17th June 2021
I am extremely grateful that King’s invests in its pastoral team by offering a twelve week sabbatical every seven years. It’s probably one of the main reasons I’m still serving as a pastor in the local church. During my three decades of pastoral ministry, I have taken several sabbaticals and have found them invaluable for restoring my spiritual and emotional health. However, the first couple of days back in the office following the break often leave me with a headache, as I absorb three months’ worth of pastoral news in one go – that’s twelve weeks of news, both good and bad. It’s a lot to take in at once.
Across the summer, we hope to emerge from any form of lockdown and increasingly move from being a church that meets online, to being the gathered people of God meeting in person. But I suspect one of the greatest challenges as we come back together, will be hearing 15 months of pastoral news in a very short period of time. To differing degrees, it is likely that we will all experience what I have felt on returning from a sabbatical.
The lasting impact of Covid on church life will take a while to fully understand, but as the church begins to regather in the coming months, we are bound to discover that some of our friends have moved on. At the same time, many new people who have joined us online are now beginning to attend our in-person services. Last Sunday alone, I spoke to ten visitors who have been enjoying our online services and are now coming along to one of our venues.
It’s worth being aware that pre-pandemic, we estimated that in any given year around 200 people would join King’s and around 100 would move on. This constant movement of people, saying goodbye to old friends and welcoming new ones, is part of the natural ebb and flow of life in a growing church. As we come back together, we will begin to notice 15 months’ worth of movement in one go. That’s a lot to take in at once. My counsel to you is not to worry too much if you get a headache - I promise it will pass quickly.
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.