pray for pastor Davey-2Today is my sermon prep day, but I can’t seem to get my notes done. My heart hurts for a fellow pastor.

Allow me to explain…
I was taking a casual stroll down my Facebook stream last night before going to bed. I noticed a post one of my college friends made about a close friend of hers who had died. I clicked on it to see what that was all about and I couldn’t help but be drawn to tears.

My heart is still heavy today. I didn’t sleep much last night.

Amanda Blackburn was the wife of Davey, a church planter, newlywed and mom of Weston. She was due to have a baby, just a few weeks before my wife is due, next spring.

They started Resonate Church, which was on a path of growth. I can imagine the hours of conversation, prayer, sacrifice, joy and hardship that were shared between Amanda and Davey as they started this church. They planted in 2012 and had the goal of connecting people to Jesus for life change, no matter what it took.

I am sure they had no idea that moving to Indy would call for Amanda’s physical life.

Amanda (28) is the daughter of a pastor (Phil Byars) and surely knew the call of ministry. She was ready for it and living out her faith well with her husband. No one would have ever thought that a robbery would be the cause of her death. On Tuesday morning, while Davey was at the gym, an intruder entered their home and took Amanda’s life, and in turn killed the new baby in her womb as well.

Davey said that he has not been able to speak and is forced to process what he never thought he would have to process. He articulately said in a public statement released last night, “Amanda made it her life’s calling to love and serve everyone she knew. Even more, she has made it her life’s mission to see as many people as possible come to know Jesus as their personal Savior. I know that in her death and legacy even more people will come to a saving faith in Christ. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt her desire for me would be to continue what we’ve started here in Indy. I hold firm to the belief that God is still good, that He takes our tragedy and turns it into triumph, and that the best truly is yet to come.”

One pastor’s wife and another pastor’s daughter, now gone. My heart breaks for both of these pastors left to process personally and publicly.

The calling of a pastor does not go away in the face of suffering. There is already such a small percentage of privacy in a pastor’s life, grief is not something that people often let alone, even of a public pastor. While people care, and desire to express their care and sorrow, it can be very hard for a pastor to find the solitude needed to even gather his whereabouts in a situation like this tragedy.

Davey, if I could speak to you, I would say—

Here it is, bro, that part of life where everything has to bank on the words we preach. My heart aches for you. My eyes don’t stop leaking for you. Remember the grace of God given to you in the start of your relationship you just preached about. Cherish the memories of Amanda as the glimpse of God’s goodness and grace this side of heaven.

I can’t imagine a worse pain than losing my wife, co-parent, and ministry partner. But trust there is a God who knows what it means to lose the one He loves the most. Weep with a God who knows the deepest amount of weeping we could ever fathom.

Don’t try to be a hero or come back to ministry too fast. Take the time you need. Your life is preaching even if your mouth is not. Be still. Your Church is not yours anyway, you know that. Trust God to keep it strong while He makes you strong again.

You and I both know that to preach about trusting a God who is sovereign is not something the heart grasps easily. It requires the mind to win over the emotions of the heart with the knowledge of the truth (Romans 12:2). I pray that our Savior Jesus Christ becomes so sweet to you as you process grief, anger, loss, joyful memories and future uncertainty.

May Spurgeon’s quote become real to you: “I have learned to kiss the wave that slams me into the Rock of Ages.”

I am praying for you and crying with you.

God’s got this, don’t try to be the strong pastor I am sure you are; just be the man of God who rests in the heart of His master.

Love from your brother in Christ and fellow pastor, 



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here