ADDIS – What is the key to healing following the recent deaths of three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge? Loving people where they are, said Thomas Shepard, pastor of the Church at Addis.
And showing Christ’s love can be as simple as picking up the telephone to offer support or bringing the hurting individual a meal Shepard believes. Once those physical needs are met, then the opportunity to share the gospel is much greater.
“To make them wonder why somebody would want to do that is key in healing a community because they do not see an agenda at that point,” Shepard said. “There is no agenda other than this person is loving me unconditionally, which is exactly what Christ commanded us to do.”
Such was the case on July 16, when members of his congregation spent the afternoon ministering to the family of Baton Rouge Police Officer Matthew Gerald, who was the uncle of children who had attended Vacation Bible School recently at the church. The church, which includes some law enforcement officers, prayed with the fallen officer’s sister-in-law and let them know they were available for counseling or other needs.
Preparing his congregation to minister to the family of Officer Gerald is a byproduct of training his members to love people as they would themselves.
“We have tried to teach our people there are no racial lines, there are no social issues, there is nothing we need to be focused on other than the most important thing, which is having a person coming to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior,” Shepard said.