This Is Why We Need Community

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eric batmanIf you haven't heard, we lost our youngest son last Thursday when he was killed in a motorcycle accident. Eric was 19. He was full of life. He was known for his amazing smile and the relentless way he included people. Our last conversation with Eric centered on his excitement about next week's meeting of his small group for 7th grade boys. It makes me smile thinking about his enthusiasm.

And then he left with a new friend to have dinner. And then he was gone.

These last few days we've been surrounded by our community; our friends. They've shown up at our door. They've called relentlessly and sent text messages and posted on Facebook. We've heard from friends across the country and around the world. We've heard from Eric's friends and their parents about how much he meant to them and how much they loved him.

Our hearts are truly broken. We miss our son deeply. We mourn his loss. And at the same time we know for sure we will see him again. And he will still be smiling.

In the meantime, we are surrounded on all sides by our friends; by our community. And as we are surrounded, we grieve just a little for unconnected people who suffer a loss and don't have what we have.

  • In community we can know and be known.
  • In community we can love and be loved.
  • In community we can forgive and be forgiven.
  • In community we can challenge and be challenged.
  • In community we can celebrate and be celebrated.
  • In community our joy is doubled and sorrow is halved.

As we mourn, we are surrounded. We can't imagine the loneliness of people who don't have what we have. And we recommit to the mission of connecting unconnected people.

See also, 10 Articles on Building Community and What's Your Urgency Level for Connecting Unconnected People? 

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  1. Libby Myrin on September 22, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Praying for you and your family, Mark. We hurt for you and praise God for your son. Your Family

  2. Beth Whartnaby on September 22, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Mark, my heart is so very sad for you and your family. Praying that you will truly feel the arms of our loving God tight around you.

  3. Mo on September 23, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Mark, we’ve never met, but CRCC is where it all began for me, in their beginning years. Living in India I’ve come to understand even more fully the importance of community and how blessed we are to be part of one that is so rich in it’s selfless love. I’ve been praying for your family and all who have been touched by Eric. Thank you for sharing what a wonderful son he was. Sounds like he impacted so many people.

  4. LVClaudia on September 23, 2014 at 10:54 am

    I was so sad to hear the pastor announce this at last Sunday’s service. My heart goes out to Eric’s family and loved ones. I just don’t know what to say… I don’t know you but I feel your pain…
    I sent a friend to your church a few years ago during a time of terrible loss for her and you gave her comfort and helped her to heal. I pray that you find the same measure of healing/comfort that she did. I have sent up a prayer to Our Father for this and will continue to have you in my thoughts. I want to attend the service this week honoring Eric. God Bless you xoxo

  5. Leslie on September 23, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Mark, I just sent you an email but also wanted to post on here my deep sadness and shock at your loss! You are in my thoughts and prayers, brother! May those whom you have blessed with your ministry be a blessing to you and your family right now.

  6. Dani Bailey on September 23, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Dear Mark and family, I am so sorry to hear of your loss, as I have 2 sons , I couldnt imagine losing one of them, I hope your faith in the Lord will comfort you. I think it is so wonderful that you do have such a strong community.

  7. Annette on September 23, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Dear Howell’s I’m so sorry for your loss of your precious son. I lost my son on Sept 1st 2014 just a couple weeks ago he was only 20. A beautiful soul I am struggling to find a way to move forward daily. I was blessed to talk with Pastor Odor a couple days back and it was of such great importance. I heard of your tragedy and wanted to reach out. God bless you and I hope to be able to speak to you soon.

  8. Vannie on September 25, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Dear Sir, I am only recently a follower of your ministry. Thank you for sharing on such an intimate level with the multitudes of us who glean from your wisdom. May the God of all comfort be with you and your family. I look forward to meeting your smiling son one day.

  9. Cindy on September 25, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Thank you for taking time to write this in the midst of your mourning to remind us all of the importance of community and how valuable it is when we face such horrific storms in our lives. May you feel the Lord’s arms wrapped tightly around you.

  10. Linda Newport on September 25, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Dear Mark. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I feel as if I know you. You have been such a blessing to me. Your blogs have inspired me and given tremendous insight to leading a small group ministry. I could go on and on. I have read all your articles and put many into practice. The latest being the Host Launch. It has been very successful! Thank you.
    Now its time for us to bless you with our prayers and support. prayers going up from El Paso Texas.

  11. Heather Zempel on September 26, 2014 at 5:16 am

    Mark- just hearing about this. I am so sorry. Praying for you and your family. So grateful for your friendship and influence.

  12. Dave Taylor on September 26, 2014 at 5:57 am

    You continue to bless others with your faith and hope in Christ through this tragedy. Our prayers continue for you and yours. Peace Brother.