St. Luke Church of God in Christ: Founder and Mission

Elder Luke Austin

The life of Elder Luke Austin is characterized by sound teaching in precept as well as example. His wise sayings personify a man of faith, integrity and prayer. While his preaching many times pierced as a “two-edged sword,” his love for God’s people brought healing and drew many to a life of faith in Jesus Christ. In this book, you will read God’s counsel as Elder Austin preached it. You will realize that he sincerely believed in the Bible as the definitive guide for life.

Luke Austin was born in Shelby, Mississippi in 1908. He moved to Chicago in 1923, with his younger brother, in search of better working and living opportunities. Luke Austin was introduced to holiness through a co-worker whose life greatly inspired him.

In 1942, God called Elder Austin to found the St. Luke Church of God in Christ on a small area of land on the near north side. Starting with only two members, by 1968, Luke and Addie had built the largest Black holiness church on the near north side of Chicago. Elder Austin was known for his seriousness, timeliness and his relentless commitment to order. His straightforward style of preaching distinguished him from other preachers in the Chicago area. Elder Austin’s candor in preaching enables us to gain clear insight into key Black holiness thoughts of his time and to understand the evolution of holiness thoughts in this time.

PREACH is a book of bite-size nuggets of truth – spoken by the Elder Luke Austin during his 35 years of pastoral ministries at the St. Luke Church of God in Christ – Chicago, Illinois. It is written for KINGDOM-SEEKERS. Matthew 6:33 says – “Seek ye first the Kingdom of GOD and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Digest the nuggets; they will be vitamins for your soul.

Church History

At St. Luke our primary goal is to represent Christ as His body here on earth. Thus, our hands are His hands - our feet, His feet - our tongues, His tongue - our bodies, His body - to be used to bring Him honor and glory.

You will find that we emphasize the high standard of God, namely His Holiness. The Holy Scriptures teach:

"But, as He who has called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation,   Because it is written,  Be ye holy; for I am Holy." - I Peter 1:15,16

"Follow peace with all men, and HOLINESS, without which no man shall see the Lord." - Hebrews 12:14 

These Scriptures are sufficient to show that we are concerned about becoming the holy people God requires us to be, for we are created for his pleasure according to Revelation 4:11.

The St. Luke Church of God in Christ was founded by Elder Luke Austin, September 22, 1942.

Elder Austin was born in Shelby, Mississippi in 1908, moved to Chicago in 1923, and married Miss Addie Harris in 1928.  The Lord saved Elder Austin in 1931.  Under the leadership of Bishop Eleazer Lenox, Elder Austin served the Lord for eleven years as a faithful church member, choir member, deacon and minister.

Being zealous for God, he came to the north side of Chicago in 1942 and opened a little mission at 971 N. Franklin Street, with only his wife at his side.  Through their faith in God, hard work, and perseverance, the mission grew.  In 1943, the church moved to 900 N. Orleans.  This mission was rented for $25.00 per month.  A few years later, the Lord blessed Elder Austin to purchase the lot at 914 N Orleans.  Bishop Charles Harrison Mason, the founder of the Churches of God in Christ, came to this lot – filled with rubbish and prayed God’s blessing.  He said, “This place is going to be a blessed place; God is going to bless this place.”  And bless it, God did.  In 1962, a major portion of the edifice that stands today was built.

Faithful members gave as God blessed them.  Some sold potato chips, skins, popcorn, etc., under a little tent on the corner in order to give a donation to the church.  Mother Austin went out regularly on the street and gathered the little children to sing praises and listen to the Word of God.  With this effective effort to become directly involved in people’s lives, the membership continued to increase.

Elder Luke Austin believed in prayer and preached the Word of God as plainly as possible.  In the ministry, he was a giant who pastored a progressive church to the glory of God until his death – May 10, 1978.

On May 14, 1978, the late Bishop Freeman Guy Green of the Fifth Jurisdiction of Illinois officially appointed – Elder James C. Austin, Sr. – son of the founder – as pastor of the St Luke Family.  He is a graduate of the University of Illinois, with a Bachelor of Science degree.  Taking up the baton of holiness, even as his father carried it, Pastor Austin has demonstrated a genuine concern for souls.

Bishop Austin has a vision of building a Monument of Holiness.  This Monument will be an enduring work, an energetic organization, a spiritual body which will attract masses of people for the purpose of praising and promoting the beauty of holiness.  This vision is coming quickly to fruition.

The little mission which began on North Franklin is now the largest Pentecostal church body on the near north side of Chicago.  This church seeks to 1) strengthen the individual and the family, 2) edify the church, and 3) reach out to the residents of the community and world – all to the glory of God.

For more information visit St. Luke’s official website at