2nd February 2017
One of the most memorable afternoons in my first year at King’s, was when I sat at the hospital bedside of one of our older members and attempted to talk with him about the prospect of dying. I felt my youth and inexperience – this was not something I had done before, and this gentleman was one of the faithful saints at King’s who had served the church for many years. He began telling me about his life as a young soldier during the Second World War, and how he had made his peace with God as he prepared to cross the Channel, knowing that he may not return. It was a moving and powerful story, and I began to understand how his experiences all those decades ago had helped shape the man he had become.
There is such power in a story. A famous quote from Harper Lee’s 'To Kill a Mockingbird' says that, ‘You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.’ Hearing someone’s story enables us to do just that – to take time to stand in their shoes and see things from their perspective. We cannot really know a person or understand them until we have heard their experiences.
This Sunday we begin our important new series on diversity, called INVITED. As part of this series we will be hearing testimonies from different church members, as they share their individual histories and experiences of diversity. You can read Cindy's story below.
During the series, we want to encourage you to share your own stories, and also to take the time to listen to others as they share theirs. One of the ways we can do that is by joining a group – it is not too late to sign up for one. If you have not already done so, let me encourage you also to buy a copy of the booklet accompanying the series, which has daily devotionals and prayer points. Books are available for £3.50 from the Information Desk on Sunday.
I am excited about INVITED, but also aware of the challenges that discussing the issue of diversity can bring. For many in our community, this is an area that carries pain and hurt, and many of us still have a lot to learn. I believe that the church should reflect kingdom values, where all are equal and barriers are broken down. Let us enter this series with an openness to God’s Holy Spirit, a willingness to be challenged and a desire to understand others. I look forward to seeing you all there on Sunday, when I will be preaching and opening the series.
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.