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Family Tragedy Testifies to Need for Relevant Ministry

In Change Your Church for the Good, author and pastor Brad Powell tells a story that serves as his constant reminder that the church is the hope of the world.

It was five days before Christmas. A couple of hardened criminals had staked out several jewelry stores in our area. They were looking for the big score. When they finally selected their target, they went to work. Pretending to have a delivery, they showed up at the doorstep of the jeweler's home. His visiting mother kindly invited them in. The end was already determined.
While holding her at gunpoint, they waited for his three pre-teen children to come home from school. Upon their arrival, they made the oldest call their daddy. He was home in minutes. Threatening his life and the life of his family, they made him open the safe he had at home. Although this heist was not as profitable as robbing the store itself, it seemed safer, easier, and lucrative enough.
Oh, that the story ended with only the loss of some jewelry and money. It was not to be. These lunatics wouldn't have it. One by one, they murdered everyone in the home. It was, and remains, an incomprehensible tragedy. We got the call from the man's relative who attended our church. They were asking for prayer, counsel, help, and guidance in working through all of the issues facing them. Of course, our church family was all over it. If the church can't be a support during times like this, there is no point. We would do whatever we could to help the family and community deal with this tragedy.
What I didn't know, until meeting with the family, was that this man and his three precious children had just recently started attending our church. Though they had been religious, they had never developed a personal relationship with God. Because this man was experiencing some marital difficulties, he began looking for and opening up to the idea of God in his life. As a result, when the family members that attended our church invited him, he gladly came along with his three children. They fell in love with it and began attending regularly.
When meeting with the extended family, I was told that this man and his three children had accepted Christ as their personal Savior as a result of attending our church. The children had been reached through our kids' ministry. Their father had made the decision to follow Christ during one of our services. Because he had communicated this decision to his family members, they knew the worship service and the seat he was in when his life was eternally changed. Though it didn't change the devastation of this human tragedy, it did change everything as it related to this family's eternal destiny.
At the time he began attending, we were doing a survey in our church. When I found the one he had filled out, along with all of the general information, he thanked us for making God and his truth so relevant to his life, and he encouraged us to keep up the good work.
Imagine this: according to his own words, the reason this man and his children had come to faith was because our church had finally introduced them to God in a relevant way. Though religious, they had never experienced God's truth in a way that related to their everyday lives. When they did, they trusted him and found eternal hope. They are in heaven today because they found a church that communicated about God in a language they could understand.

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