4th March 2020
Life is busy in London, and I always leave it to the last minute to fill up my car with fuel. When I can no longer put off a trip to the petrol station, I try to get it done as quickly (and cheaply) as possible, so that I can get on with my day. Yesterday our household bill for gas and electricity came through and I saw that we are using even more than last year – time for a family conference, I think!
Deb and I are twelve days into a three-week trip to southern Africa. Our time in Zambia, and now Zimbabwe, has reminded me how fortunate we are to live in London. To switch on a light and have power, turn on a tap for clean water, and fill our cars with petrol whenever needed, are things most of us in the UK take for granted. In Zambia, power was intermittent. When our friend Joseph Mwila was speaking at his church on Sunday, he barely skipped a beat when the power went off and his microphone died. He simply raised his voice and carried on speaking. Within a couple of minutes, the lawn mower growl of the church generator started up, and power was restored. In Harare, the petrol stations had had no fuel for ten days. When planning our two-day trip to Bulawayo last week, it took careful forward planning and hours of queueing at the pumps to secure enough fuel for two cars. Water is also scarce, and many households must rely on having tanks of it delivered to their homes.
Life here is a challenge. But despite the numerous frustrations of day-to-day living, the church is thriving and God’s Kingdom is advancing! On Friday night, we spent an evening with the River of Life elders and wives and reflected on the amazing growth they have seen since going multi-site in 2015. River of Life is one of the fastest growing churches I know in the wider Newfrontiers family and it was a joy to preach there on Sunday.
While in Bulawayo, we visited Ebenezer agricultural college where we met with Renée Cunningham and her brother and sister-in-law, Pete and Di. Their vision to equip people with business and farming skills, whilst also discipling them in their walk with Jesus, is inspirational. It was brilliant to see the huge progress they have made at Ebenezer since we were last there in 2018. The £60,000 King’s has invested in Ebenezer is being used to build much needed staff accommodation, among other things, and is making a very real difference to the excellent work they are doing. We also paid a visit to one of their outgrowers – an Ebenezer graduate we had met last time – who, in addition to her three chicken houses, is now building a new house for her family. Her life has been turned around by the support and training of Ebenezer and the market outlets provided by Pete and Di Cunningham’s business. This is God’s Kingdom in action – making disciples, lifting families out of poverty, and transforming communities!
Deb and I end this trip with some time in Cape Town, where we will be spending some time with leaders from Jubilee Church and Common Ground. We love being in southern Africa and are always encouraged by the resilient, joy-filled faith of the believers we know here. But we will return home next week with a renewed sense of gratitude that we live in a country where petrol is easily available and power is in constant supply.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
20th February 2020
Having enjoyed being at home in London for the last few months, Deb and I are now preparing for a season of overseas travel. By the time this blog goes out we should be well on our way to Zambia for the start of a three-week trip to southern Africa.
Our first five days will be spent visiting Joseph and Lily Mwile in the Copperbelt region of Zambia, not far from the border with the DRC. Joseph heads up Dayspring Ministries, which is part of ChristCentral family of churches. This is not a nation we have been to before, and we are looking forward to seeing a number of their projects, including an amazing school, as well as visiting churches and spending time with leaders. On Saturday we will be joined by Scott Marques from Zimbabwe and together we will be speaking on leadership. On Sunday I have the privilege of preaching in their church and in the afternoon Deb and I will be leading a session on Marriage and Ministry.
We then move on to Zimbabwe where we will be spending time with dear friends in Harare and Bulawayo. This is a nation we hold close to our hearts and I believe this will be our eighth visit. We are looking forward to seeing friends, speaking to leaders and visiting the Ebenezer farming project, which King’s is involved with. On Sunday I will be sharing God’s word at River of Life Church in Harare.
The final leg of our trip will be in Cape Town, South Africa. While we are there, we will be catching up with old friends in Jubilee Church and also meeting up with leaders from Common Ground Church. We will then enjoy a few days holiday before returning to the UK.
We would highly value your prayers as we travel.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
7th March 2019
Deb and I have just returned from an excellent two-week trip to Mexico and the USA. While we were away, we spent time in three different locations and were superbly hosted by Lee and Stacey Yarborough in Leon, Mexico, Travis and Tiffany Aicklen in Visalia, California, and Bryan and Rachel Mowrey in St Louis, Missouri. It is always a joy to visit fellow believers, often in very different contexts to ours, all of us united in the same mission to build the church and reach the lost. Our time away concluded with a very encouraging few days at the Good to Grow conference in St Louis which was attended by over 80 leaders from the Confluence family of churches.
Upon my return last Friday, I was immediately back to the joys of leading King’s. We are now just a few weeks away from the launch of our new 1.30pm meeting on the Catford site. Our 11.30am service is filling up fast again following the launch of the Beckenham site in October last year, and with the 1.30pm service, we hope to create more space for new people. The question of multiple meetings – how, why and when to move to them – is one that comes up quite frequently in my visits to other churches. King’s started multiple meetings in 2005, and we have learnt a lot over the years (and are still learning!) about what works and what doesn’t. As we approach the launch of another meeting, I thought I would include a link to an updated version of a paper I first posted in 2008 about The Move to Multiple Meetings. I hope you find it helpful.
Scott and Claire Marques arrive in London from Harare, Zimbabwe, on Thursday morning, and Scott will be preaching at King’s this Sunday. As you know, King’s has an ongoing church-to-church partnership with River of Life Church in Harare, and it is great to be able to welcome Scott and Claire to London again.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
24th January 2019
Deb and I first visited Zimbabwe in 2012, just as the country was becoming more stable following the currency crisis of 2008. Since then we have returned each year, including once with our three sons, our last holiday with just the three of them before our eldest son, Ben, married the lovely Alice.
Our last three trips to Zimbabwe have not been without incident. While we were there three years ago, one of the River of Life elders was arrested and placed in prison. We had gathered in the evening for a leaders’ meeting, when he arrived at the house having just been released quite unexpectedly. It really was like a scene from the book of Acts! Two years ago, we flew in as ‘the coup that wasn’t a coup’ unfolded. We witnessed people’s joy at being able to demonstrate peacefully and their very real hope for change. We were there again in November, just three months ago, and found the believers in good heart despite signs of hyperinflation, food shortages, and the possibility of economic collapse looming once again.
In the last couple of weeks, the situation in Zimbabwe has taken another worrying turn. The government increased the price of fuel by 150% overnight, meaning Zimbabwe now has the most expensive fuel in the world. This resulted in civil protest and a subsequent harsh crackdown from government authorities. Communication from Zimbabwe was hampered by the government shutting down the internet for some time. As the western media has been waking up to the deteriorating situation, we ask you to pray for our friends in Zimbabwe, the church, the government and the nation.
I have been in regular contact with Scott Marques, our dear friend and the leader of River of Life Church in Harare. He has asked us to pray along these lines:
- Pray for our Government and all those in authority that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness.
- Pray for Christians in all sectors of society to be salt and light, with Christ’s love and faith outworked in all they do.
- Pray for the individuals, families, businesses, schools and many communities suffering injury through beatings, shootings, looting and other forms of violence at this time.
We are still planning for Scott to be with us in the first week of March when he is due to speak at King’s on Sunday 10th March.
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.