25th February 2021
It’s hard to believe, but this time last year Deb and I were seven days into a three-week trip to southern Africa, visiting churches in Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. We had left the UK aware that Covid was starting to spread around the world but not imagining how much it would shortly change life for us all. On arrival in Zambia and Zimbabwe we had our temperatures checked and were asked if we had any symptoms, but none of the measures which we have now become used to were yet in place. We therefore enjoyed visiting churches, meeting with groups of leaders and sharing meals together, with little idea that such freedom would be impossible very soon. Who knows when we will be able to visit again?
With Joseph and Lily Mwila and the church in Kitwe, Zambia.
Deb and I had entered 2020 with a number of overseas trips planned, starting with the trip to southern Africa. Sadly, the global pandemic meant we had to cancel visits to Newfrontiers churches in Armenia, India and Russia. We were also due to travel to Cyprus last October for the Newfrontiers Global leadership conference, when the transition of the leadership of Newfrontiers from David Devenish to me would be marked. Of course, an in-person conference gathering people from all around the world became impossible, and so we decided to host it online. I am very proud of our King’s Comms Team, who pulled off a remarkable three-day online event last October, with over 70 nations joining us for the transition moment.
Taking on the leadership of Newfrontiers has obviously been a significant increase in responsibility for me, and I had never imagined I’d be doing so in the middle of a global pandemic! However, I am grateful for the technology which has enabled us to stay connected with people around the world. Just recently, Deb and I, together with David and Scilla Devenish, were able to ‘Zoom in’ and bring greetings to a gathering of Russian church leaders. I was also able to record a message for them on ‘grace-filled families’, which they’d watched just before we appeared live on screen. Hopefully, we’ll be able to be there in person for their next conference.
Following the success of the online Global conference, things were relatively quiet on the Newfrontiers front for the rest of 2020, partly because I was recovering from an operation. However, they are now picking up pace, and I can see we will soon need to decide whether to host this year’s Global conference in Cyprus or online. Whatever happens, I remain certain that God’s church continues to be active around the globe. Please do pray for our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world, many of whom are facing significant challenges brought about by the pandemic and other factors. You can find all the latest news from the different spheres within our fellowship on the Newfrontiers website.
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.