Thirtyone:eight Report on The Crowded House

I welcome the Thirtyone:eight report on The Crowded House in Sheffield along with the opportunity the review process gave for so many people to tell their story and share their experience of the church’s culture. I fully accept the report’s findings, and I want to thank the review team for their diligence and care.

I want to express my profound apologies to all those who have been hurt by The Crowded House. I was part of the wider network of churches from 2000 and was an elder of the Sharrowvale congregation in Sheffield between 2010 and 2015. While there are things in the report of which I was unaware, it is also clear to me that at times I failed to take the action I should have taken. I am deeply sorry for this. I acknowledge my failings and offer my sincere apologies to all those affected.

While I remain committed to the broad principles underlying the vision of The Crowded House and Total Church, I want to take time to reflect in the light of the report on how these principles should best be implemented. There are important lessons for me to learn and I want to let these shape my future ministry as well as exploring with my current church what changes we need to make. To allow us prayerfully to consider our next steps, I will not be making any further comment at this time. I also want to express my gratitude to Grace Church Boroughbridge for their on-going support and to my fellow elders who, having read the report, have expressed their continued confidence in my leadership

New advent book: Fixated

I have a new advent book out from 10Publishing. There are 24 readings based on the opening chapters of Hebrews which encourage us to fix our eyes on Jesus and his incarnation.

It’s available here from 10ofThose for just £3.99 with some great discounts for bulk purchases.

Here’s the blurb …

We all know that Jesus ought to be the focus of our celebration at Christmas. And yet, we so easily fall into the trap of sidelining Him each year.

In these 24 Advent devotions, Tim Chester encourages us to look away from the distractions of our culture and instead, be engrossed by Jesus. This might not sound very practical, but it is life-changing. Using the opening chapters of Hebrews as a tour guide, these devotions show us the key sights of the Lord’s glory and invite us to fix our eyes on Jesus this Christmas.

New Good Book Guide on the Lord’s Prayer

I’ve written a Bible study guide on the Lord’s Prayer which is published today by the Good Book Company. It’s a series of seven studies entitled Talking to our Father: Praying and Living the Lord’s Prayer. Here’s the blurb:

In these studies, Tim Chester helps small groups to examine the Lord’s Prayer line by line, exploring other passages in Matthew’s Gospel along the way.

As we learn more about the prayer Jesus taught us, we’ll get to know God better and seek to live according to his purposes.

Each study is designed to last between 1 and 1.5 hours, but can alternatively be split into two sessions. Contains ideas for starter discussions and for personal and group prayer as well as a focus on practical application. Substantial leader’s guide included.


New book: John Stott on the Christian Life

Stott on the Christian Life is published today by Crossway as part of their Theologians of the Christian Life series. It was a great privilege to be commissioned to write this book and a great joy to write it. Here’s the blurb:

John Stott was a twentieth-century pastor-theologian widely hailed for his heart for missions and expository preaching. Even today, Stott’s legacy continues to influence churches around the world. As both a faithful preacher and a thoughtful writer, Stott profoundly shaped evangelicalism’s contemporary understanding of Christianity through an approach to the Christian life founded on the word, shaped by the cross, and characterized by the pursuit of Christlikeness in every area of life. Tim Chester invites a new generation of readers to experience the Christian life as John Stott envisioned it—not simply a theological puzzle to be solved, but the daily practice of humble service and compassion found in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Here are some commendations:

“Fifty years ago, I became a Christian through reading John Stott’s Basic Christianity. Since then, Stott’s books and sermons have been my closest companions. If we could be allowed but one mentor to grow us into Christlikeness, John Stott would be at the top of my list. I am so very grateful to Tim Chester for summarizing Stott’s theological contributions in a manner that is exceptionally well done. Reading this book was a profoundly moving experience.”
Derek W. H. Thomas, Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina; author, Let’s Study Revelation and Let’s Study Galatians

“John Stott was, of course, an inspiring leader and Christian disciple. But what made his legacy so powerful was that he was also a master of the distilled theological summary, the result of his deep wrestling with the Scriptures. His crystal clarity was always hard-won. Tim Chester has achieved the almost impossible by distilling a lifetime’s ministry into a highly accessible and, above all, heartwarming book. We have so much to learn from Stott, and I am confident that this book will open up his legacy for a new generation. I am so grateful for Chester’s work and this book, and I thoroughly recommend it.”
Mark Meynell, Director (Europe and Caribbean), Langham Preaching; editor, The Preacher’s Notebook: The Collected Quotes, Illustrations, and Prayers of John Stott

“Why should anyone read John Stott these days? Tim Chester’s book provides abundant reason and motivation. While not a biography, it tracks the sources and maturing of Stott’s thinking along the historic contours of his immense lifetime’s ministry, and across the breadth of his spiritual passions and intellectual profundity. Thoroughly researched and meticulously documented, this is a superb introduction to one of the greatest yet most humble leaders God has ever gifted to his church—comprehensively worthy of the man himself while glorifying Christ, as he would have wanted. If you knew John Stott, relish the spiritual challenge and tonic of journeying with him through this book. If you didn’t, start here! You will be enriched, informed, and inspired.”
Christopher J. H. Wright, International Ministries Director, Langham Partnership

“John Stott towered over sixty years of global evangelicalism. This is the best examination of his theology of the Christian life, full of insight and practical helpfulness.”
Julian Hardyman, Senior Pastor, Eden Baptist Church, Cambridge, United Kingdom

“This highly readable book invites us into the life and teaching of John Stott. It interprets for us the social, ecclesial, and theological contexts Stott navigated through the course of his ministry. Drawing on a broad range of Stott’s writing, this book vibrantly conveys the central emphases and methods of his thinking, preaching, and institutional leadership—challenging readers to consider how the pursuit of Christlikeness takes visible shape in a life of service, obedience, and humility.”
Laura S. Meitzner Yoder, Director and John Stott Chair of Human Needs and Global Resources, Professor of Environmental Studies, Wheaton College

New Michael J Tinker children songs: Be Strong and Courageous

Michael J Tinker has a new single out on Wednesday with two songs: “Be Strong and Courageous” and “Let Your Light Shine”. I’ve had a sneak preview and they’re both fun, energetic and biblical – all you would expect from MJT songs. You can pre-order now from iTunes. The more pre-orders that are made, the more likely it will be to hit the children’s chart!

Here’s what the press release says …

Michael J Tinker is releasing a brand new single. Commissioned by the children of Crabtree Church, Harpenden, the brief was given for an upbeat, rocking song charting God’s faithfulness and His call for us to be ‘strong and courageous’. Michael then set about looking through all the references in the Bible of the phrase and what reasons were given to be strong. What he found was that none of it was to do with our own strength, but what God has done, His faithfulness, His love, His strength, power and provision. Each line of the chorus is a quote or reference from across the Bible showing how that is true.

At a time of uncertainty, unrest and confusion this seems a particularly prescient message. As the first verse goes:

Be strong when worries pile up high
Be strong when things happen and you don’t know why
Be strong when you don’t know what to do
For the Lord will be with you

As for the style, what could be more upbeat and rocking than the big sound of Bruce Springsteen! Michael channels the Boss’ gruff vocals while producer nicholas alexander perfectly captures the E-Street band’s massive sound. The track is rounded off with vocals of children from across the world who sent in their recordings when Michael put the shout out on his daily livestream.

Another thing that came from the livestream was the cover design. Michael ran a competition and the winner was 9 year old Emma.

The B-Side of the single is a song co-written with writer Tim Chester, based on Matthew 5:16 written for a Peak District Primary School to help them learn about their school motto ‘Let Your Light Shine’.