Two weeks after a California church's pastors were shot at while sitting in the church parking, a staff member informed the Christian Post that the congregation is seeking to expand it's gang ministry to reach even more troubled men in their San Diego community.
The attack occurred December 28. That Sunday night Greater Apostolic Faith Temple Church's lead pastor Dwayne Shepherd and another minister with the last name Profit were inside a parked car just outside the church when an unknown gunman fired four shots into the car window at close range.
Both men scrambled out of the passenger's side door as soon as the firing began and took cover in the church basement. Fortunately neither suffered life-threatening injuries: Shepherd, who was seated on the passenger side, was wounded when took a bullet grazed his chest and entered his arm. The other pastor escaped unharmed.
Shepherd's Executive Assistant Cynthia Cummings told CP no one is sure what motivated the shooting. Cummings, who has attended the church for three years and worked there for two, said she never even remembered any crimes happening in the surrounding neighborhood.
The Sunday following the incident Cummings said there much praise and worship. "Everyone was very grateful and thankful that we didn't lose (Shepherd). We were thankful that God had His hand over him and protected him."
Cummings said the church also resolved to expand its work with gang members in the surrounding community.
Greater Apostolic Faith Temple is currently working to take more men into its' 14-week transitional housing program. The congregation is collecting donations for the $2,950 it costs to house just one man in its Greater Works Empowerment Center. She said the cost includes bedding and the suits and uniforms the men need to attend GWER classes and church on Sundays. Once in the center the men receive access to such resources as job preparation, English as a second language programs and computer training.
The church will also continue its Cal-Yes program to empower troubled young men to succeed.
Before the shooting Cummings said the congregation never gave a thought to the dangers take could come with working with gang members. She explained "Our thought process was that we're reaching out to help to the youth."
Cummings told CP she is not sure if their work with troubled youth had anything to do with the incident. Either way, she said the congregation is determined to continue its efforts.
CP was unable to reach Shepard before publication. However the wounded pastor told local news station KGTV "This is our job and I think this is what we've been called to do, to get into our community and affect change; make it happen." Shepard, who was hospitalized for nearly two days and still has the bullet lodged in his arm, said the incident has actually strengthened his faith.
Angela Jones, a church member who works with the programs, also told KGTV the incident "makes our mission stronger. We know we're on the right track."