Reaching young people is amazing. 2018 marks thirty years since Kings was planted. In this time a whole generation of kids and young people have grown up amongst us, left home and are influencing the world around them. In this collage we’ve captured a small snapshot of the first generation that has grown up at Kings.
I’m a proper Hampden Park girl. I went to school at Parklands, bought my penny sweets in Paper Lane and have been feeding those ducks in the park since I was born!
I’m one of four kids, we lived with my mum and went to my Dad’s on the weekend. Church wasn’t part of our lives, it was just something our grandparents did because that’s what grandparents do.
As a teenager, I struggled with anger and depression. I was rebellious and sinking into some dangerous habits. I had no motivation for life. Although I didn’t know at the time, I was craving acceptance, belonging and purpose.
One night, some mates of mine dared me to knock on the door of a house we walked past with an Alpha Course poster in the window. We had no idea what it was about and were greeted by a very excited, jolly Belinda who explained it was about God!! She was really nice, but church and God was not for us.
“I was a pretty dodgy and intimidating teenager and yet I was welcomed with open arms.”
I lived just up the road and for about a year I’d bump into her out and about every so often until one day she invited me to help paint the local scout hut as part of an outreach weekend. Something intrigued me, so I went along.
I was 16 at this point and off the back of painting the scout hut, Belinda invited me to Kings. After about a month of coming on Sundays, meeting some very lovely people and quizzing Belinda on what this was all about, I chose to follow Jesus.
This decision changed the course of my life. I had nothing going for me, I had given up on myself and yet He pursued me, redeemed my life from the pit and crowned me with love and compassion.
I’ve had some amazing blessings and times of pure joy, I’ve also had some really dark and tough times too. There are no promises that the Christian life is easy, but He has always provided me with exactly what I’ve needed to get through, and always in such a personalised way.
Kings was a great environment to figure out what this all meant, equipping me for life and laying the foundations of my faith that still hold strong today.
“This decision changed the course of my life. I had nothing going for me, I had given up on myself ”
It felt like I was involved in every part of Kings life. I was loved and cared for by so many people of different ages and backgrounds. I was a pretty dodgy and intimidating teenager and yet I was welcomed and embraced with open arms.
I was at Kings for about two years before I moved to London to do Impact (a Christian discipleship gap year) and serve on projects with local young people and the homeless.
I still live in London with my husband Ben. We’re involved in church planting in Lewisham borough, with a real heart for the community, particularly the issue of serious youth violence.
When I was younger I found it hard to stick with anything for very long, but by the grace of God, who has been not letting me go for nearly 15 years, I’m approaching my 10th wedding anniversary, have had quite a successful career as a quantity surveyor working for award winning companies and got myself one of those fancy university degrees.
As a teenager, I never could have imagined the experiences that God has brought me through and the adventures He takes me on. I’m thankful for His consistent provision and pursuit of me.
Before the iPhone, SnapChat or the internet, there was Kings! Planted in the 80s, in the age of the Rubix Cube, Ceefax and the Commodore 64, Kings Church began in Old Town, in a house, with just eighteen people.
On 4th September 1988 we had our first meeting in Ratton School. We’ve since planted two new venues and in October 2017 we celebrated twenty years since we had our very first Sunday meeting at the Kings Centre.
↑ First meetings in Ratton School, 1988
Back then just 170 adults gave enough money to purchase the Kings Centre for £570,000. Even though we raised the money there were many obstacles to overcome, it was a roller coaster ride and against all the odds. But God came through and we secured the building.
We rattled around in this massive tin shack and set about converting an old carpet warehouse into something much more special. It was just the beginning!
We were driven by a vision. Our founding leader, Don, would regularly warn us that if we didn’t reach young people our church would die out within a generation.
We ran Evolution and brought the kids from the surrounding estates on double-decker buses. We ran Kids Klub and did ‘home visiting’. We ran Sports Klubs, Holiday Clubs and S.T.O.R.M. youth groups (‘Spiritual Teenagers On Radical Mission!’). All of this was week-in, week-out; slowly but surely seeing God work and transform lives. In this a whole host of young people have grown up at Kings, now in their twenties and thirties. Many have their own kids, are sold-out for Jesus and living lives where they’re making a difference in the world around them.
“we’re living downstream of the incredible generosity and vision of those that came before.”
We’ve seen amazing fruit over the last twenty years, and not just in the youth work. In fact, our whole church looks totally different. And while it’s involved the heart and soul of hundreds of amazing volunteers at Kings, over two decades (!), it was all made possible by the pioneers who purchased our first permanent base.
For the hundreds that have joined us since, we’re living downstream of the incredible generosity and vision of those that came before.
↑ 1990: Town Centre outreach and church picnic in Gildredge Park
Churches grow, visions grow
When we first moved into the Centre, it felt massive, and there was 40% of the building we didn’t think we would use. Ever. It’s amazing to think how much things have changed. Now every nook and cranny has been maxed out — the Centre has been a fantastic resource.
And yet we have an opportunity to do so much more with what we already have. With a thoughtful redesign and a change in the way we use the building, we could carve out a tool that will help us be much more effective in reaching Eastbourne.
Over the last twenty years we’ve used Kings as a conference centre, hiring out the rooms and facilities. Last year it contributed £121,000 to our income as a church. But while it’s been amazing in this respect, a conference centre is never going to change the face of Eastbourne. In fact, we increasingly feel it’s now inhibiting our focus.
“We have a big vision: to reach families and eradicate loneliness…”
Questions have been asked: should we move? Should we build a bigger venue, or look for an extra one? When we sought God in this he never spoke about going somewhere else. Our leaders took some time out to go on a retreat in 2016 and felt God speak:
“All that you have is in the house. I gave you the building, it’s now time to start using it in line with the vision.”
We know that right now we are meant to remain at the Kings Centre and pursue the vision here.
Using the building in line with the vision
We have a big vision: to reach families and eradicate loneliness, to give every teenager a second chance and every unborn child the chance of life. It’s time to transform the Centre into a bespoke building tailored to the purposes of God.
The decision has been made: we’re downgrading the conference centre and building a family centre instead. We’ll be taking back the space we’re currently renting out and using it for the mission of the church. On paper it’s a big risk but we know the safest place to be is right at the centre of God’s will — whatever that looks like. But it will require two things from all of us: courage and devotion — the same spirit that marked us out in the early days.
It’s time to upgrade!
The redesign and re-purposing of the building also makes good sense. While the Centre might look okay on the surface, behind the scenes there’s a lot of restoration that needs taking place. Leaking roofs, broken boilers, holes in the sports hall floor… the list is extensive. Everything in the building is at least twenty years old and has come to the end of its life.
So why just reinvest in like for like? People love to upgrade their technology, their houses and cars; and often for good reasons. Families grow, needs change. Now we need to upgrade our building! This is a great time to change gears, re-imagine and go full throttle into the next two decades with a building fully equipped to serve our town and reach people with the good news of Jesus.
The plans for the redevelopment of Kings are currently underway. Watch this space for more information soon!
We have produced a 12 page study guide for life groups this term as we go through our Ten teaching series on the Ten Commandments. You can pick a booklet up from the Kings Centre, or you can download a PDF here:
God’s law is perfect wisdom, perfect love. It’s written on our hearts and woven into the very fabric of the Universe. Jesus has completed it all for us, and we experience amazing grace as we follow him.
And yet God’s law is not to be ignored or thrown away. In fact, the law is eternal and will never be erased. Like the laws that govern gravity, fire or electricity, we can harness their power or we can ignore them at great risk.
God’s laws are so expertly knitted into the world around us that they cannot be cast aside. They are part of his perfect and incredible design. Whenever we go against them we naturally experience chaos, pain and destruction. But when we understand the life and freedom they bring, we can received unparalleled peace and joy.
No longer is the law an impossible set of rules to keep — they have become a picture of Jesus, who’s likeness we are being transformed into.
The 10 Commandments are a gift from God. Over 10 weeks we will explore their life-giving power and how they can transform and equip us for a lifetime of following Jesus.
Starting 14th October at Hampden Park and Centro, with all talks made available online at www.kings.church/teaching
We look forward to seeing you at Kings!
The sponsorship programme continues to bless families and educate the children of Trenance in Bulawayo. Thank you so much to the members of Kings Church Eastbourne and Seaford for your continued support.
It has been a challenging year for the teachers because not only has the government completely changed the curriculum, the school has also had to come under the direction of the local primary school Headteacher.
She oversees all the planning ideas and documentation so the teachers are sometimes working very long hours. The education department have also insisted on a fully qualified teacher being employed at the school. She will start work in January and take on some of the administrative duties. We are hoping she will take on the responsibility of writing reports on individual children and events at the school and relay them back to the UK on a regular basis.
The change in the curriculum is quite worrying because all of the teaching had been focused around Bible stories and characters but Samu has assured us that they have kept as much of the Christian content as possible and continue to add in stories from the Bible during free periods and maintain the Christian ethos of the school. We will be interested to see how it is all working out when we visit in March with Graham and Belinda.
Rhey have also had challenges with break-ins to the church building where the school meets. The last one resulted in the CD player being taken along with some dollies!
↑ Sitting outside of the museum.
↑ Ma Phiri and children in front of a stuffed Kudu in the museum.
Despite all of this the teachers try to maintain the high standard of education we expect from them and in November they took the children to the local Museum, a small zoo and swimming in the local pool. A unique experience for most of them. Very few children in Zim swim as it is a landlocked country and suffers from water shortages so we would have loved to have been there to see their faces!
At the beginning of December the ECD “B” children graduated and will start at the Primary school at the beginning of January. The graduation ceremony is always a “big” occasion for the school and especially the children. They perform for their parents and various dignitaries and receive a certificate to say that they have completed two years of early years education.
Sadly, the only video that successfully came through is of the children greeting the parents!
↑ The children preparing to go home on the combi (bus).
The teachers and children now have a well earned break for a few weeks which is their summer holiday. Please pray for rain for them as up to now they have had none. They plant their maize at the end of November, in anticipation of the first rains but so far there has been nothing so the seed will just shrivel.
There are 24 children registered on the waiting list for January so we are in need of a lot more sponsors! So please spread the news to friends and family. It is easy to register — you can sign up by filling out this simple form:
We hope this letter has kept you informed and inspired you to keep supporting the project.Please keep praying for your children in these uncertain times in Zimbabwe and also for the teachers and Taurai, the pastor of the church. They need wisdom and the Holy Spirits guidance to lead these children in the ways of God and support them in, sometimes, very challenging home situations.
To find out more about our child sponsorship program in Zimbabwe visit our Inkosi Kids webpage.