There was a shooting Tuesday night on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Two people died, including Riley Howell, who has rightfully been called a hero for throwing himself at the gunman and preventing him from doing further damage. The next day, there was a vigil for all students to gather and mourn.
One local church, however, used the opportunity to find new recruits.
According to an email sent to the congregation at nearby Crosspoint Worship Center, Pastor Theron Hobbs, Sr. (below) urged members to show up at a separate event held at the church immediately after the school’s vigil. Hosted by the Christianity fraternity Alpha Gamma Omega, the “Prayer and Worship event” would be ripe grounds to bring people to Jesus.
A copy of the email was forwarded to me. I’ve redacted some identifying information.
… Media has been notified and we are promoting on social media. Theron, Jr. mentioned it last night during news interview. The community is also aware. Please help me get the word out to Crosspoint! You may arrive as early as 5:00 or as soon as you can get there. Many ministry opportunities await your arrival! This could be our defining moment to make an eternal difference! God has placed us here for such a time as this! This is our opportunity to point people to Jesus!
Ugh, that’s sickening. To quote Susan Gerbic, these people are “grief vampires.” They saw sadness and they decided to pounce. Because what really mattered the night after the shooting was how many tally marks you could notch for Jesus.
They didn’t say “Let’s be there for our community” or “Let’s make sure we have mental health professionals available” or “We want students to know that churches like ours will always be a safe space for them.” The call was to get “as many hands and feet as possible” in order to convert people when they’re at their most vulnerable.
It’s just disgusting, selfish behavior — inspired by Jesus, of course. It’s appalling that after a school shooting, this church painted a different kind of target on grieving students.
Even if you give them the benefit of the doubt and say they meant well even if they worded it awkwardly, the text makes it clear that the primary concern was winning converts, not just being there for students in a time of need.
The last thing frightened students need to hear right now is sales pitch for a failed product.
(Image via Facebook)