We tend to take our annual holiday early in the summer so while many of you are still waiting for your summer break Val and I have already been away - and returned! All the ingredients that make a relaxing time for us were there - great company, lovely food, good weather, beautiful countryside, plenty of rest... and oodles of time for reading! I took three different types of books with me this time - some novels, a few books on the Bible (surprise, surprise!) and something on personal development. This might not be your recipe for a great summer break but if reading is one element in your time off, I thought I'd share my three best reads.
The first is a novel by Hilary Mantel. I only discovered this brilliant writer in the last twelve months and have now read three of her long books, including Wolf Hall. A Place of Greater Safety tells the story of three key characters who played a significant role in the French Revolution. A fascinating read about friendship, creativity, power and corruption.
Scott McKnight is a professor of New Testament who writes with great clarity and real passion. In his book The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited he takes a fresh look at what it meant when Jesus preached "the kingdom" and how that relates not just to the gospel we preach but the life we are supposed to live. Provocative, stimulating and inspiring - and just to keep you on your toes, I don't think he has got everything right, but well worth reading.
The easiest read was Self Leadership and the One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard, Susan Fowler and Laurence Hawkins. There is a whole series of One Minute Manager books and each one is really a parable-like story which aims to explain key principles of leadership or management. As with all the others I found this one really helpful in making sense of things I have been slowly learning through experience and showing how I might develop further. If you find it helpful then look out for The One-Minute Manager Meets the Monkey which was for me the best of the others in the series.
Whether reading is a part of it for you or not, I hope you have a great summer! Val and I send you our good wishes - as we settle into our new home in Bournemouth we shall look forward to hearing about all that God will do, both in and through King's Church in the days to come. One thing is certain - there are exciting days ahead! God bless you, people of King's - He is a wonderful God and His love is ever for you!
Nine weeks ago my brother Martin went in for a relatively routine by-pass operation. As many of you know, there were complications, which included a cardiac arrest. The remarkable staff members at Papworth Hospital were able to respond quickly to the situation and had to perform a second operation - a further double bypass. The next 72 hours were long and on occasions we faced the possibility of Martin not making it through. The remarkable prayer response from around the world carried Martin and us through these difficult days and we are very grateful to the many of you who prayed and stood with our family at this time. Thank you - God answered our prayers.
Recently when I visited Martin at home, it was clear that his ongoing recovery is just as remarkable. He and I were able to have some time alone in the garden -special moments of friendship and reflection. His strength is growing daily; he is recovering his lost weight and is driving and walking further each day. Plans are in place for him to begin to return to work after the summer. Meanwhile we have a large family holiday planned in France - this will be even more special and memorable this year.
This will be my last blog posting for a few weeks, as I take my annual study break and holiday across the summer. Before that I am looking forward to preaching at our Catford and Lee sites this coming Sunday - the title of my message is The End of a Season. Life passes by so quickly and the events in my family over recent weeks have been a reminder that life is fragile. I am grateful to God that ultimately our lives are in His hands.
Finally, on July 22nd Deb and I will celebrate twenty-five years of marriage! I am very fortunate to be married to such a wonderful person - the love of my life, my best friend and a brilliant co-worker in leading this great church we call Kings.
People of King's, have a great summer! September will bring many opportunities for the gospel to advance, but for now I am grateful to recall God's faithfulness to my family and to His great family here at King's.
If you weren't able to hear the message on eldership preached at Catford and Lee by Dave Devenish on Sunday I would strongly encourage you to download the message and give it some attention! The good people of Downham, of course, will be able to hear it on Sunday but for those who will be on holiday or away this weekend you will not need to miss out on this important talk on eldership. We are looking forward to welcoming new elders to the team in January 2015 - Dave Devenish, a good friend to King's, has given helpful support and advice into the selection process which we were glad to receive. These new appointments will help us to strengthen and develop our leadership team.
Please be praying for these individuals and their families - we are on the brink of yet another new phase of church life at King's and the prayer support of each member is an invaluable part of our life together! We will also be praying for those staff members who will be moving to new spheres and asking God's blessing on them.
This Sunday we are looking forward to the annual King's Church Picnic at Ladywell Arena. We hope to see as many of you from 1pm onwards as can make it. There will be food and drink available for you to buy and you can also bring your own items to eat and hopefully with some to share! We are praying for good weather!
Before that there will be a Membership Morning at Catford - around 25 people have already signed up for the morning, to hear something of our vision and values and finding out what it means to be a member of the King's community. Each King's member has unique gifts to offer and a contribution to make and each one is invaluable. Another great event to pray for!
Last Sunday, Deb and I visited Pete and Nicky Cornford's church plant in Ealing, London. It was a great delight to speak there and see the massive progress that has been made in the last couple of years. You may not be aware that behind the scenes King's has been supporting this new church. It was fantastic to see it proving so successful.
We are now fast approaching the end of another church year and the next three Sundays are not be missed! This weekend we welcome Dave Devenish to speak on our Catford and Lee sites. The following weekend, I will be hosting another Membership Morning, followed by the annual Church Picnic at Ladywell Arena. We had an amazing time last year and we look forward to gathering from across our sites once again to enjoy fellowship together.
Then on Saturday 19 July we will say our farewell to Mick and Val, Martin and Ruth, and Ben and Jess at an evening party on the Catford site. Finally, on Sunday 20th I am looking forward to preaching an end of year message, the end of a season in the life of King's. I would love you all to be there.
I was delighted to hear in our Tuesday staff prayer meeting this week that among the many people who responded on Alpha Saturday last weekend, there were six people who decided for the first time to follow Jesus - in addition to two other people who took this step a few weeks earlier. What an exciting journey lies ahead of them as they follow Jesus and pursue all that God has in store for them!
As a church we're also on an exciting journey, pursuing what God has in store for us and seeking to be the church He's called us to be - one that sees life after life changed as we reach many in this great city of London.
In order to do this more effectively going forward, we have over the last nine months reviewed and restructured our leadership structure and staff roles. All the details of these important developments are summarised in the latest King's News, which also includes the exciting announcement about a number of new pastoral workers and trainee pastors who will be joining the team from the start of September.
Please download or pick up a copy on Sunday and use it as fuel for your prayers. Pray not only for the families who are moving on and the individuals who are joining the team, but for all of us at King's - the staff and everyone involved in leadership, for yourself as you play your part, for these eight new believers from this term's Alpha.
And as we enter this exciting new chapter of church life, let's pray too for many more like them in the years to come.
Yesterday, the team at King's joined pastoral and operational team members from five other churches for a day's training and fellowship. We were hosted by Simon Benham in Bracknell. In our first session, Joel Virgo spoke on the subject of contextualisation. He urged us to ensure that we grapple with Paul's example of being able to identify with those we are trying to reach, while remaining true to our biblical convictions, as recorded in 1 Corinthians 9 v 22: 'To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.' We need to understand the culture and key influences that shape people's thinking and practice in the places we live, in order to preach the gospel effectively.
Following that, Tope Koleoso spoke on building a local church culture, including the importance of the work and presence of the Holy Spirit. He challenged us to broaden our expectation of what indicators we should be looking for from such encounters, not least real life change in unbelievers' and believers' lives - a thought-provoking day.
This Saturday, Deb and I are speaking at a marriage day for the excellent Winchester Family Church - good preparation for our 'Sex, Romance and God' seminar which is happening at King's on Saturday 28th June. If you are a married couple looking to invest in your marriage, then please do join us for what is always a fun, positive and challenging morning. For further details and to book in visit kingschurchlondon.org/marriageseminar.
Finally, I look forward to seeing you all on Sunday when I will be travelling around each meeting and each site to share some important news. See you then.
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Steve Tibbert leads King’s Church London, with sites in Catford, Downham and Lee. Over the past fifteen years the church has seen continued growth, both in size and diversity. Steve also oversees a number of other Newfrontiers churches in the UK. His book, “Good to Grow”, was published in July 2011. He is married to Deb, and they have three sons.
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