The leading local story today has to do with how police and fire responded to the Aurora theatre shooting in the summer of 2012, a horrific crime that left 12 dead and most of the other theatre patrons injured to one degree or another. Those tasked with evaluating the response use words like “chaotic” and uncoordinated to describe what emergency responders did in the face of the incredibly unusual and tragic scene. It is hard to imagine how one would prepare for something so unprecedented and it is much easier to make such evaluations in hindsight, but all seem agreed about the need to work together more efficiently when faced with life or death situations.
There is no greater life or death situation than concerns the spiritual state of even a single soul. Whether we are talking about bringing a lost soul to Christ, helping a discouraged or offended brother or sister, or retrieving a Christian who has fallen away, it requires a coordinated response! Many people are needed to work together to help a person in his or her relationship to God. Paul urges, “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another…” (1 Th. 5:11). He also writes, “Bear one another’s burden” (Gal. 6:2a).
When we are faced with the challenge of reaching a lost soul, think of all the coordination needed. There is the friend or family member trying to reach them, but who else? What about the one(s) trying to study with them, not to mention members who need to reach out to them by befriending them, make them feel welcome, have them into their homes, and introduce them to other Christians?
When someone is struggling, it requires many people calling and reaching out, visiting, and doing what can be done to show them love and concern. When someone has fallen away, it takes more than the preacher or an elder to do that “heavy lifting.” Anyone who knows them and can influence them should coordinate with all others to rescue the perishing one!
Twelve lives ended that fateful night in Aurora. It has been determined that emergency responders were not responsible for a single person being lost, a fact that has to provide them with solace and validation. When we stand before Christ, each of us wants to do our part so that we can say no one was lost due to our neglect or lack of response.