24th October 2019
We returned yesterday from an excellent couple of days away with The Richmond Group. This is an annual gathering of leaders from some of the movements, networks and larger churches in the UK, hosted by Nicky Gumbel from HTB and Pastor Agu from Jesus House.
One of the highlights was a helpful discussion around the issue of diversity. As part of the programme, Nicky interviewed Ben Lindsay who recently published We Need to Talk about Race, about the black experience in white majority churches. He spoke with much grace, courage and honesty on this important subject. I have known Ben for many years, as he was saved on an Alpha course at King’s, and I recommend his book to you.
Building a diverse church is a high value of King’s. We have learnt a huge amount over the last couple of decades (and made many mistakes along the way!) as the church has become increasingly diverse, but there is always more to learn. If you are new to the church or interested in finding out more, I encourage you to take a look at Invited, our most recent teaching series on diversity.
The Richmond Group meets at Lambeth Palace, which sits on the Thames opposite the Houses of Parliament. We were highly conscious of the important political debates taking place across the river as we were meeting, and our time together concluded with a powerful time praying and calling out to God for our nation. As our politicians continue to be as divided as ever as to what should happen next regarding the UK’s future with the EU, it was good to finish with a reminder that we put our trust in a God far mightier and more powerful than any one politician or political ideology.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
1st August 2019
A highlight of this last week was a visit to Newday on Tuesday. Newday is a fantastic event which each year sees thousands of young people from across the wider Newfrontiers family come together for a week of worship, teaching, fun and fellowship. Deb and I have been unable to go along the last couple of years, so it was great to be back and have the chance to drop in and see everyone on the King’s site. There was a wonderful atmosphere among our young people (over 100 of them from across the four sites!) and the brilliant team of servers looking after them. In the evening the King’s band and choir led the worship—a very proud moment.
While at Newday, I bumped into Ben Lindsay, who has just published his first book, We Need to Talk About Race. Ben leads a church in London but was saved at King’s many years ago, and we have kept in touch since then. I highly recommend his book, which will increase your awareness of the issues around race (particularly in the context of church), challenge you, and make you think more deeply about this important subject.
The school holidays in July and August mark a slightly different pace in church life, with fewer evening meetings. It means Deb and I have more opportunities than usual to catch up with friends, and over the next few weeks we are looking forward to some meals out with good friends from King’s and the wider Newfrontiers family. I will also be spending an evening at Lord’s watching 20/20 cricket with David Stroud, which should be very enjoyable.
On Sunday I am looking forward to preaching out of Psalm 1 as we start our summer series at King’s.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
30th May 2019
‘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 before the Lamb.’
I am looking forward to speaking out of Revelation this Sunday at King’s. It is also Diversity Sunday which is always a highlight in our church calendar for me. As usual, we are encouraging everyone to come in national dress or, if you do not have one, to dress smartly or in the colours of your nation’s flag. I will wear my suit—a rare event!
Cultural diversity is a feature of the New Testament church and a high value of King’s—we are a church made up of people from many different cultures, nations and backgrounds. In 2017, our Invited teaching series focussed on this important issue, and you will find some helpful resources from that series on our website. As we approach Diversity Sunday, I thought I would post a video interview Charles and I did at the beginning of the series.
I love being part of a church that is so diverse. I love meeting people from different cultures whose background, life experience and outlook may be very unlike my own. As I was reading the passage above in preparation for my message, I reflected what an appropriate verse it is for Diversity Sunday. Revelation paints a picture of heaven where 'a great multitude that no one could count from every nation, tribe, people and language' will be joined in worshipping Jesus. As we come together at King's this Sunday, let's take this opportunity to celebrate and appreciate our cultural differences and our unity in Christ. I look forward to seeing you there.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
18th October 2018
At the Newfrontiers Global 18 event last week, we once again gathered leaders from around the world. People travelled from Asia, North and Central America, Africa and Europe, representing hundreds of churches. As I looked around the room at our first meeting, I was reminded of the final verse of Lex Loizides’ brilliant worship song, Be Still and Know that I am God, which some of you may remember:
Be still and know that I am God;
My Son has asked me for
The nations of the world.
His sprinkled blood has made a way
For all the multitudes of India and Africa to come;
The Middle East will find its peace
Through Jesus Christ My Son.
From London down to Cape Town,
From L.A. to Beijing,
My Son shall reign the undisputed King!
The 80 or so people at Global 18 came from many nations, cultures and ethnic backgrounds; although much of the conference was conducted in English, we had Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian, Hindi and Bulgarian speakers in the room, to name just a few. I am always amazed by those who are fluent in more than one language – I struggle with English! It was another learning experience on how cultures can work together. We may live in very different countries and have diverse life experiences, but we are united in Christ and in our desire to see Kingdom extension around the world.
This week I had the privilege of speaking at a seminar for church leaders with my dear friend Tope Koleoso, Senior Pastor of Jubilee Church in Enfield. We spoke on the subject of diversity and cross-cultural awareness. Increasingly it seems that almost every leadership situation I am in involves a cross-cultural element. I have led a racially diverse church for more than twenty years, but I am constantly aware of how much I still need to learn.
One way we can learn is through reading, and I have recently come across a couple of books which I would love to recommend. The first is Global Humility by Andy McCullough. Andy is a church planter who was born and grew up in Cyprus and has lived in the Middle East as well as the UK. His insights into working cross-culturally are challenging, helpful and provocative. The second book is Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall. This is a well-written, very accessible book which gives an overview of modern global politics – very helpful for any of us wanting to broaden our understanding of the world we feel called to reach. Do also have a look at Andrew Wilson’s recent guest blog listing his Top Ten Resources on Diversity.
In more than two decades of leading a diverse church, I have found that one of the best ways we can learn is by building friendships, spending time and sharing meals with people from different cultures. In the last two weeks at King’s I have visited two Nigerian families in their home. Food was provided and I enjoyed their hospitality - in the past I might have been very ‘British’ and declined, but I am learning! Then on Sunday Deb and I were delighted to accept an invitation from a lovely Indian couple at King’s to have a meal together in a couple of weeks’ time. Another rich learning experience to look forward to.
In Global Humility, Andy McCullough urges us to ‘travel to learn, not just to teach’. We may not feel called to move to another country, as Andy and his family did, but many of us live in increasingly diverse cities and towns – we do not need to travel to meet people from a different cultural or ethnic background to our own! Let’s continue to reach out and build bridges, to listen and learn.
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.