Youth Mission Hopes Shooting Won't Affect Recruitment

The Youth With a Mission center in Colorado said it hopes the deadly shooting this past weekend will not turn people away from being involved in missions.

Paul Filidis, spokesman for the YWAM Colorado Springs training center, raised concerns about the negative impact the shootings may have on missions and hopes "that people will not shy away from getting involved as God is calling people to get involved in ministry and missions," according to Mission Network News.

"Pray that this would not detract them from what God may be asking them to get involved with. We hope that maybe more people will be interested in ministry, rather than shying away from it," he said.

This past Sunday, Matthew Murray, 24, opened fired at the YWAM training center in Arvada, Colo., killing two young adults and wounding two others. About 12 hours later, he again opened fire at New Life Church in Colorado Springs where he killed two teenage girls and wounded their father before being shot by a church security guard. YWAM has a satellite office at the megachurch.

It was confirmed Tuesday that the gunman committed suicide and died as a result of his own gunshot wound rather than those fired by the volunteer security guard, according to the New York Times. The guard's shots, however, did put the gunman down.

Prior to the incident, Murray had expressed a grudge against YWAM, where he was enrolled in a discipleship training program before being dismissed. Program directors had felt Murray's "health made it inappropriate" for him to continue the program, according to a YWAM statement. His parents agreed with YWAM's concern and Murray was released from the program.

Although he left calmly and was not seen back at the center until the fatal day, he sent hate mail to the center, police said in court papers Monday.

"We ask for prayer that something good would come out of this, that God would be honored, that more people would be interested in Youth With a Mission, or mission involvement," Filidis hoped, according to OneNewsNow.

YWAM has issued a statement of condolence to the families of all the victims, including the Murray Family, and extended the "spirit of forgiveness" to them.

Youth With a Mission has locations around the world and trains more than 25,000 young adults every year to spread the Gospel. The ministry trains young adults on evangelism and physically ministering to the needy, and equips Christians to serve others in specialized areas such as agriculture, health care, drug rehabilitation, and biblical counseling among other fields.