Building Up Men
Former Premier League footballer Gavin Peacock addressed more than 100 church leaders at FIEC’s Autumn London Gathering. Trevor Archer outlines the evening’s highlights and whets our appetite for listening to Gavin’s talks online.
As a Chelsea fan, it was a tremendous joy to welcome Gavin Peacock to our fourth London Leaders’ Gathering – an evening of ministry, fellowship and food – at Westminster Chapel.
Having begun his footballing career in 1984 with Queens Park Rangers, Gavin went on to play for Newcastle and Chelsea in the 1990s before retiring from the game at the end of the 2001/02 season.
In 2008 he and his wife, Amanda, relocated to Canada, where Gavin is currently Associate Pastor at Calvary Grace Church in Calgary. He is also Director of International Outreach at the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW).
Gavin had travelled to Britain for a week of events at London FIEC churches, speaking at evangelistic evenings for men, as well as giving talks aimed at encouraging Christian men in their work and faith.
Equipped for Leadership
After opening ministry in John 13 from Gerard Hemmings, the pastor of Amyand Park Chapel in Twickenham, Gavin spoke in two sessions about the importance of equipping Christian men for leadership in the home and in the church, citing it as one of the great needs of today, commenting that: “When men lead well, women flourish.”
He feared that mainstream evangelicalism was in danger of adopting the idea that distinctive gender roles in leadership are a curse resulting from The Fall. Referencing Ephesians 5, Gavin emphasised that men owning leadership was God-given: “A man failing to lead is a man leading in failure.” He went on to unpack how men could show leadership and support one another in exercising Biblical headship.
His own journey to Christ began at the age of 18 when he went to a local Methodist church service with his mother. The minister invited him to a youth meeting:
“I pulled up to that meeting in my Ford XR3i with the hair style to go with it! I had ‘everything’ – the career and the money. I was in the in-crowd. But when I heard those young people speak about Jesus Christ, and when they prayed, I realised there was a joy and a reality that they had that I didn’t.
Over subsequent weeks, I heard the minister unpack the gospel. I realised that my biggest problem wasn’t gaining the approval of a football crowd on a Saturday, I needed to get right with the living God. I realised that Christ, not football, was God. After that my whole professional football career, nearly 20 years, was spent following Christ.”
Now, years later, as husband to Amanda, father to a son and daughter, and pastor to a church, one of his greatest joys is ministering to men especially. “I don’t miss playing football, but I do miss the team spirit of the dressing room,” he admitted. “However, what a joy to gather men and build them up in the body of Christ.”
The FIEC London Gatherings have an emphasis on building a ‘band of brothers’ outlook among pastors and leaders in the capital, and a hot meal is a key part of that! So is time for catching up and making new friends. But there was also a slot for brief interviews with a number of leaders.
Howard Satterthwaite, Lead Elder at Westminster Chapel, spoke about the challenges of leading a church with a big history in a central location with a diverse population. He went on to outline the benefits of belonging to networks such as FIEC.
Co-Mission’s Director of Church Planter Training, Richard Perkins, and Adrian Yeboah talked about their plans for a new church in Peckham, where an estimated 32,000 people have yet to be reached with the gospel. Adrian explained that their plan was to especially train young black men for gospel ministry. Their launch team, which included four black British men, had been meeting for a few weeks.
Sam Gibb, Kevin Croft and Jonty Allcock spoke about Hope Church, a new plant in Vauxhall. Jonty explained how the initiative had come about with the support of several church networks building on work started by London City Mission over many years. Kevin has been working in the Vauxhall Gardens Estate as an LCM missioner and is excited that there is now a church family in that community that people could belong to. Sam, who will lead the church, added:
“I’m really encouraged and humbled to see a number of mature Christians considering giving up their comfortable lives elsewhere to join us in this church plant.”
So, all in all, a great evening together. Our next London Gathering will again be at Westminster Chapel from 4pm to 8pm on Thursday 14 February 2019 when Adrian Reynolds will be helping us think about Progress – lifelong growth for gospel workers.