In 2010, after attending a Bible conference in West Virginia, our family went to visit New York City. Pastor Dennis Kiszonas graciously offered to be our guide for a tour of the city. Since we were staying in New Jersey with a dear friend, I asked Pastor Kiszonas if we could stop by Star of Hope Mission in nearby Paterson before going into the city. Pastor Cornelius R. Stam spent much of his childhood working at this mission with his father, Peter, who founded it in 1913. In that day, missionaries and well-known preachers came to Star of Hope and faithfully preached the Word with clarity and authority. Many were saved through this ministry’s zeal for the Word of God and the unadulterated gospel of grace.
Arriving at the mission and going through the front door, I noticed a picture of Peter Stam prominently displayed in the foyer. However, right away I could see that the mission was no longer about proclaiming the Word of God. It had become a mission which was meeting only the community’s need for food and clothing. While this is admirable, how much more important are the spiritual needs of the soul? Star of Hope had been founded to preach the Word with a burden for the salvation of souls, but they’ve turned away from this original purpose to focus on meeting physical needs. In old pictures we have here at BBS, around the auditorium of Star of Hope were Bible verses painted at the top of the walls, verses such as Hebrews 2:3: “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation.” As we toured the building, we saw boxes of food and clothing stacked high, blocking those verses and making them barely visible.
It reminded me how, over time, a ministry can lose sight of its primary purpose and how easy it is for other things and programs to take the place of what is most important: the eternal destiny of souls and the Word of God. What about the ministry you’re involved with? Is the gospel of the grace of God and preaching the Word, rightly divided, the main purpose? When many of the Lord’s followers left Him during His earthly ministry, He asked the twelve, “Will ye also go away?” (John 6:67). Will we also go away from the Lord in His heavenly ministry and from the things that matter most to Him? May it never be. source