I Heard A Still Small Voice
A Small Voice Can Reveal Our Need For Transformation
by Eric Elkin
An article in the Star Tribune profiling the decline of Christianity in the metro area caught my attention. The evidence the reporter used to mark this decline was not some national study, but statistics drawn from a more familiar source. The ritual of closing local churches, across denominational lines. These once thriving congregations were too small to operate anymore.
A few paragraphs into the story, I needed to set it down and walk away. The news was too depressing. I was getting ready to deliver a sermon. Nothing gets you jacked up to preach quite like being shown the irrelevancy of your work.
The stories about the decline of faith make it feel depressing to be a pastor. In some ways, I feel a kindred spirit with those leaders charged with turning around Kmart stores. Congregations are getting older. Families choose a host of other options over worship. Fewer young adults are going into ministry.
In the midst of despair, though, I heard a still small voice in the silence.
A young woman wrote a beautiful post about her time at a Christian camp. Her story began by saying she never realized what camp would mean to her. She never imagined the community of friends she would have or how much faith would become a part of her life. Faith was her source of joy, strength, and hope.
The adult world sees summer camp as a childish thing. But, as this young woman testified, camps have something to teach not only the Church but the greater society.
In a summer camp, staff are taught to welcome the stranger. Welcome is more than a smile and a greeting. It is pulling together a fragmented group of strangers into one caring community. This community is not limited to a single cabin group; it is a whole session of cabin groups.
These communities are taught to solve conflict and practice reconciliation. Campers and staff learn to respect each other and to practice genuine love for people they have nothing in common with apart from the immediate context. Time is set aside every day to give thanks for the gift of life. Time is also reserved for singing, laughing, and exploring.
The small voice of a teen reflecting on summer camp renewed my spirit. She reminded me of the hope, purpose, and reason why I preach and serve. Faith is not about being popular, but transformative to the human soul. And, we live in a world desperate for transformation.
Click to read 1 Kings 19: 1-18
- What causes you to feel hopeless?
- When has a small voice helped you discover hope?
- How does God speak to you?
- Where do you desire transformation in your life?