives a pacy and readable history of Africa, and puts the continent in context for us. This is probably the longest book on the list, but it’s an absolutely excellent read.
7. Thabiti Anyabwile’s Top Ten Tips for Talking About Race. Thabiti is a pastor in Anacostia, Washington DC, and he may be the spokesperson from whom I’ve learned the most on race over the last few years, through his writings and speaking ministry. Here he gives a brief summary aimed primarily at white people.
8. The messages from the MLK50 conference, in April 2018, are free to watch online and outstanding, especially those by Jackie Hill Perry and Charlie Dates.
9. Shai Linne, George Floyd and Me. Of the many articles written since the tragic murder of George Floyd, this is the best I have seen: raw, honest and yet hopeful.
10. For those who find it easier to engage through movies and documentaries, there are lots of excellent ones available (often for free) on the major streaming services at the moment, including Ava DuVernay’s 13th, David Olusoga’s Black and British, Ezra Edelman’s OJ: Made in America, Stella Corradi’s Sitting in Limbo and James Baldwin’s I Am Not Your Negro.
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.