The Community Bible Church in High Point, North Carolina is mourning the death of their Senior Pastor, Robert McKeehan, who reportedly took his own life last Friday.
The High Point Enterprise reports that the 42-year-old pastor's alleged suicide shocked his congregation.
"As you can imagine, there's been a lot of grief and a lot of numbness," chairman of Community Bible's elder board Richard Curtis said. "We're sad, of course — we're going to be poorer for the loss — but we're also trying to help people understand that even though this is not the path we would've chosen, God is sovereign, and we're still going to praise and worship our God."
With no senior pastor to turn to, church leaders tried their best to console the congregation Sunday morning. Many could not understand how their own pastor could take his life so during the service they turned to the Bible for answers.
"The reality is we can never understand exactly how and why that happened. Just like those they lead, pastors are human and subject to all the same trials, emotions and struggles," Curtis said.
During Sunday's service, the High Point Enterprise reports that the pastor of adult ministries, Pastor Rob Black, stepped in to lead the congregation with a sermon. Turning to Deuteronomy 29:29, he reminded the church, "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and our children forever."
The congregation may never understand why the pastor took his life and some members have come to accept that. "Why Robert took his own life is always going to be one of the secret things," Curtis explained.
The elder further acknowledged, "What God has revealed to us, however, is the promise we hold onto in Romans 8:28 — 'We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.' God has proven that to our church in the past when we've had difficult times, so we know that certainty will again prove true as we move beyond the question of why."
Pastor McKeehan, his wife, Elizabeth and their children, John and Scarlett, were brought to serve the Community Bible Church in November 2010. Curtis, who is currently serving as the interim senior pastor, told the High Point Enterprise that when Mckeehan arrived, he immediately got comfortable with his new congregation.
"He was an incredibly gifted teacher of God's word," Curtis pointed out. "The vision of our church is broken people becoming whole in Christ, and Robert was the type of pastor who related that well to our congregation. They knew he lived out that statement. They knew he needed Christ to make him whole, and they knew they could look to him as someone who could understand and help them."
As the church begins its search for a new senior pastor, there are currently seven other pastors on staff who will lead the congregation and its ministries in the meantime.
Pastor Curtis expressed that condolences and message of love have been received from local churches, loved ones and people online.
"We very much appreciate the support we are receiving from the community," the interim pastor said. Continuing to acknowledge the spirit of the late Pastor, Curtis shared, "I think [Pastor Mckeehan's work is] testimony to how many people and churches [he] had touched. That is one of the most positive things he brought [to our congregation] and [it's] something we are committed to continuing."