Letters to a State, Volume 1, No. 2

This is blog is definitely “church talk” and may not be of interest to all my readers. But then again, perhaps it may. I think we all realize that all the progress and change in our world has come with price. Many of the things we once treasured and counted on have gone the way of the dinosaur.

But anyway, that’s a topic for another day. Following is my article for the October edition of “The Link” – the monthly newsletter for the Church of God in Illinois.

One more thing, the picture I’ve included with this blog is a picture of dad, me, and my son attending the 2012 South Carolina State Minister’s Meeting. It was dad’s last one. I’ll always treasure the fact that there were three generations of “Kemps” there that year.

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My dad, now a retired Church of God minister, loved State Minister’s Meeting.  He reveled in it.  He would pray and plan days ahead who he would vote for.  He carefully read any material that was sent out ahead of time and came prayerfully ready to debate the issues. 

To my dad, there was no higher honor than to be elected by your peers to serve on a State Board.  He was thrilled to be elected to both the Youth Board and the State Council for several terms throughout his career and took the responsibilities that came with it as a sacred trust.

Wonder of wonders, I was also elected to serve on these same boards and I don’t think dad would have been prouder of me if I’d been elected President of the United States of America.  I’ll never forget the first time I walked into the Council chamber at the South Carolina State Office after being elected to the State Council.  Having heard my dad describe his time on the Council, I felt like I was walking into the Holy of Holies.  Even though the dress code is greatly relaxed since my dad’s days on the Council I could never bring myself to show up for a Council meeting except in my Sunday best, I did it out of respect for my dad.

Bottom line, dad was a “churchman” – virtually his entire generation was.  They loved the church (in this case the Church of God) and was loyal to it to a fault.

For many years I must say, I did not have that same love for the church…but I loved dad.  It was my love for him that kept me connected to the church.  Now I have a son who is a minister in the Church of God.  Oh I pray that he will see the same loyalty and commitment in me that I saw in my dad.

Afterall, we are all loyal to something.  We are all committed to something.

I know denominations are out now and being independent or loosely associated or affiliated is in.  But as I watch ministers and their churches drift further and further apart I can’t help but think that maybe we’ve lost something…something sacred, special, even something vital.    

This month the ministers of the Church of God in Illinois will be gathering for their bi-annual ministers meeting on October 28-29 at our church in Champaign.  I am calling on all churchmen and churchwomen to give your best effort to be there.  And if, like I once was, being a churchman does not move you that much, come for the love of our fathers and mothers who have now passed the baton to us.  Come, let us present ourselves before the Lord.   

With Christian affection to all,

David L. Kemp

Administrative Bishop

Resource ideas

Podcast: Truth for Life (Sermons by Alister Begg) | I try to listen or read a sermon every day.  Alister Begg is one of my favorite preachers.  He is a master craftsman at rightly dividing the word of God and presenting it in an ordered and timely way.    

Book Recommendation: The Unwavering Pastor: Leading the Church with Grace in Divisive Times, Jonathan K. Dodson

Quote: “The most potent threat to Christianity never comes from those who blatantly attack its truths.  The greatest danger always comes from those who become ensnared in the creeping tentacles of comfortable secularity.  We never march purposefully into hell; we simply fall asleep on the slopes and slide in.” _Calvin Miller, Once Upon a Tree

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