AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– In a Facebook post, First Baptist Church of Augusta Senior Pastor Dr. Will Dyer extended an offer of friendship to the person responsible for vandalizing the church earlier this week.
When Dr. Dyer arrived at church Tuesday, he saw phrases that read “God is dead” and “Christians are the problem” among other messages spray painted on church walls. So he went to Facebook, inviting the person responsible to have a conversation with him and “share a meal at the table.”
“My concern was not about the building. It was about the person,” Dr. Dyer said.
His Facebook post included pictures of two of the graffiti phrases, and a message written directly to the person responsible. That post now has over one thousand shares.
“I had no idea it would go viral, but I thought, ‘What would I want to say to the person who did this,’ Dr. Dyer said. “And that’s how I framed the post.”
Dr. Dyer’s message was one of grace, forgiveness, and friendship. He wrote, “I know you probably won’t read this post, but if you do, I would love to meet you. I would love to hear your story and share a meal at the table.”
“If you sit down at a table and you share a meal with someone, you might not emerge agreeing on everything, but it’s hard to hate someone that you share a meal with,” Dr. Dyer said.
He says it’s important to use this incident as a way to spread his message.
“Hopefully showing our city, not just the person who spray painted on our buildings, but showing our city that this church embodies a better way, that we are truly trying to represent Jesus well in this world,” Dr. Dyer said.
First Baptist Church of Augusta has no plans to pursue any legal action.
“We will absolutely not press charges,” Dr. Dyer said. “That is not something we are interested in.”
But what he is interested in pursuing– a world with more kindness.
“I hope, looking back a year from now, that what people understand is that when you respond with kindness, worlds of possibility are opened,” Dr. Dyer said.