Outreach to Those Affected by Fort Thomas Shooting

In a rush?  Here's the bottom line:  GFC Newport has been asked to help give grief counseling to those affected by the shooting in Fort Thomas on Tuesday.  Scroll down for Prayer Requests.


Dear Grace Family,

First of all, I want to let you know how pleased I was to see different ones of you interacting with the Facebook post on my feed asking for prayer as I learned of the terrible shooting that took place in Fort Thomas earlier this week.  In addition to those who chose to comment on the post, the one posted on GFC Newport's Facebook page reached well over 200 people whom I hope took some time to pray for those affected by this terrible tragedy.  By God's grace, I believe He has given us a great opportunity to serve our community in a time of serious need.

I had some meetings in and around Fort Thomas on Wednesday, the day after the shooting.  The people were weighing heavily on my heart in light of what had happened just a little over a day ago, and I knew they'd certainly still be grieving, fearful, needing comfort and perhaps looking for answers.  I decided to take the time to visit the office building where the shooting took place to pray, and also to let folks know we were praying for them as a church family, and that we'd be happy to serve if there was anything we could do to help.  I also made mention of our biblical counseling ministry and offered to make that available to them should they be interested (it's also on the promo cards we give out).

My last stop in the office building happened to be in the office in which the victim worked.  A woman greeted me at the door and I introduced myself, and she hurriedly brought me in to the administrator of the office.  The offices were empty and quiet, save for three ladies who came in solely to make a plan for when the staff returned to work the next day, and then they were off to the hospital to visit the victim.  I introduced myself, shook their hands, listened to whatever they had to say, and expressed my sympathy for what they'd experienced and for the injuries sustained by the victim.  I told them many in our church were praying for them, and that we'd be happy to help in any way we could, particularly through our biblical counseling ministry.  The administrator looked particularly interested, thanked me for my offer, and said she'd be in touch with me later on if she wanted to take advantage of that.

But, to be honest with you, people always say that.  I'm a pastor.  I offered counseling.  The polite thing to do is to thank me and say they'll be in touch if they're interested, and they rarely are.  So honestly, I didn't think much of it.  I left the building, committed to pray for them, and continued with my day.

A few hours later, my phone rang and it was the office administrator.  She said she was very touched by our church's prayerful efforts on their behalf, as well as our offer to help and she wanted to take us up on our offer.  She really loves her employees and wanted to take some time in the morning just to hug them, speak to them herself, but then wanted to know if we'd make ourselves available to anyone who wanted to speak to us.  I told her I'd be happy to help in any way I could, and would do my best to get another counselor to join me so there would be two of us available to serve.  She was most grateful, very happy to be able to serve her staff in this way, and said she looked forward to seeing us on Thursday.

How can you help?

Please, please, PLEASE pray!  Linda Sprague & I will be meeting there tomorrow morning to offer on-the-spot counseling for anyone who expressed an interest.

  • Pray for Linda & I to be good representatives of King Jesus as we spend time with these people.  Who knows what they think of Christ, Christians, the Bible, counseling, and just life overall right now?  May we be wise as serpents and harmless as doves as we spend time with people tomorrow morning (Matt. 10:16).
  • Pray for "in-the-moment" grace & wisdom to minister the Scriptures to people who may desperately be looking for hope, help and comfort.  May our words be graceful and seasoned with salt, that we may know how to answer people in a way that honors Christ and helps them (Col. 4:6).
  • Pray for God to give us favor in the eyes of those we come in contact with.  May they feel comfortable with us, perhaps even drawn to us that we might be able to share God's Word with them.
  • Pray for any opportunities for follow-up that may come as a result of our time together.  Maybe they'll join us in church, or maybe they'll want more counseling, or maybe they'll end up in a Small Group or something.  Who knows?  May God use this time for His glory and the ultimate good of all involved.
  • Most importantly, would you pray that God would open eyes and ears, and soften hearts to the Gospel.  Remember - as believers, our comfort lies not in a psychological or philosophical system, or some numbered-step program, or just the right words at just the right time.  It's in Jesus Christ.  We can comfort because believers know the comfort of God in Christ (2 Cor. 1:3,4).  We desperately need God's help as we seek to plant seeds of the Gospel in hearts that need to be saved.  May God use this time to draw His people to Himself to be saved.
Lord-willing, I'll post an update on the blog tomorrow to let you know how it goes.  If possible and appropriate, we'll also update our Twitter feed while we're there and tell you how it's going.  Follow along at @GFCNewport.

Hope has a name...it's Jesus Christ.  May our time tomorrow make much of Him for His glory and the good of His people.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Peter

(images used with permission via Flickr Creative Commons)
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