Tates Creek Christian Church

Updates and Insights from Tates Creek Christian Church

Love is Vital

As I think about the subject of Vital Signs of a Healthy Church I find myself reflecting back on my 40 years spent in 4 different churches. Each of these churches had its own setting, ranging from the city church here at Tates Creek to the country church in a farming community, and from a West Virginia coal mining community to a Southern Illinois factory-supported community.   They were also set among vastly differing socio-economic situations, from the humblest mountain folks and country folks to the most professional such as the president of a syndicate of corporations located in New York City.     Each one of these congregations was firmly rooted in the principles and doctrines of the Restoration Movement, but as I look back, each one of them was the strongest and healthiest when one thing was present.  Now as effective as the music program was, that was not the one thing.  As competent and capable as the staff was, that was not the one thing.  As strong as the children’s and youth programs might have been, that was not the one thing, and as true and sound as the doctrine might have been, that, too, was not the one thing.  All these things are certainly present in a healthy church, but their presence without the one thing will not result in a church being healthy.     So what is that one thing?  Certainly you have figured it out by now.  It is Love.  Don’t you remember what the Apostle Paul said?  “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.   If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”  (I Corinthians 13:1-3)  I have seen, as I’m sure you have seen, love’s presence strengthening and saving churches even as I have seen churches torn apart and destroyed when love was absent.  Love conquers the greatest weaknesses in a church and love’s absence destroys its greatest strengths.  I consider myself so very fortunate to have served four healthy churches, and I can say without a doubt that the one thing that made them healthy was love.  That, brothers and sisters is what Paul told us as he said “the greatest of these is Love.”

~ Bro. Kim     kimbeckwith@tatescreek.org

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