In the aftermath of the Oct. 21 shooting at a middle school in Nevada, the Pastor Brad Dyrness at the Sparks Church of the Nazarene held a special prayer service for community members affected by the tragedy.
Brad, who earned a Master of Arts: Spiritual Formation in 2005 from Northwest Nazarene University’s School of Theology & Christian Ministries, led his congregation in opening their church to more than 300 people, including the local mayor, community youth leaders and students, and those from a variety of faiths. They prayed for the teacher who was killed; his family; wounded and troubled students; as well as the shooter, who died.
Candles were a focal point of the service—providing, as Brad noted, a physical reminder of God’s presence. Citing John 1:5, he observed that “The world is often a very dark place, but light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it.”
While many community gatherings took place in the wake of the shooting, the service at Brad’s church was the only prayer-focused event. Brad’s compassionate response is exactly what I would expect from our graduates.
As the director of NNU’s Graduate Theological Online Education programs, I am fortunate to see—and hear—how our students and graduates are advancing the Kingdom of God. Through his actions and leadership, Brad did just that. He didn’t stop to think only about the needs of those in his congregation. Instead, he cast the net wide to support hurting neighbors who needed a place to go for comfort and care after this tragedy that occurred just three blocks from his church.
Brad’s commitments to compassion and formation in the aftermath of this tragedy fill me with pride. He is a shining example of so many men and women who are putting their NNU educations into action.
That same opportunity awaits you.
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