The news is spreading pretty quickly, both in the blog world and in the news, but in case you haven’t heard pastor and author Kyle Lake was electrocuted while performing a baptism service yesterday and died. 33-year-old Lake reached for a microphone while standing in the water. Lake was a pastor at University Baptist Church in Waco, Texas and is survived by his wife and three children.
I didn’t know Lake personally, but I did read one of his two books, Understanding God’s Will (the other, (Re)understanding Prayer, came out earlier this month), and I loved his personal style. He brought a new understanding to that murky concept of God’s will, which becomes even murkier in light of his death.
I’ll be the first to admit that talking about church marketing and death in the same entry seems like a pretty dicey move. But as I think about it, that means our concept of church marketing sucks. Marketing is all about how you communicate, and I can’t think of a time when how you communciate is more important than during a tragedy.
How we grieve is important. Where and if and how we find hope in the midst of loss is important. How we care for the family and those affected by tragedy is important.
God’s will isn’t something I claim to understand (even after reading Lake’s book, which is part of the point), especially on hearing the news of a pastor being electrocuted during a baptism service in front of 800 people. But I do know that when tragedy strikes the one place that is able to deal with it is the church. Not that the church is good at dealing with tragedy, or prepared or well-equipped. I just mean that we have a community built on hope and love, and if you must go through a tragedy, you’re going to need as much hope and love as you can get.
Our prayers are with the Lake family and University Baptist Church.
Update: Christianity Today posted a reprint from Understanding God’s Will, based on Romans 8:28.