Just last year, a man who walked into a church with a gun caused untold suffering in Charleston, South Carolina, where nine were killed - not to mention a divisive debate over whether the Confederate flag should be removed from the grounds of South Carolina's statehouse.
But when a man with a semi-automatic assault rifle walked into Larry Wright's Heal the Land Outreach Ministries in Fayetteville, North Carolina, on New Year's Eve, the outcome was very different.
As about 60 of Wright's flock, present for the final prayer service of 2015, watched, the pastor - a 57-year-old city council member and military veteran, according to the Fayetteville Observer - started with a simple question: "Can I help you?''
What happened next depended on the man. Was he here to rob? To make a point about gun control? To commit another mass shooting?
"If he was belligerent, I was going to tackle him," Wright told the Observer - which pointed out that he is 188cm and 104 kilograms.
No physical confrontation was necessary, though. The man - not yet named by Fayetteville police - had just one request: Please pray for him.
Wright took the man's weapon - and returned to the service. As 2015 turned into 2016, he even found a new convert.
"I finished the message, I did the altar call, and he stood right up, came up to the altar and gave his life to Christ," Wright said of the man, who said he had recently been released from prison and "intended to do something terrible," as CNN put it. Wright told NBC that the man was a military veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
"I came down and prayed with him, and we embraced," Wright said. "It was like a father embracing a son."
Police - who Wright kept outside of the church until the late-night prayer service's conclusion - said that the man voluntarily checked himself into a local hospital.
I came down and prayed with him, and we embraced
"It's so hard to describe, to explain the excitement and love of God in the room," Wright told CNN. "This man came in to do harm, and he has given his life to Christ."
This isn't the first time Wright has faced down an unhappy man with a gun. In 2013, he told the Observer that he confronted a drug dealer with a 9mm who wasn't happy about Wright's work in the community.
"He said I had cost him a lot of money," Wright said. "And he wasn't happy about it. But we talked a while, and left it at that. . . . I told him that when he was ready, God was waiting to welcome him - and so were we."