It all happens so fast. One minute you’re sitting in worship singing, and the next minute you’re watching your friend, brother, co-pastor being loaded in an ambulance with a gunshot to the head.
Pastor Steve is one of the greatest men you could ever meet. He is kind, funny, has a huge heart for those in need, and is an incredible pastor. He loves being a minister more than anyone I know. Just last week he told me “I can’t believe I get to do this for my job”. Hundreds of people who have been in the toughest of situations have lives that are better because of him.
As I think about what happened last night, it’s all so…so…I’m not sure what word to use: pointless? terrifying? unfair? miraculous? real? That’s it. Real.
Ministry in a place like Waughtown is real. It’s raw. It can be frightening. And heartbreaking. But it’s also incredibly necessary. Sometimes taking Jesus’ love to the ends of the earth means taking it to a rough community in your own town. A place where crime happens. A place where kids are literally starving. A place where people get shot. A place that needs Jesus. Desperately.
Last night, in the emergency room, Pastor Steve said to me, “ I guess Waughtown needs a New Story even more than we thought”. He’s right.
When something traumatic like this happens, it’s perfectly normal to feel fear. And I know a lot of us are feeling that right now. That’s okay. It’s healthy. But if we let fear dominate us, evil wins. As many of us were in the waiting room last night praying for Steve, one of our New Storytellers asked if this would make us stop having a campus in Waughtown. Before I could answer, everyone gathered screamed out “No way. We are unstoppable”. Throughout the day people have called, texted, and emailed saying they stand with us and want to be a part of what we are doing to minister to those in need in Waughtown. I can’t describe how proud I am of the people of New Story church.
So, while it is very tempting to be paralyzed by fear, we’re not going to do that. Will we be extra careful? Of course. But we’re not going to stop what we’re doing just because it’s become Even More Real. We totally understand if there are those who feel that New Story Waughtown is a little too much on the front lines for them. We respect that. There are lots of other great ways to make a difference in this world. But for some, being on the front lines of changing the world is what they are called to do.
If that’s you, please come join with us as we fight the good fight. As we stand up to evil. As we live out the Bible verse that says “Perfect love casts out fear”. As we feed hungry kids and tell people about a guy named Jesus who can change their life forever. We need you. This Monday during our Waughtown worship service, we’ll talk together about this. We’ll celebrate the miracles that took place in the midst of all this. We’ll feed hungry people. And together we will stand up to evil and make this world just a little bit better. Come join us for a meal at 6 p.m. and worship at 7 p.m.
– Pastor Scott