Keith Wishum: Something has to be done
Something had to be done. Church was getting boring and not a few members were on the way out. Some had already quit. Others were starting to skip church, only showing up occasionally. A general malaise seeped into the soul.
Something had to be done. The initial flame of enthusiasm for their faith had burned low. Hardly a flicker was left. These Christians were tired and rapidly falling back into old ways of life. Many were in danger of not surviving.
Something had to be done. The church wasn’t growing. New converts weren’t coming in because the old ones weren’t growing either. They remained weak and immature. The future of the church hung precariously in the balance.
Something had to be done. But what? Hire a new preacher? One with better jokes and a little more polish? Get a new worship style? More contemporary music? Perhaps a little drama and a light show?
Something had to be done. And God did it. He sent a sermon.
Yes, a sermon! Proclaiming that “the word of God is living and active” (Hebrews 4:12), he insisted that Christians move on from “elementary truths” to the “solid food” of Christian teaching. Taking them through a labyrinth of complicated logic including examples from obscure Old Testament characters, God provided the early Hebrew churches with something much more than “doctrine lite.”
His solution to their struggle was nothing superficial. It was 13 chapters (which he called a “short letter”!) of heavy teaching. No jokes. No PowerPoint. No dimmed lights. No band. Just teaching. Something had to be done and the solution was an intense reminder of why they had believed in the first place — a review of the reasons that committing to follow Jesus made sense.
Something has to be done. Many who label themselves “Christian” have little of the passionate zeal for God’s church that characterized Christ. Most Americans avoid church Sunday. Few churches are growing. Many in the pews are bored and restless, and not a few are slipping back into old, destructive lifestyles.
Something has to be done. We need our faith rebuilt. Not faith that’s just a feeling; faith that “is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). We must do the hard work of deciding deep down what is true.
Something has to be done. Will we do it?
Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road Church, Americus.