8th February 2018
Just over 23 years ago, Deb and I were seeking God about our future and felt called to London, our great capital city. It was a big move for us – our son Ben was three and Josh just six months, and it meant leaving the support of our families and long-term friends. But we felt certain God had spoken. In 1995, we moved from our provincial hometown of Bedford, with a population of 100,000, to the sprawling city of London, home to millions.
We ended up in Catford in the south-east borough of Lewisham, but we were always called to London. A few years after arriving at King’s, I started to serve as the Newfrontiers London team leader, a role I carried out for ten years. During that time we planted ten new churches in various parts of the city. At the same time, we began to see substantial growth in a number of the established churches, including my own.
Roll on some twenty years from when we first arrived, and how times have changed! Last Thursday, with Dave Holden’s encouragement, I hosted a gathering of the London leaders still partnering in the new era of the Newfrontiers wider family. We met at Westminster Chapel, right in the heart of the city. One after another people shared reports of growth, salvation, new sites and new churches. This was mixed with vision to see the city reached for the Gospel, with dreams of tens of churches and new sites planned in the coming years. When we arrived in London more than two decades ago, the largest Newfrontiers church gathered 300 people on a Sunday. On Thursday we heard that Tope’s church is regularly gathering over 2000 and there are many others of over 500 now. So many signs of life and health! If you have not already done so, I recommend reading Andrew Wilson’s review, which summarises the morning very well.
In my years as a leader, I have learned that past performance is often the best indicator of future performance. Well, if what we have seen happening in the different London churches over the last two decades is anything to go by, then the next twenty years promise to be exciting and fruitful. As I said at the end of Thursday morning, I believe the best is yet to come.
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.