(…in the Church or the Christian’s walk…)
When, love is often talked about but not so seldom seen,
When purses are healthy but the offering bags are lean,
When quantity’s viewed as more important than quality,
Or when truth is sacriﬁced for the sake of unity.
When, the noise inside the church sounds the same as that outside,
When one’s cries have gone unheard and the backdoor’s open wide,
When preaching delivers what’s liked rather than what’s needed,
Or when biblical instruction’s ignored rather than heeded.
When, one’s music and the world’s are difﬁcult to tell apart,
When one’s walk is more in the head and lesser in the heart,
When what’s on TV is studied more than what’s in God’s Word,
Or when one’s busily repeating what they’ve overheard.
When, the salt has lost its saltiness and the light’s a mere glow,
When material interests, divided loyalties show,
When behaviour in worship’s more laidback and less reﬁned,
Or when beat that stirs the body hinders what should stir the mind.
When, personal rights and desires ﬁgure more than the Lord’s,
When one seldom says an “Amen,” but frequently applauds,
When ampliﬁcation robs worshippers of meditation,
Or when the peripheral encroaches on revelation.
When, preaching seeks to satisfy rather than sanctify,
When rather than saying “Yes,” one’s more inclined to ask “Why?”
When discipline is seen as a violation of one’s rights,
Or when it’s amusements and not the Scriptures that excites.
When, one’s Bible looks like a novel and reads as commonly,
When lower necklines and higher hemlines displace modesty,
When preaching simply lulls and strokes rather than warns and spurs,
Or when a holy and unholy mixture, God’s will blurs.
When, one’s seat is used far more regularly than one’s knees,
When it’s others or self, rather than God, one seeks to please,
When it’s thought God’s grace covers sin and not just the sinner,
Or when the membership’s not growing but getting thinner.
When, dressing up for church is less common than dressing down,
When instead of a preacher there’s an actor or a clown,
When instead of joy and peace there’s a discontented frown,
Or when the voice of the majority attempts to drown.
When, there’s a pandering to the younger generation,
When instead of compassion and mercy there’s condemnation,
When there’s a harsh debate rather than a conversation,
Or when there is little taste for reconciliation.
When, those who speak out are maligned rather than encouraged,
When compromise is common and talking straight’s discouraged,
When it’s “End justiﬁes the means,” rather than trust and prayer,
Or when visitation and outreach are a spasmodic affair.
When, sin is left unchecked and not called by its rightful name,
When it’s heresy, rather than truth, that leaders proclaim,
When silence and inaction let injustices arise,
Or when man’s word, not God’s Word, any seek to emphasize.
Yes, something’s amiss alright!
Nancy DeMoss has a sermon that follows the same theme called "Begin at My Sanctuary," that you would enjoy reading if you were touched by this poem.
For more about the author and his “Poems With Mission,” check his website: