Thursday, 26 May 2011

Good to Grow: David Anderson and relevance in diversity

I first met Dr David Anderson on a visit to the USA. As a noted black leader he speaks with authority on the topic of diversity - his testimony of commitment to building a diverse church can be found in his book ‘Gracism’. I was delighted to welcome him to speak at a conference we put on at King’s at a pivotal movement for us as we grappled with the issue of being a multiracial, multi-cultural church. He kindly agreed to read Good to Grow and commented:

‘Steve Tibbert’s intentional leadership in building a diverse and culturally relevant church that is not just good but great is more than obvious, it’s contagious. I consider it a privilege to have experienced Steve’s leadership and mission focused community at Kings. I fully commend his work to you as biblical and practical.’

Here are some quotes from Good to Grow on the topic of diversity:
‘We try to ensure that the musicians and singers on the platform reflect the diversity of the congregation which they lead in worship.’

‘The process of recognizing black leaders can take longer, because we can misread the qualities of cross-cultural leaders.’

‘For many in the white community, our home is our castle. I go in with my nuclear family and I close my front door. If you want to do friendship with me you’ve got to get your diary out. So we email round ‘Need to get together: I can do Friday in four weeks’ time’ . . . ‘I can’t make that’ . . . ‘OK, find a day you can make.’ If someone just turns up at my door it can be: ‘What are you doing here? I’ve got things to do today – don’t cut across my agenda. I’m busy . . . ‘

For many in the black community, it’s family and friendship – there are aunts and uncles, cousins everywhere and if anyone turns up, everyone is fed. All are welcomed and the whole day rearranged if necessary. You can stay to midnight and beyond, while I, being white, go to bed at 10 p.m.’

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Good to Grow: Adrian Warnock

Adrian Warnock made his presence known in the Christian blogging world some years ago. Now a recognised author, interviewer and commentator on the church and on various theological issues, I was delighted to have his interest in the book. Here is his comment on Good to Grow:

Adrian Warnock - author of Raised With Christ - How the Resurrection Changes Everything.
‘You hold in your hands a book that recounts a captivating story of how our great God has been working through what was once a small church in South East London. When a visiting prophetic team spoke of a vision from the church's history that had been lost, little did they know that a student of C.H. Spurgeon had began this congregation with a dream of building a 1000 member church. Just a few years later, Kings Church is now one of relatively few British churches that regularly gather more than that number. Some books on church growth erroneously tell you that if you just follow a set of principles you will automatically experience the same results. Others equally wrongly speak only of a sovereign work of God. This book is different. You will see evidence of the grace of God, but you will also learn from both the mistakes and successes of the church's leadership team. Rick Warren says that any church that is content to stay small is telling the world that they don't care if they go to hell. God may not be calling your church to be as large as King's, but he is calling you to faithfully learn from others and apply leadership lessons, and work hard to make disciples of all nations. You may not agree with every aspect of the philosophy of ministry you will find in this book, but reading it will definitely help you better understand the way in which God is calling you to serve in his church.’

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Good to Grow: Dave Stroud... and mission

Dave Stroud and I have worked together within Newfrontiers for some years and I have valued his friendship as well as his leadership and encouragement. This is his endorsement that went to the publisher for inclusion on the cover of Good to Grow:
‘Any church leader who wants his church to grow will benefit from reading this book. Steve writes with honesty and insight about the remarkable growth that he has experienced at Kings Church, Catford. The result is a powerful tonic to mediocre leadership. Anyone who reads this book will finish it challenged and equipped to lead more effectively and with greater wisdom than ever before'. David Stroud, senior pastor - ChristChurch London
Here are another couple of quotes from Good to Grow – to hopefully whet your appetite!

‘I truly believe that mission must take centre stage in the life of a local church, and I am convinced that we must build mission-focused communities and avoid any separation between normal church life and our mission agenda. This historical separation has led to an increasingly pastoral church and a growing number of parachurch organisations and agencies which have arisen to fill a gap.’
‘It has been my practice to operate on the basis that we ‘staff for growth’ rather than because of growth. For good reasons, most churches that I know do the opposite, the rationale being ‘We need more staff because we have grown.’ It’s a matter of asking the question: which comes first, the leadership capacity for growth or the leadership capacity to care for that growth? A mission-driven church is far more likely to staff for growth. The risks are higher but the commensurate rewards are greater. I’m glad to report that King’s now sees people saved, on average, every week – I believe that the above approach has helped towards that result.’

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Good to Grow: Dave Devenish and diversity

Another church leader whose input I value is Dave Devenish. His wide experience in serving the world-wide church for the kingdom and within the Newfrontiers movement has been very important to us at King’s. He also read the early copy of Good to Grow and sent me the following endorsement:

‘Steve Tibbert has written us an important book full of practical leadership lessons to help all of us who have responsibilities in the church. Whilst remaining down to earth, it inspires us to see churches grow for the sake of reaching unbelievers with the good news and demonstrating the glory of God in diversity.’
And here's a quote from Good to Grow on diversity...
‘If you move into a foreign land, your kids go to a new school and you may go to work, so a church that consists entirely of your own culture can be a safe place. But over time, sometimes a gospel driven challenge comes – ‘If I witness to my white neighbour and they get saved, no way would they feel at home in my Nigerian church.’ A mother told me that her children had been asking, ‘Why do we have black friends and white friends and then go to a church where we are all black?’ There is a realization that every other area of life is integrated. When they start to look and find a place like King’s, it’s a halfway house. And those in mixed marriages especially feel they can identify with us.’