ATLANTA (WXIA) -- Greg McDowell goes way back with Pastor Creflo Dollar, way before he became a megachurch pastor.
Friends say he was a big man of strong faith, not just for his religion, but as a devoted husband and father. The fact that he was killed in church, leading prayer, is something that's just very hard to get around.
PHOTOS: Shooting at World Changers Church
Friends say Greg McDowell was a man of faith, and that's what brought him to World Changers. Just the thought that somebody would take his life here, as he prayed no less, has shaken the entire congregation.
"I'm praying for both families," a parishioner from the church said. "It's life and life happens, you know, but you just got to trust God."
For those that knew him the closest, the tragedy makes no sense at all.
"Greg was always a big, happy guy," longtime friend Chaka Cox said. "He was like a gentle giant."
Chaka Cox knew McDowell for decades, and even introduced him to the woman he would later marry.
"He always cared about other people that he came in contact with," Cox said, "That's how people have such a good repertoire with him because he did care about a lot of other people."
"You could always find Greg," Cox said. "He was never the type of person who you could not find. He was the easiest person to find in Atlanta."
He says McDowell was an easy friend who had no obvious enemies, certainly not someone angry enough to kill him from point-blank range in the House of God.
"It's definitely surprising. You think that would happen in a nightclub, or some other place, but not a church," Cox said. "He was actually leading a prayer, so the gentleman that just shot him pointblank - there was no way for security to know he came in there, probably a concealed weapon, I'm not sure, but it is surprising to say the least."
Originally, there was a question as to whether or not they would even have services here tonight, but they decided to go ahead, despite that tragedy.
The shooting happened in a small chapel set aside in a separate building from the main sanctuary.
The church plans to raise money for the family to settle their bills, presumably, like the mortgage and the car notes, and perhaps to even set up a college fund for the small children in that family.