Philosopher, Roger Scruton, is one of my top five favorite authors. In his latest book, Where We Are: The State of Britain Now he makes the following observation, which I believe applies not only to a nation but also to a church.
A country’s stability is enhanced by economic growth. But it depends far more upon a sense that we belong together, and that we will stand by each other during the real emergencies. In short, it relies on a legacy of social trust. Trust of this kind depends on a common territory, resolution in the face of external threat, and customs and institutions that foster collective decisions in response to the problems of the day. It is the sine qua non of enduring peace, and also the greatest asset of any people that possess it.