Lindale Church of Christ

In a town where it took 151 years to slowly grow a population to just 6,400 at present, I was curious how the Lindale church of Christ more than doubled its membership from about 150 to about 350 (and counting!) in only about six years or so. Praise God for “giving the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6), but what else was going on here? What I found out during our mid-November visit in 2022, was that much of the success of this thriving congregation is also due to what we find in the context of the above verse: Lots of “planting and watering” among God’s “fellow workers'' in “God’s field” (verses 5-9). If you are a visitor at Lindale, you stand a pretty good chance of being asked by one of the members if you’d like to look into the word of God together one on one. For those who are a resident at the Triumph Village, a mission that helps men whose lives have been derailed by substance abuse or other destructive behaviors, you are also offered a Bible study and will most certainly be welcomed to worship with this congregation!

What a beautiful example of what Jesus had in mind for the Kingdom of God when after He said, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the Kingdom of God!”, He then told the parable of a man who “was giving a big dinner, and he invited many; and at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’” But after invitee after invitee made excuse after excuse, the host “became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the slave said, ‘Master, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled...’” (Luke 14:15-24).

At the time of our visit, ten souls had come to Christ through God’s transformative word, and I had a great conversation with one of them, who now uses his worst mistakes to help other men also turn to Christ. What an inspiring reminder, from this brother in Christ, that any mountain can be overcome with a God who makes all things possible (Matthew 19:36; Philippians 4:13) for those who trust, obey, and love Him. Hallelujah! One of many things I learned through my own volunteer experience, as I talked one-on-one with victims of domestic violence, from prostitutes to drug addicts, to young trafficked girls, to the homeless, and everyone else in between, is that these hearts often open up and receive help much more readily from souls they can relate to, who know firsthand what it’s like to be in those miry, deep pits and find your way out. This is why we should so admire and appreciate those who reach out to others in need of the specific kinds of help they, too, have been lovingly given.

As we lunched at Posados Cafe for a couple of hours after worship with Lindale church of Christ’s preacher, Kris Emerson, I shared that I’d been praying for divine intervention to grant him the vast mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical energy needed to maintain this community outreach, to integrate all these new believers into God’s family, to keep putting out the quality of podcasts he does, and to keep up with all the invitations to speak in congregations all over the country. Kris’s response brought relief to my heart and I believe also contained the answer to my curiosity around this congregation’s exceptional growth. He shared that while it is challenging to keep on top of everything, it was not as exhausting as I was imagining for this fundamental reason: much of his local work is growing itself because this church family knows and shows that God’s plan in Ephesians 4:15-16 works! In other words, this congregation is growing because of the “proper working of each individual part”. This is the secret sauce that “causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love”, for no amount of diligence on the part of a preacher can make up for a lack of the “proper working of each individual part”. And what fulfilling and rewarding work these individuals have undertaken! They get to watch before their eyes, souls come back to life, finally feeling a foundation under their feet firm enough to build a life on, to enjoy being in the stability of God’s family, and to be cherished.

If you're not familiar yet with Kris Emerson's Excel Still More podcast, I'd invite you to take it out for a test drive! I think you’ll find it to be a great supplement to your daily Bible reading for its treasure trove of practical ideas that can help you develop a warm and productive relationship with God. What this humble man does so well is to find the best “how to” books that have borrowed biblical virtues and principles and returns the author’s very practical applications in those books back into Christian living to help listeners accomplish not merely earthly pursuits, but the spiritual goals that will pay off for all eternity. As I complete this entry, Kris’s podcast is in the top five percent of all podcasts with about 365,000 listens in over 123 countries! Don’t you love it when the humble guy wins?

Lindale Church of Christ
211 W. Hubbard St.
Lindale, TX 75771
(903) 882-6455