Helping a neighbor in need isn’t just for church members. Evidently it’s for churches themselves.
Lifepointe Church was burglarized Sunday, just hours before worship teams arrived to prepare for the coming service. Which was a problem, given the theft involved $10,000 to $15,000 worth of sound gear. Pastor Nathan Siemon, on a live Facebook video the following day, said wireless and handheld mics, headsets, ear pieces and other sound gear was taken.
He also described what happened after a call to Transformation Church in Indian Land.
“They literally rescued us (Sunday),” Siemon said.
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Dan Rutty is the production director at Transformation Church. Among his friends, is his counterpart at Lifepointe.
“He reached out to me on Sunday morning, and he just told me what happened,” Rutty said. “Of course we asked what he needed.”
Within a half hour, the Transformation crew had gear delivered to Lifepointe. Microphones for the morning message were the main need.
“Most of their microphones were stolen, but not their speakers and things like that,” Rutty said. “We certainly felt like we could do whatever was needed. They just needed to get the message out. They just needed to get through the morning.”
Rutty’s team plans to head back on Thursday to see what short-term needs Lifepointe may have. Getting new equipment can take time, especially with an investigation involved, so Transformation will help however staff there can, as long as they’re needed.
“We're all part of the same team,” Rutty said of the larger church body, “and we want to do whatever we can to help that team.”
Siemon said despite the violated feeling of being robbed, seeing the response of church members from both Lifepointe and Transformation was a blessing.
“God did great things, man,” he said. “We saw transformation take place in people’s lives. It just shows you the power of the church. I mean seriously, that’s the power of the local church.”
The burglary happened about 5 a.m. Sunday. York County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived at Lifepointe after an alarm went off, finding someone had thrown a rock through the main entrance window. At the time, church staff wasn’t sure whether anything had been stolen. A suspect walking around the church was seen on surveillance video.
The incident involved Lifepointe’s current meeting space on Deerfield Drive, the former practice facility for the Charlotte Hornets/Bobcats. The church is building a new site.
“God has been faithful over the last nine years that we’ve met in this huge arena, tucked away way back here,” Siemon said. “We’ve never had an incident like this before.”
The pastor said the robber or robbers “knew what they were looking for,” taking an assortment of sound gear. No one from the church was present when the robbery took place.
“They grabbed some really, really good equipment, and it put us at a loss,” Siemon said.
The robbery wasn’t the only incident of late to impact a local church. It wasn’t the only one Sunday.
Flint Hill Baptist Church had its alarm go off at 2:25 a.m., just hours before the Lifepointe robbery. A church member and law enforcement entered the church together after it was clear no one was there. The church member pointed out two pine cones on the floor that weren’t there when they locked up the church.
A metal item was found near the door.
It was a latch mechanism for the deadbolt. A small crack was visible on the edge of the door where the latch pulled through it. A search of the building didn’t find other items to be stolen or disturbed.
Both the Lifepointe and Flint Hill incidents are in unincorporated Fort Mill. Within town limits, someone tried to scam St. John’s Methodist Church out of nearly $20,000.
On. Dec. 1, the church accountant contacted the senior pastor after receiving an email from someone posing as the pastor. An email address was created, and the accountant recognized it wasn’t her pastor’s usual one. The message asked the accountant to wire $19,980 to a bank account out of Pennsylvania. The accountant instead contacted the pastor directly. No money was sent.
The recent incidents come about a month after Word of Grace Community Church, which meets at the Anne Springs Close Greenway on Sunday mornings, reported almost $7,000 in cash, checks and other items including two Bibles, missing.