A tornado destroyed our Arlington, Texas, church building today. It’s crazy to try to get my mind around that. I’m sharing a few pictures with you, but what I’ve really got to share is this awesome story about our Church.
After I picked my three kids up from school, we stopped by the church to see the damage and to find out if there was anything we could do to help. Not surprisingly, several church members as well as curious onlookers were already there. I hugged my friend whose car window was blown out by the tornado while she waited helplessly but safely inside the building. Dear friends of mine and/or their preschool age children were in the church building when the tornado hit. Miraculously, not a single person was hurt. Not even a scratch.
As my kids and I talked to a pastor, four nicely groomed men I didn’t recognize from church walked up. They introduced themselves to our pastor and explained that they were from the Baptist church a couple of blocks down the street. Their buildings weren’t damaged and they wanted to make sure we knew that, if we needed anything, their building was our building. If our preschool needed a place to meet, they had classroom space we could use. If we needed help with clean up or rebuilding, just let them know and they could “get 100 men to get up here and help in a heartbeat.”
My eight year old son was enthralled by the conversation. In fact, he listened to every word and had positioned himself as part of the conversation.
Afterwards my son was telling me about these men that had come up and offered their entire building to us! They had offered a 100 men to come help with whatever we needed. He was so impressed and amazed.
Which led to a great conversation about how those men from the Baptist church down the street were really our Brothers in Christ. That, even though we say we are members of this particular church and this building is where we worship, these other men worship in a different space but we are all part of the same Big Church. We are all part of the same body of Christ and, in fact, if anyone calls themselves a Christian, they are our brother or sister. We are one big Church family.
There are more amazing stories of God at work through this tornado-filled day – stories of people going through the neighborhood trying to pick up and salvage family photos for people they don’t know. Stories of people spared because they sought shelter by the one wall that remained standing in their workplace. There will no doubt be more stories to come. God is doing amazing things here.
It’s times like this when we are reminded what matters most. Our building was destroyed, but the Church (that’s us) goes on.
If your area or your church was struck by a natural disaster such as this, how did your church react?
Where have you seen God at work through natural disasters?
How do you minister to youth in the face of “acts of God” destroying the life they know?
(Note: St. Barnabas UMC, the church pictured in the “Ultimate Nerf Wars” article, is the same church hit by tornadoes today.)