First Sunday service since death of pastor in Menasha

Pastor Bill Lenz (Photo courtesy Nancy Leschke)

MENASHA (WLUK) -- As church members walked inside Christ the Rock (CTR) for Sunday service, hugs and tears followed.

It's the first time in 35 years the church's founder and senior pastor, Bill Lenz won't be joining them.

CTR executive pastor, Curt Drexler told FOX 11, "Not having that presence there, that stability, it's not just painful for me but it's painful for everyone who notices."

Drexler had been friends with Lenz for 30 years and says Lenz had been wrestling with anxiety and depression. He was under a doctor's care and was even seeing a counselor.

But when Lenz took his own life Monday, it left many people wondering what happened.

"All of us who worked really close with him, who saw him daily on a regular basis, never saw this coming," Drexler said.

Drexler said Lenz was a troubled teen but after finding his faith, he wanted to help people just like him.

"The joy of his life was meeting people and particularly people who were in need, who were in crisis. That was his heart."

Through meeting all kinds of people, he touched a multitude of hearts.

On the church's Facebook page, one man wrote "Bill lead me to Christ in 2012 after my own suicide attempt and battle with addiction. Bill preached to me about the hope and forgiveness offered in Jesus. Without Bill, I might not be here either."

A woman wrote, "His legacy is the youth that he touched. My sons included. Prayers to the family and the very large Christian family he leaves behind."

As support continues to swarm in, Drexler said the church is determined to come out stronger.

"Now with this happening, our convictions are even deeper that we're going to continue to see the vision advance, the mission fulfilled and we are going to treat one another consistent with our values, so I have no doubt in our mind that some of our best days are still yet to come."

Nearly 2,000 people attend the church.

If you or someone you know need help you can learn more about suicide prevention here.

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