Churches experience tragedy with staff, members, and the neighborhood they are serving. It’s inevitable and a part of life and ministry. How can a church respond and serve well? One Citylight Church in North Lincoln, Nebraska offers these words of support and encouragement as they have suffered alongside one another recently with an unexpected loss of a staff member’s child.
God has really orchestrated and equipped our church in advance to care well for each other. We have seen this over and over. When one family is in the midst of deep tragedy, the hurt and loss really extends to the whole church.
When experiencing and seeing trauma, it brings up more trauma unexpectedly from the past in people through doubt and with faith. Feeling pain so closely as a team extends out and it then becomes a whole church hurting. God equips us though to care for one another. It may not feel or make sense and you don’t get it, but God has prompted us and the whole Body to see and experience both and on the giving and receiving end.
We were constantly praying and there was a closeness of the Spirit. Be diligent in prayer and trust the outcome. It was encouraging for the family how the Spirit is present and being diligent in prayer as a Church. We were reminded and held onto this truth whether prayers were answered or not.
We’ve been blessed in this tragedy and God is using this tragedy quickly for His glory. We have seen multiple people come to faith, people coming back to faith, and the Church body strengthened and encouraged. We are learning to trust Him and that He will do something. We have seen this and are now encouraged and equipped for future tragedies. When a tragedy hits our church again, we might not get to see this so quickly, but we are now reminded that God will use this and us.
Another tangible way we saw God in tragedy was through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit met us where we were at and we had to sing through the grief. People needed to be led in song, even though that was not our natural tendency. Music helped tremendously with the suffering and it ministered in and to our hearts and with others.
People are so generous and the outpouring of resources to the hurting family. The Body cared for them and still are. The importance of the Body cannot be overlooked. There are what might feel or seem like failures in the Church, but there is a desperate and dramatic need for the Church and that makes it good and worth it. None of us would have made it through tragedy as well or if at all. We needed to lean on the faith of others, and still are, and we wouldn’t have understood that need for the Church if we didn’t experience the Body of Christ coming together in the midst of a tragedy. We must not ever walk away because we need each other so desperately. The Lord has met us through one another and continues to. He has done it through one another. We need the church.