by Jim Weikal
Many Christian leaders dismiss the centrality of the Word of God; instead the central focus becomes programs – lots and lots of programs. In addition, pastors are counseled by church growth experts to trim the sermon, dismiss the doctrine, fatten the illustrations, lengthen the music, and spice up the visuals.
But have you ever examined the church at Antioch in Acts? It was founded by men who were “preaching the Lord Jesus” and a large number of Gentiles believed and “turned to the Lord” (Acts 11:20, 21). The mother church in Jerusalem sent Barnabas there to check things out, then he went to find Saul (Paul) who is in Tarsus. He brings Paul back to Antioch and for an entire year the two men teach the Word of God (Acts 11:26). The Great Commission from Jesus is to make disciples of all nations and to teach them all that Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:19-20).
Remember, it is this church in Antioch that sent Barnabas and Saul on their first missionary journey to evangelize the lost, establish churches, and make disciples (Acts 13:1-3).
I fear for the body of Christ today. If leaders do not return to the centrality of the Word to equip believers for the work, we might as well remove the pews and chairs and install adult-sized highchairs. As Jesus asked, “When the Son of man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Jim Weikal is a Biblical instructor at Bill Rudge Ministries.