It's Bethel Tabernacle Church first Sunday without Associate Pastor Troy Lanier. Bishop David D. Bent tells congregants that it's important to be strong, not only for one another, but for the Lanier family.
Wednesday afternoon, Troy Lanier was involved in a fatal single car crash, says Milwaukee Police Department. Lanier was the only person involved in the crash near Sherman and Florist Avenue, where his car hit a tree. MPD says that speed appears to be a factor.
"He had a great impact because he had a good ministry, and we're gonna miss him," says Bishop Bent.
Bishop Bent says Lanier had been an Associate Pastor at the church for a little over three years. Together with church Elder Nathan Cross, the church leaders began to comfort the family.
"At first it was unbelievable. When I got the call, I didn't understand it," says Cross.
Cross and Lanier worked closely with the Bishop as National Adjuncts, going with him to conferences and learning along side him. The pair were best friends and practically inseparable.
"Going out to dinner, usually every Sunday. Even last Sunday. Calling each other joking. Teaching each other about the bible scriptures," says Cross.
They were both working on the dream of becoming Bishops. Cross admits that he's been angry and sad at the situation, but it's his faith that's helped him to keep going.
"The lord spoke to me and said,'Whatever you do now, it was two. But as you go forward, whatever you do will be for the both of you'," says Cross.
Cross says Lanier was the life of the party. Both Bent and Cross say now is the time to prepare for the funeral this Saturday.
"We try to tell our people to be strong. Look up. Hold up your head. The lord didn't bring us this far to leave us," says Bishop Bent.