When a church has been operating for an extended period of time, one thing for certain is that changes will occur. Whether that be changes of location, staff, pastors or finances, it is known that change is the inevitable. Members and clergy must interact in the interest of uplifting God’s message as well as one another. This task is much easier said than done.
During this past weekend, megachurch House of Hope Atlanta experienced a tragic loss in the church’s leadership. Someone who had seen several different eras of a now enterprising ministry passed suddenly. Deacon Danny R. Edwards served as a prominent deacon, member of the Board of Directors, and church clerk for over 45 years. Ultimately, he was the Chief Operating Officer for The Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church, which transitioned into House of Hope Atlanta.
It is readily apparent that Deacon Danny Edwards played a pivotal and prominent role in the success and evolution that has taken place at House of Hope Atlanta. The burning question now is, how does the church move on after suffering such a heart-wrenching loss? The church can follow these few steps to assist in the coping process. One of the first things that the church must engage in is the grieving process. It is imperative that you make sure not to rush the process. Allow everyone involved an ample amount of time to get past the loss. Secondly, be sure to commemorate the life and times of the individual. Celebrate their accomplishments and legacy, do not allow their ideas and implementation to die with them. Thirdly, churches should implement a mentorship program which allows for mentees to learn the jobs of their predecessors in the event that they move on or die.
Dr. E Dewey Smith has experienced his fair share of tragic losses. In 2016, Dr. Smith had the difficult tasks of delivering eulogies for his mother, sister, and best friend. He is no stranger to coping with loss. He took to Instagram over the weekend in order to express his grief with the loss of Deacon Danny Edwards.
Below are his heartfelt Instagram posts:
For the past 14 years, no other person has been MORE impactful & MORE necessary for my ministry than you!! When I came to a historic 127 year old church in 2004, your tutelage, wisdom, support, diplomatic spirit, discernment & love stabilized a ministry in transition! You’ve been a PEERLESS example as a Man & Leader!! You took care of Pastor H.F. Shepherd & I IMPECCABLY!! You served our church for 45 YEARS!!! I tried my BEST to take care of you too!!!! No other man alive has impacted my life MORE than you!! UNEQUIVOCALLY, @hohatl would NOT have grown like it has the past 13.5 years had God not put you in position!! You’ve been my counselor, confidant, deacon, father-figure, support system, brother & friend! I am literally CRUSHED beyond words that you’re gone!! I was looking forward to Reggie & I taking golf lessons from you on MONDAY!! Today is your 45th Wedding Anniversary & I’m numb for Mrs. Cynthia that you left on your anniversary!!! Go ahead and rest my friend!!!! NOTHING will ever feel the same around our church again!! You literally gave your ALL for your family, GTR, Southern University & Omega Psi Phi Fraternity! I LOVE YOU!!!!! RQQ!!!! RIP Dea. Danny Edwards!!! #Devastated #OmegaChapter
Rest in peace, Deacon Danny R. Edwards! You will be truly missed!
Featured Image: The Christian Post
Inset Image: Joy105.com/HakimWilson