I think it was important to present ourselves not as bitter, not as angry, but as strong, as resilient and forgiving and loving.
Minister Joey Spann knew he needed to be at the first Sunday service after the deadly shooting that terrorized his congregation.
The 66-year-old minister, who was shot twice in the Sept. 24 attack at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, did not have the physical strength to preach that day, but he still felt his congregation needed to see him walk into the building.
Slowly but steadily, Spann stepped inside the church’s fellowship hall. Dozens of others joined him. They filed into the rows of folding chairs and wooden church pews that filled the makeshift worship space. Next door, Burnette Chapel sat empty with its blood-stained carpets ripped from the floor.
“That was the Sunday I was worried about,” Spann said. “Would anybody show up?”
Pastor Joey Spann was shot twice in a gun attack at his Tennessee Church, Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, along with his wife. A gunman approached the Church an opened fire as the service was just coming to a close. But Spann was back in the pulpit the following week, preaching the gospel like he always does. So, how did he get back into the building where such an act of violence and trauma occurred?
“I think it was important to present ourselves not as bitter, not as angry, but as strong, as resilient and forgiving and loving,” Spann said. “To have shown anger and to have shown an unforgiving nature would have been just the opposite. That would have been harder to do than to be Christ-like.”
“I keep going back to Joseph’s statement where he said to his brothers, ‘You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good,’ ” Spann said.
Incredibly, when treating Spann’s wife Peggy for her gunshot wound, doctors noticed a potentially life-threatening heart condition and performed a much-needed surgery on her.