Prayers are now being made in earnest for 52-year-old Pastor Chris Meade of Crosspoint Church in Taylorsville, North Carolina, after he was critically injured in a hit-and-run accident Tuesday.
A news release from the Winston-Salem police, cited by the Statesville Record & Landmark, said Meade was walking to his car with another person after a meal at Hanes Mall's Texas Roadhouse when the accident occurred.
Witnesses told police who responded to the scene around 7:40 p.m. that the pastor was walking with his companion through some hedges that separate the restaurant's parking lot and Hanes Mall Circle.
He was hit by a white SUV that did not stop as he cleared the hedges and stepped out into traffic on Hanes Mall Circle. He was rushed to the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center with injuries considered life-threatening. Policing are now seeking to locate the white SUV which is said to be damaged on the front right side and possibly damaged along the right side as well.
More than 400 people attend Crosspoint Church most Sundays at the local high school, according to WSOC TV.
Church member Aron Gwaltney told the network Wednesday that everyone was locked in prayer for their pastor.
"We got the whole church family praying for him right now," he said.
Another member, Jason Mull, said the entire church was also shocked by the news.
"Just in shock. You don't know what to say," he said. "He's selfless, kindhearted, caring, compassionate guy who has impacted many, many lives in this community."
He also urged the hit-and-run driver to come forward.
"To hurt a man like this, a man of God, that does so much for his community, he does need to come forward," Mull noted.
According to a statement from Crosspoint Associate Pastor Jeff Pope on Wednesday, Meade is currently in the ICU and was not being allowed visitors due to the extent of his injuries.
"The hospital is still assessing his injuries and have said that he is stable, but in critical condition. They are currently deciding the best way to move forward and giving him the best possible care. We know that he is conscious and is breathing on his own, however now is just a waiting process in deciding any surgeries or other care he may need at this time," Pope said.
He also thanked the church community for their support and urged them to pray for Meade and his family.
"Many have asked about making food or helping in any way. Right now the best way to help is through prayer. God is the great physician and we believe that He is in complete control of this situation. So for now we ask you to pray. We will inform you at any time in the future if you can provide for this family who has done so much for Crosspoint Church and the people of Alexander County," Pope said.
On Thursday morning, Meade's wife declared in another statement that even though her husband was still in the ICU, "prayers are being answered."
"Thank you all for your concern, prayers, and encouragement! We are still asking for prayers but no visitors. Chris is on pain medicine so he is sleeping most of the time and is still in the Trauma ICU. We expect the next several days to be about the same with improvements each day. Prayers are being answered," she said.
She also asked for prayers for the hospital's staff who she said alerted her about her husband's accident.
"Continue to pray for healing and minimal pain. Pray for the staff here. They are wonderful and Chris is only one of many patients they are working with continually. I also want to say thank you to those on the scene of the accident — the emergency workers, law enforcement, and bystanders — the nurse who called me from Chris's phone. Thank you for letting God use you in those moments," she noted. "We are incredibly blessed with a wonderful church and community. We love you!"