22nd August 2019
Deb and I have just returned from a fantastic trip to Kenya visiting Edward and Fridah Buria in Meru, a city five hours north of Nairobi and right next to the Equator. It was a privilege to spend time with this amazing couple. We loved learning more about the Kerith movement, which is made up of hundreds of churches across Kenya and in neighbouring nations in East Africa.
Our time was spent visiting a couple of local churches and projects and attending the annual leaders’ conference at Edward and Fridah’s home church in Kambakia, a village on the outskirts of Meru. The conference gathered several hundred (predominantly young) leaders from the Kerith movement, many of whom had travelled long hours by bus to be there. The focus of the conference was mission, and their commitment and passion for the Gospel were impressive. A highlight for us was the worship, which was lively, vibrant and Jesus-focussed.
Towards the end of the week, Edward and Fridah told us the remarkable story of how this family of churches began. As we sat in their living room one evening, we heard how the church had started with a small group meeting in the room in which we were sitting and grew rapidly following a revival in their village. The church that started in a living room now meets in a 1000-seater building down the road; the church birthed in a village revival now reaches thousands across Kenya and beyond!
This visit to Kenya has been yet another reminder of God’s love for people. He is about a great work across the nations, calling many to His name. Let’s keep sharing the Good News of Jesus and praying for God to move in revival again!
There will be no blog next week as I will be enjoying a short holiday, but I’ll be back the week after that.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
19th July 2018
The year was 1938 and Great Britain was on the verge of what would become known as the Second World War. Along with many others, my great grandma had to move from her inner-city home in Bermondsey onto the recently built ‘suburban’ Downham Estate. In fact, she moved onto Roundtable Road – just 220 metres from the current Downham site!
My great grandma and great grandad with my mum in their garden in Roundtable Road
My nan and grandad's wedding photo at St John's Church at bottom of Whitefoot Lane
Who would have thought that 80 years later, her great grandson would be going there to lead the Downham site as a part of King’s Church London! God had a plan.
In fact, there is a remarkable synergy with my family’s history in Downham. As I said, my great grandma moved there in 1938. Sixty years later, in 1998, my mum became a Christian at what was then Downham Way Family Church. Ten years after that, in 2008, I was baptised (I was only 15) and now, in 2018, I am preparing to lead the site. Who knows what God will do by 2028!
My wife, Sylvia, and I could not be more excited about going to lead the Downham site. As many of you will know, we were previously at the Lee site where we were married last August, and in April this year we joined Downham. It’s been an exciting year to say the least.
We have been made to feel so welcome by everyone and have settled in quickly – we already feel like part of the family. There are some incredible people at the Downham site, who have been serving faithfully for many years – we consider it a privilege and joy to serve alongside them as we press on.
Looking ahead fills me with lots of excitement. If you know the area, then you’ll know there isn’t much in Downham – but the one thing it isn’t short of is people! There is a community there that we want to serve and see come to know Jesus. People often say this, but I am convinced that the best is yet to come in Downham. Let’s pray that the impact we have on the local community is vast, and that we continue to follow the command of Jesus to ‘make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ (Matthew 28:19).
Joe Macnamara joined the King's team in January this year and is based at the Downham site. He will be appointed Downham Site Leader in September 2018. He is married to Sylvia.
Steve Tibbert is on sabbatical and will be returning in September.
Posted by Joe Macnamara
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
6th October 2016
It was 1996, and the latest trend to emerge among UK churches was cell church. The four Ws were in vogue: welcome, word, witness and – what was the last one? Worship? Works? I cannot remember. At King’s, I was in the first year of leading a struggling church, and small group or cell group life was well down the list of priorities. Feeling pressure from some quarters to adopt the cell church model, I sought advice from Steve Nicholson, an experienced friend and pastor in the US Vineyard. His view was that cell church had been tried in the States five years earlier and had not seen much success. I decided to keep my head down and get on with the task at hand.
Obviously the cell church movement has borne and continues to bear much fruit, especially in communities where extended families and shared communities are the norm. That is very different to the urban context of western cities such as London, where a strong cultural undercurrent of individualism means the principles behind cell church are far less likely to succeed.
My observation was that most churches in the west who were regularly reaching people for Jesus had a few things in common. Here are three for starters: openness to the work of the Holy Spirit; an outreach strategy that put Sunday at the centre; and an invitational culture which invited people to come on a journey, which may lead to faith.
Good contextualisation takes biblical truth and applies it to the mission field – it works out the best way to reach the particular culture in which we live.
So perhaps you are wondering if groups are not important to us at King's. If so, you would be mistaken – they are a core part of our church community and in fact last term we had more over 12s meeting in our groups than were here on a Sunday!
But when it comes to first contact with unbelievers, we still find Sunday services to be the place most people come to. We then give them an invitation to come on a journey by providing a ‘next step’. It is another way we ‘reach and then teach’.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
Steve Tibbert leads King’s Church London, with sites in Catford, Downham, Lee and Beckenham. 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.