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Shooting in the Fellowship Hall

How do you minister in the chaos after violence at your church?

That Saturday night, my phone lit up. Then again. And again and again. Calls and texts from my church leadership team came in faster than I could answer them. I was spending time with my family. Why can't this wait till Sunday morning? I thought.

They kept coming. Was the church on fire? Was I fired? Why were all our leaders calling me at once?

I don't even remember who I called back first, but I'll never forget the words. They were the beginning of a minister's worst nightmare:

"There's been a shooting at the church."

After the bullets

Within minutes I was on the freeway. I sped, praying over and over: "Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy!" I didn't stop praying out loud until I pulled up in front of the church. I was speechless.

The parking lot was blocked with emergency vehicles of every kind. Dozens of lights flashed, reflecting off the building's outer walls. Every news station in town had arrived before ...

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