The ‘Tate’ Family

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” Philippians 2:3-4

In the early 1980’s Karen and I were introduced to children’s ministry by the English evangelist David Iliffe. One of the talks that he did in the mission he ran at Christ Church Hillbrow was called the ‘Tate’ family. Using pictures of potatoes that he put up on a magnetic board we quickly learnt about the ‘Tate’s’ we shouldn’t be and the ‘Tate’s’ we ought to be. You’ll probably recognize a number of these ‘Tate’s’ in the congregation you attend.

Grandpa Dictate wants to run everything his own way. It’s his way or the highway. Nothing happens without his say.

Grandpa Dictate has a younger brother named Potentate. He’s also a big shot who likes to call the shots.

Then there’s Uncle Rotate. He’s never happy with anything. He’s always trying to turn things around. His sister, Aunt Agitate is no different. She takes every opportunity to stir up trouble and along with their half brother, Irritate, they make a deadly trio.

Cousin Hesitate, who never gets around to anything, and cousin Vegetate, who hates any kind of change, quickly pour cold water on whatever the family proposes. They get along well with Uncle Spectate. He’s happy to sit on the sidelines and watch.

Aunt Agitate’s brother-in-law, Mr. Imitate, thinks our church should copy what goes on in other churches and is convinced that what’s successful in those churches will be successful in ours.

When it comes to preparing the annual budget, brother Devastate is inclined to be pessimistic. His doom and gloom prophecies surface whenever money matters are discussed.

Fortunately not all the members of the ‘Tate’ family are thorns in the flesh. Miss Facilitate will help out at the drop of a hat. You can always count on her support. When something needs to be done, she gets stuck right in.

The pastor, Rev. Commentate, is always telling others about the love of Jesus. He takes every opportunity to preach and teach the good news. It’s obvious that something marvelous has happened to him and he can’t keep his mouth shut.

Behind the scenes, and possibly one of the most important members of the family, is sister Meditate. She’s quietly prayerful, regular in attendance, a keen student of God’s Word, and encouraging in all she says and does.

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