COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – This tragedy comes as an eye-opener to churches all across America within all denominations.
Concerns growing about safety and fear in light of this latest mass shooting.
"It's scary to think about. It is a place to of where you can find refuge and comfort, and I think you need that place," said Chris Bone of Columbus.
Locally, Pastor John H. Flakes of Fourth Street Missionary Baptist Church is speaking out about the role of the church.
"I just pray that our society will now begin to focus on the ills of our society that happens to impact on the actual body of Christ," said Flakes.
Among the youngest victims was a 5-year- old boy.
"Our hearts go out to those families who had loved ones shot, and those children who were there serving the Lord and worshipping on a Sunday. Which shows the culture has begun to deconstruct and make the church seem irrelevant or irreverent," said Flakes.
Reflecting on the weekend mass shooting, Pastor Flakes says people should not shy away from the church, but look into the deeper issues happening within society.
Pastor Flakes says spiritually, "the church house" will always be the sacred and a safe place, but it is also the responsibility of the church to be aware and realistic of the changing times.
"I think we are coming to a place now that we have to be very vigilant and increasing our awareness in the place we live now," said Flakes.
Many other pastors around Columbus say they will be implementing more security measures in light of this tragic incident.