How Do Churches Help Survivors of Mass Shootings Recover?

Someone walks into the marketplace and starts shooting. Chaos ensues. Lives are lost. How does the church help survivors recover?

“How numbing that has to be on those people?” asserts Ted Elmore, an incident preparation and recovery specialist with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC). “What do you do next? What are your next decisions? … It’s a shock. What do you do?”

The SBTC offers a new resource to Southern Baptists through a manual Elmore authored, “Incident Preparation and Recovery: A Spiritual and Physical Guide for Churches and Their Communities.”

“When we are prepared both spiritually and physically,” Elmore said, “we at least minimize the effect that the enemy intends through these evil acts and these shootings.”

Elmore describes God as a protector and encourages prayer and practicality in preparing to respond to such tragedies.

“The idea for the resource is first of all, that our churches would take serious … the evil in the form of shootings and pray, because God is our ultimate source and supply,” said Elmore, who is also an SBTC prayer strategist. “Through prayer we demonstrate our confidence and trust in Him, and He has said that He would be our protector.

“But we know from biblical-based and extra-biblical history that evil happens even to the people of God,” Elmore told BP. “Knowing that, we are wise to be prepared in case it does happen.”

Among several mass shootings in the U.S. since late July, a young man walked into an El Paso, Texas, Walmart Aug. 3, shot and killed 22 people and injured 26 others. The death toll nearly matched the November 2017 slaughter of 26 and wounding of about 20 worshipers at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

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Source: Baptist Press