Friday, 13 January 2017

A new chapter for The King's Church Mid-Sussex

This coming Sunday (15 January 2017) is a significant and exciting day for The King's Church Mid-Sussex. It will mark the end of one chapter in our story and herald the beginning of a whole new chapter in the life of our church. This Sunday, for the final time, we will be meeting as one congregation in one meeting on a Sunday.

There have been other moments like this in our history; when the church moved from a home to a small rented room, from the small room to a large hall, from one Sunday meeting in that larger hall to two meetings and then more recently to purchasing and renovating a warehouse as a permanent home.

Our history is marked by these 'new beginnings' and they should cause us to look forward with a sense of huge expectation to all that is ahead.

On 22 January 2017 we will start a new chapter again as we multiply to having two morning meetings - one at 9.30am and one at 11.30am. This is the first step to multiplication - I believe there will be many others in the months and years ahead.

This is a new thing.

Not the same thing just at different times. But a new thing. A new chapter for us as a church. Unwritten pages waiting to be filled with wonderful God stories.

Let me encourage you to make every effort to be with us over these coming weeks. To be together in one room in one meeting for the last time this coming Sunday; thanking God for all he has done thus far and looking ahead to this new chapter.



And then to be there at the start of this new chapter, this new adventure, this new beginning in the life of our church. We follow an amazing God and are looking to him to do amazing things in the months ahead.

I look forward to seeing you very soon.

 

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Staff Update at The King's Church Mid-Sussex

It is such a privilege to lead a vibrant and growing team at The King's Church Mid-Sussex. We believe God has clearly spoken to us about the kind of church we are building and I'm so grateful that God is also providing some amazing people to help that vision become a reality. As we head into 2017 there are some staffing updates that I am keen to let you know about.

Rachael Turner


I think most people will know of this appointment already, however, for those that are not aware Rachael joined the staff team in October in a part-time capacity to serve as Terry Virgo's PA. Though this role is funded by Newfrontiers, Rachael is based at The King's Centre and is part of the team at The King's Church Mid-Sussex.








Dan Lank


Dan has done a superb job leading the worship team over the last 18 months and has been working two days a week for the church.  However, with two meetings beginning in January and the hope for further multiplication in the future, we invited Dan to join the team on a full-time basis and he began in this role at the start of December.  Dan will oversee and develop our worship teams, he will also develop our technical and audio-visual provision and be involved in developing creative arts in the church.






Nigel Goodenough



Part of our 2020 Vision was to see us establish houses across Mid-Sussex to accommodate and serve vulnerable people in our community. I am so excited to let you know that this vision is moving forward through an organisation called Hope Into Action.  From January 2017 Nigel will be joining the staff team at The King's Church Mid-Sussex for one day a week to establish 'Hope Into Action Mid-Sussex' with the view of us opening our first house at some point next year.






Angie Bee


Angie has been a superb addition since she joined the staff team in a part-time role in 2015 to co-ordinate our Sunday TKC Kids Programme. She has also delivered excellent events like the All-Age Christmas Cracker. The implications of running two morning meetings on our children's programmes are significant, and therefore, we have increased Angie's hours so she has more capacity to co-ordinate this growing area of church life. 






Penny McAdams


Penny has been on staff for over two years in a part-time capacity. She has fulfilled a hugely important role being the first face people see when they arrive at The King's Centre and being involved in the administration of church life. In 2017  Penny will be increasing her hours to work one additional morning and one additional afternoon each week.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Autumn Gift Days - Kenya and Haiti

Each year, at The King's Church Mid-Sussex, we have Gift Days in the summer and autumn terms. I am always amazed and so grateful to see the church 'excel in the grace of generosity' - our Summer Gift Days this year raised nearly £95,000. Incredible!


As a result of this generosity we have been able to make huge improvements to the King’s Centre as well as make gifts to New Ground – the family of churches we connect with - and to some superb local charities.

AUTUMN GIFT DAYS


In recent years, we have given a lot of money to local projects and to improvements at The King’s Centre. However, this Autumn we want to focus our energy on giving to projects that are working with some of the poorest in our world.

SEEKENYA


SeeKenya is at an exciting and important crossroads. There is huge potential for future development. Another team has just returned and, once again, hundreds and hundreds of lives were impacted by this practical demonstration of good news.

Some of the children that were seen in the eye clinics require additional specialist treatment and in faith SeeKenya, as a charity, has agreed to pay for this work.

We want to keep investing into ‘SeeKenya’ as we believe it is one clear way that God has asked us to get involved in his global mission to be good news to the poor.

Twenty percent of money given at the Autumn Gift Days will be given to SeeKenya.


HAITI



Many of you know that we have strong links with an amazing charity called ‘Hope House Haiti’. I am sure you will also be aware of the recent hurricane that has brought such devastation to this nation.

The team at ‘Hope House Haiti’ has asked for financial help so that they can help those in their community with the basics; food, clean water and shelter.

Twenty percent of money given at the Autumn Gift Days will be given to support those impacted by this hurricane in Haiti.



COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT PROGRAMME - KENYA 


The Community Empowerment Programme (CEP) is a ministry of Edfri International in Kenya – run by our good friends Edward and Fridah Buria. It seeks to empower orphans, vulnerable children and young people to build a better future for themselves.

This happens in a number of ways:

  • education programmes and sponsorship to provide school fees, equipment and uniforms
  • provision of basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter
  • medical care and provision 
  • advocacy and legal support where required
  • mentoring and counselling programmes
  • job creation and business start up

But the need is so great and we want to be able to give a significant amount of money to Edfri International so that many more orphans, vulnerable children and young people are supported and given an opportunity to dream of a different future.

As a church, we are already connected with one family who have been helped and supported by CEP. A number of us have had the opportunity to visit and see the impact that CEP is having.





Our Gift Days are happening on 06 and 13 November. We have another opportunity to reflect God's heart of generosity as we give to these amazing projects around the world. Please join me in praying for these big moments in church life.  

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Why are we multiplying to two meetings?

Why are we multiplying to two meetings?












On Sunday 18 September, at our Vision Sunday, we announced that we are going to be multiplying to two morning meetings from January 2017. If you were away that weekend and did not hear that message you can download it here.

Now..... we have been this route before. In our old venue in Haywards Heath we needed to multiply meetings to create room for growth. It was an adventure and, yes, it was hard work but we saw amazing fruit. The church grew by 20% in two-and-a-half years.

It was always our plan to multiple at some point in The King's Centre, but why now? Here are a number of reasons why we believe now is the right time.

1. Mission

The primary reason is mission. The King's Church Mid-Sussex exists to reach out to those who are not yet here. The simple reality is that by offering more choice more people can come. We live in a very flexible culture, people work flexible working patterns and therefore it makes sense to offer people different options regarding church attendance. Some of the churches that are seeing most gospel fruit are those that offer multiple options for when people can come. There are tens of thousands of people who don't know Jesus in our community, therefore we want to create more opportunities for them to find out more.

2. Momentum 

We have some growth momentum at present. Praise God! Our higher Sundays are higher and our average attendance is growing. If we are to keep growing we need to keep creating more space. Healthy things should grow and we are seeing that but we need to keep thinking through what the next 1, 2 and 5 years look like .

3. Multiplication

We feel God is calling us to begin thinking through what it means for us to be a church that multiplies. This won’t be the last move. We still have dreams of an evening meeting and think that will happen in the not too distant future. Beyond that we are beginning to explore what multiple congregations might look like for us as a church. In our future, The King's Church Mid-Sussex will not be defined by how many you can get in one room at one time.

4. Children's and Youth ministry

This is of huge importance. We want to offer the best children and youth ministry that we can and feel we have a responsibility to do this well. The reality is our children's and youth rooms on a Sunday have no room for growth. We want to be engaging in high value discipleship in our youth and children's programmes not crowd management. So we need to find solutions for growth in these groups and multiple meetings helps us with this.

5. Stretch of Faith 

There could be a danger that because we fill our venue once a week we fall into self-reliance (we know how to do this) or apathy (we don't need to do anything). The reality is, there are thousands of people in our community who know nothing of the amazing grace that Jesus offers. We have always been a church that reached in faith to things that would be impossible other than God's wonderful provision.  I want us to continue to be that kind of church.  If we are not being stretched, we can become safe and self-reliant. God calls us to an adventure to believe that he can do more than we can ask or imagine. Multiplication will keep stretching us to believe God for things that we can't do otherwise.

Yes there is a lot to arrange and work out. Yes we'll need more volunteers to make this happen. And yes our sundays will feel slightly different for a while. But remember....we have been this route before and the result was that many more people found their home in church. We are praying for that again! Please keep an ear out for news and information as it is shared in the coming weeks.


Friday, 26 August 2016


5 Reasons To Get Baptised


I love this time of year.

September is soon to be upon us and there is always great momentum and excitement in church life. Our new Alpha course is soon to begin. We will be gathering for our prayer week. We have new initiatives beginning. And, we have baptisms.

On Sunday 25 September we will be celebrating together as another group of people get baptised - so far 4 people have express an interest. Amazing! 

Maybe you are reading this and you have never been baptised or you are considering getting baptised. Here are are 5 reasons why its great to get baptised:


1. Jesus was baptised



In the Bible, both Matthew and Luke describe Jesus' baptism by John the Baptist. You may ask why Jesus needed to get baptised. John the Baptist preached a message of baptism and repentance for the forgiveness of sins - but Jesus was perfect. He never sinned so he didn't need to repent. So why get baptised? In Jesus' baptism we see him identifying with us and setting us an example to follow. To be a Christian is to be a follower - or an apprentice - of Jesus. If Jesus was baptised, what better way to identify yourself with him then by also being baptised.

2. Jesus told his disciples to baptise people


After Jesus' resurrection, he was talking to his disciples and he commanded them to go to all nations and make disciples - we know this as the 'Great Commission'. These powerful words included the instruction to baptise people. Clearly, in Jesus' mind and his teaching, baptism was central to the Christian faith. 


3. Baptism was central in New Testament Church life


In the book of Acts, when the church began, we read that Peter preached about Jesus in the centre of Jerusalem and 3000 people responded and asked him what shall we do? His reply was that they should all 'repent and be baptised'. Baptism wasn't an added extra for the really enthusiastic or outgoing ones. Baptism was a central part of their response to the message of Jesus; an outward act followed an inward change. Baptism follows repentance and was central to New Testament Church life. 

4. Baptism paints a picture of what Jesus has done


The Apostle Paul talks about baptism in his letter to the church in Rome. He says that as we are baptised, we identify with Jesus' death and resurrection. The Bible describes being a Christian like being new creations, the old has gone and the new has come (2 Cor 5 v 17). As we are baptised, its like our old life is buried (as we go under the water) and as we come out of the water it symbolises that we have a new life in Christ. Baptisms tell a story, our story, and celebrates what Jesus has done in our lives.

5. It's a great opportunity to invite people to church


If you have recently become a Christian it is likely that your friends or family might be wondering why. What has happened to you? Why are you now going to church? Baptism is an opportunity for them to hear your story and for you to share why Jesus has changed your life. Your story is amazing, too good to be kept quiet, and baptism is a great opportunity to invite friends and family to church so they can hear first hand the difference that Jesus has made. 

So there you go, 5 reasons why to get baptised. If you want more info about baptism or want to get baptised contact The King's Church right away by e-mailing info@tkc.org.uk







Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Introducing our new intern - Jack Dunne

Earlier this year, in April, Jack Dunne started working part-time for The King's Church Mid-Sussex as an intern. He spends his time supporting and developing our youth programme. It's fantastic having Jack as a member of the TKC team. We thought it would be good, for those of you don't know Jack that well, to discover a little bit more about him.  

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, family and interests

When I’m not at King’s I spend my time Cycling, binge watching Netflix and reading anything by C.S Lewis. Also I am not related to Kieran if anyone asks (I’m fooling nobody am I?)


2. How long have you been part of TKC?

I joined TKC 2 years 9 months and 19 days ago when we as a family moved back to Sussex having lived in Scotland for 10 years.

3. What are you excited about as you embark on this new adventure of being in intern at TKC?

Doing anything with God is always exciting, now that it’s my job I feel especially privileged. I’m looking forward to seeing what God has for me, and the church as a whole over the next year.

4. How can people pray for you as you do this role? 

Please pray that God will use me in my role at TKC and give me everything I need to complete the tasks that he has for me. After all everything we do is done in his strength.

5. Who is fastest on a bike - you or your Dad

Sadly my Dad. But he is riding on more than bread and water.

Please pray for Jack in this key role. In September we also have Joel Marson joining the staff team as a part-time intern. More information coming about that very soon. 


Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Do we get a second chance after we die?

Guest blogger Jamie McAdams seeks to answer one of the big questions related to our 'What happens when I die?' series. Do we get a second chance after we die?





Throughout the Bible, when it talks about how God will deal with our sins, there are two big ideas that crop up: the first is that God is incredibly gracious, merciful and forgiving. The second is that He is absolutely holy and just. Exodus 34:6-7 puts them in the same sentence:

“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty...”

After reading a passage like that, it's tremendously difficult to see how those ideas fit together. If He forgives iniquity, transgression and sin, how has He not cleared the guilty? This has given Christians a lot of headaches through the centuries, and resulted in a few different opinions.

In this blog, we're going to look at two views that have been popular in the church throughout history, then turn to what the Bible has to say.

Universalism: everyone will be saved, no matter what they believe now

Universalism is the name given to the idea that God's plan of redemption will eventually apply to everybody in the same way - it is universal.

There are different versions of universalism, but by far the most popular idea is one that we've received from a theologian named Origen (c. 184-253AD).

Origen believed that Hell would exist, but that it would be a place of temporary discipline and correction, and eventually all souls would return to God.

There are several variations of universalism but by definition they must assert that either Hell cannot last forever or that it will be empty. So what does the Bible say? 

Universalists will generally argue for their view based firstly on the nature of 
God as loving and merciful and secondly by looking at passages like:

  • 1 Corinthians 15:28: "When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all."
  • 2 Corinthians 5:19: "in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them."
  • Colossians 1:19-20: "For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross."

So how do we understand these passages? Firstly we need to read them in context and pay attention to what the surrounding verses tell us.

  • 1 Corinthians 15:28 is in between verse 25 where all of Jesus' enemies will put under his feet, and verse 34 where Paul rebukes the Corinthians for not telling people about Jesus, to their shame.
  • In the verse after 2 Corinthians 5:19, Paul says "We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God."
  • Colossians 1:22-23 says we are reconciled "if indeed [we] continue in the faith". The Bible is clear on this: it is vital that we have a living, persevering faith in order to be reconciled to God.

That might explain why we think the arguments made by universalists don't stack up, but what do we believe?

Before I go any further, if you haven't already heard it, I would strongly recommend that you listen to this sermon as this is a weighty issue and you need to understand God's heart behind the warnings we're given. This short blog post can't hope to convey that, but we can at least lay out some of the arguments.

Firstly, we are never given any impression in scripture that we can repent after we die (nor is it clear that we would want to). Hebrews 9:27 says "it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment". In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus gives a parable about two men who die: a rich man and a man named Lazarus who begged for money outside the rich man's gates. Lazarus goes to be with Abraham in Paradise, but the rich man goes to Hades, and from there he has this conversation with Abraham.

He doesn't apologise for the sins he committed that put him in Hades. He suggests that his family wouldn't fail as he did if God performed a miracle for them (i.e. it's not really his fault), but Abraham explains that this simply isn't true. He begs for Abraham to send Lazarus to give him a drink, without a hint that he felt he had wronged Lazarus.

Abraham tells Lazarus "between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us" (verse 26).

Secondly, the Bible consistently describes Hell as eternal (see Isaiah 33:14, 66:24, Matthew 3:12, 18:8, 25:41-46, Mark 9:48, Luke 3:17, Luke 16:24, Revelation 14:11, 20:10). There are many different aspects of hell being communicated through these passages, but one point is unavoidable: Hell is eternal.

These are terrifying images, and they're meant to be. God wants us to know that He is absolutely good. A good judge is not one that ignores sins or plays them down but one that deals with them appropriately.

When God made us as his image-bearers, He made us to show creation what He is like. When we sin, we are renouncing the purpose for which we have been made and we're forsaking God for the sake of our temporary pleasure or convenience. God will not tolerate this.

In our culture, we find this aspect of God's nature hard to deal with, but that is largely a cultural coincidence. We happen to exist at a place and time where we think that hell is almost by definition primitive and evil, but that really is just cultural snobbery. Most people now and throughout history have taken for granted that our sins are serious and must be punished.

That, in fact, is vital for understanding the other view that we'll be looking at.

Purgatory: even if you are saved, you might still have to pay...


Purgatory is, according to the Roman Catholic tradition, a state where people are purified of their sins after they die. This view doesn't deny an eternal hell for those who have died without faith in Jesus. Rather, it's part of the believer's 'journey' towards heaven.

The amount of time spent in purgatory is based on the severity of the sins committed, whether they were confessed and whether indulgences had been issued - an indulgence being a gift that the church can offer to reduce someone's time in purgatory. 

Historically, there were several periods when indulgences were sold by travelling fund-raisers working for the church, and this grieved many Christians as it was seen as a form of exploitation. A particularly keen seller named Johann Tetzel even coined advertising jingles for it:

"As soon as the coin in the coffer rings,
the soul from purgatory springs"

Ultimately, this was what spurred Martin Luther to write the 95 theses and (somewhat unwittingly at first) launch the Protestant Reformation. Luther's teaching prompted the Council of Trent (1545-1563AD), at which the Catholic Church prohibited the selling of indulgences, though they are still offered for good works and at various celebrations. It was also at this Council that the doctrine of purgatory became official church doctrine - before this time it was disputed within the church, though broadly accepted.

Where does this idea come from?

We've already established that the Bible views our sins as severe and that God's justice requires that they be dealt with, but the doctrine of purgatory is quite specific.

The argument mostly arose from the Catholic Church's evolving view of the importance of confession. James 5:16 says "confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed." The word translated 'healed' can be translated as 'made whole' or 'saved', and it came to be seen as a part of salvation, to be taken by a member of the clergy. That in turn led many theologians to ponder over what would happen regarding a genuine believer's sins that hadn't been confessed before death, and ultimately led to conclusions that they must be dealt with in the afterlife.

We would certainly agree with James that it is good and wise to "confess [our] sins in order to be healed". This is one of the key components in our mutual discipleship, and it's one of the main ways that we fight sin, by bringing it to light with friends who can pray for us, challenge us and encourage us but confession is not, in itself, part of our justification.

But it's important to recognise that James says that we should confess in order to be healed because we already know we will be forgiven when we sin (vv 15-16: "...if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another..."). The point isn't that the confession causes our forgiveness, but that our forgiveness grounds our confession. Jesus has forgiven us and we are free of our sin, therefore we can seek healing and freedom through confession to "one another" (verse 16).

The one key text used to defend purgatory specifically (rather than confession, as above) is 1 Corinthians 3:15: "If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire." They say that this experience of suffering loss, of being saved as through fire, is describing a time when we will have to make up for shortcomings in purgatory, but still be saved.

We should note, this fire is burning up work, not people, and the fire is applied equally to everyone's works, whether they suffer loss or not. Paul is addressing the church being divided by "jealousy and strife" (verse 3), where people are forming factions and some of the motivation for the works being performed is for that cause, rather than in faith to Jesus. Paul tells them that their works will be judged and uses the image of fire to explain it. The fire clears all the rubbish away to reveal what will last forever. The ones who suffer loss here are the ones who realise how much they wasted their efforts on works like straw instead of gold and jewels.

Jesus can say to the thief on the cross "today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43), Paul could say "to live is Christ and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21). Whenever Jesus talks of our death, the separation is always between judgment or celebration. There is not a single text in the Bible that would lead me to believe in a third state. 

Conclusion


I mentioned at the start the difficulty of balancing out the mercy of God and the goodness of God, and how difficult it can be to see how they fit together, but the place where it becomes clearest is at the cross.

When Paul was writing his letter to the Romans, one of the big problems he had to deal with in expressing the goodness of God is that He keeps saving people! God had been saving people long before Jesus came, and people were struggling to understand how He could do so and remain good and just, but Jesus died on the cross "to show his righteousness, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" Romans 3:26

Going back to Exodus 34:6-7, we see how gloriously it's been fulfilled. When Jesus died, He took the punishment for our sins. When God sees his children in Christ by faith, He is "abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness" towards them, "forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin", but "by no means [will He simply] clear the guilty".

Universalism cannot cope with God's sheer goodness, righteousness and justice and Purgatory cannot cope with God's sheer grace, forgiveness and love, but the cross is where we can see all of God's perfections come together.