The horror that has grasped the hearts of parents near and far from Newtown, CT is heartbreaking. I am not a father, yet, but I can share a taste of this while thinking about my nephews, one of which is nearing elementary school. I can’t even imagine what thoughts are overwhelming American parents in our nation. We all know tragedy can strike at any moment, we just never consider that it will happen to us. I am fairly certain that all, if not most, of the 26 families affected by last week’s Sandy Hook shooting felt the same way; shocked and dismayed. No one ever thinks it will be them.
There are enough articles written regarding who to blame for this. I am not here to defend the NRA or blame them either. I am not pointing fingers anywhere, except at the Body of Christ. My finger is not an accusatory one, it is a challenging one to call you to action. Here at Capstone Church we have teamed up with a local middle school over the past year and are working hard to mentor both students and teachers as we volunteer to bless and minister to them in any way we can.
Most times we just say, “What can we do for you?” and respond to their need. Our Youth Pastor is deeply involved on a weekly basis, providing an after-school Bible club. Our entire staff is encouraged to participate in serving the teachers breakfast once a quarter or more. Every school day we have volunteers meeting with middle-schoolers to mentor and tutor where the kids have need. I can only brag on this because I had nothing to do with the design of it. I took this job back in May and stepped into the early stages of this project. If every church adopted a school to do this kind of work, imagine the difference it would make? I find that more often than not, local churches aren’t at all involved in the community. Don’t misunderstand me… I didn’t say that no churches are involved. There are a great deal of churches impacting their area for the glory of God. But what are you doing?
What should the Church be doing? First, we need to define Church. I am not talking about a building made of wood and stone. I am talking about the living, breathing, working, loving, caring, touching, feeling, seeing, hearing Body of Christ. You and me. If you have made Jesus Christ the Lord of your life; I believe your response needs to be as follows:
WE NEED TO MOURN FOR THE PARENTS AND FAMILY
WE NEED TO PRAY FOR THE PARENTS AND FAMILY
WE NEED TO BE THE CHURCH: I Believe this one might need some explaining. If the church were doing it’s job, I think we’d see less of these instances. I don’t say this to be crass or disrespectful. I truly believe that we are called to be salt and light to a bitter and dark world. We have been commissioned to go and disciple people, but instead, we as a whole are more concerned with converts. If Pastors and leaders were teaching their local body to go out and preach, teach and disciple, we’d constantly be making more disciples, not just converts. With more disciples comes more people to do the work of the Kingdom. Disciples know and follow the word.
I’ve seen first hand that schools are more than willing to accept the help of a church. Sure, we’ve been asked to follow state guides, etc. I would encourage you to look into your state’s requirements. I discovered this in a letter we received regarding Texas law:
As of the start of the 2009-2010 school year, Texas state law requires Texas school districts to offer enrichment curriculum that includes “religious literature, including the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) and New Testament and its impact on history and literature. This is not optional.
What can you be doing for your community?