20th September 2018
In 1995, I was 32 years old, living in Bedford and working as a youth pastor at what was then Brickhill Baptist Church. Deb and I had been married almost six years, had one young son and another on the way. We both clearly remember the evening I returned from a meeting and told her I believed God was calling us to move on from Bedford, our childhood home, to lead our own church.
With the help of Dave Holden, who had apostolic oversight of Brickhill, we began to seek God for where he was leading us. An opening at a church in Great Yarmouth was mentioned, and we also visited a fellowship in Worthing, but neither felt right. I then found myself in a meeting with Mark Landreth-Smith, a friend and fellow pastor. He brought the following prophetic word: “Sand, sand, sand; pebbles, pebbles, pebbles; pavement, pavement, pavement, PAVEMENT!” . To most of the people present, it must have sounded very strange, but it made perfect sense to me: For a while, I had felt an increasing call to move to London. Great Yarmouth has a sandy beach, Worthing, a pebble beach, and as all of us who live in London know, there is a lot of pavement in the city! Not long after that, Dave Holden connected us with a church in Catford, south east London, who had been without a leader for eighteen months. It soon became clear that London was to become our home.
We visited King’s Church in May 1995, and first impressions were made over lunch in Ron and Audrey Hopgood’s garden. We remember their warm welcome, excellent hospitality and how relaxed we quickly felt. After lunch we drove to the Catford building, which was very different in those days. Back then, you entered the offices through a side door, and I vividly recall the large crack in the brickwork above it. We walked through a dusty hall into a Portakabin at the rear of the building, where we met some of the leaders, a group of around ten, fantastic people. (It was only recently that David Misselbrook told me how impressed he was that I had rocked up in my shorts!) First impressions are important, and what made an impact on us was the faith and commitment of this group. The building was tired and run down, the church had been through some challenges, but they had not lost sight of God’s plan for King’s.
Deb and I moved to London in September 1995, a young couple with two small boys. We didn’t know what lay ahead of us, but we knew God had led us there. Fast forward 23 years to September 2018, and a lot has changed. It has been an exciting journey as we have seen King’s grow from a small fellowship of fewer than 200 people, to a church of 1600 on three sites, with our fourth launching at the beginning of next month.
We approach our annual Vision Sunday this weekend believing that God still has much more for us to do together. On this occasion, rather than looking just twelve months ahead, we will be setting a course for the next twelve years as we launch Vision 2030.
Today, I am reflecting on where the journey began for us, 23 years ago. I am very grateful to God for his faithfulness over the last couple of decades, but I am excited for what I believe is yet to come. I want to encourage all of you who call King's Church home to make an additional effort to join us this Sunday as we launch Vision 2030.
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.