12th July 2018
'You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.'
1 Peter 2:9
It was a sunny day. I was at a church BBQ and I paused for a moment to look around at the people who were there. I saw children running around and bouncing up and down on a trampoline, teenagers sharing jokes and talking with adults, and people engaged in conversations whilst eating burgers and hot dogs. I saw a diversity of ages, ethnicities and backgrounds coming together and enjoying one another’s company. This made me smile. This was a community of people coming together to build friendships, have fun and of course, eat lots of food! But as I paused, I also started to dream about the impact this community could have on those who were not there.
While our culture may place a high value on independence and individualism, the truth is that Christians need one another to carry out the mission of God. A foundational truth is that God never intended anyone to have a solitary faith. In fact, someone once said, 'A solitary faith is not a Christian faith.' The truth is that God has called believers to live out their faith together in community. This is great news as we all desire, to some extent or another, to be known in community, and to have friendships with people we trust and enjoy. However, there is a danger in seeing community and friendships as an end.
If we view community and friendships as the goal, we will find it very difficult to welcome new people and integrate them into our existing friendship circles. Rather than being an end, community is the necessary context for mission. The challenge is for Christians in community to encourage and embrace the benefits of being in community and then, rather than keep it for themselves, extend those benefits to others – those outside the community.
This reflects what we see in Scripture with Jesus and His disciples (Luke 10) as well as the early church (Acts 2:42-48). In Luke 10, Jesus sends his disciples out to share with others what they themselves have received. The relationship between community and mission also extends throughout the book of Acts, where we see the disciples living in authentic community and 'the Lord added daily to their number those who were being saved.' (Acts 2:47)
Christian community, rather than being an end, exists for mission. After all, we are a chosen people that we may declare, or share, the good news that Jesus has brought us out of darkness and into light (1 Peter 2:9).
The BBQ that I mentioned at the beginning, was for people who are interested in coming to the new fourth site of King’s. We are launching in Beckenham, at Harris Academy, on Sunday 7th October. Before then, we have a prayer meeting TONIGHT, Thursday 12th July, at Harris Academy Beckenham from 7.45-9.30pm. You are invited and very welcome to attend to pray for King’s and the launch of the new site.
My prayer is that we would continue to be a community on mission. A community of people who not only know one another and are known, but a community of people who are on mission to reach and serve many people with the good news of Jesus Christ.
Charles Kimbangi oversees UNITED, our ministry for young adults (17+ and anyone in their 20s & 30s). He will be leading our new, fourth site which launches in Autumn 2018. He is married to Amy.
Steve Tibbert is on sabbatical and will return in September.
Posted by Charles Kimbangi
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.