In February of 2012 I was convicted to leave my part time job at a golf course, in order to give as much time as possible as a volunteer chaplain to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office. This was necessary as it takes an enormous investment in time in order to reach these men and women for Christ. Law enforcement officers (LE0’s) are by training and experience, programmed to trust no one! Christians, priest, pastors, etc. are arrested all the time, so titles are of no significance. A chaplain must walk before them for testing and proving, before he can walk with them and be confided in for help. Access into the law enforcement family is very difficult, but can be accomplished with a trained chaplain who can and will invest the time to love them, pray for them, and be there for them when they need help.
The stress of the officer is always higher than civilians. In any public situation on and off duty their eyes are scanning for people they may have arrested, for who is carrying a weapon, questionable demeanor, and body language etc. LEO’s live daily in a high vigilant, survival mode on or off duty compared to a normal citizen. The stress elevates the moment they put on the protective vest. The stress climes with every article of the uniform they add. On a scale of 1-10, before they walk out the door, their stress level is 3-5. Moving through the day they walk a fine line of legality and danger. LEO’s have the right to kill on purpose, in order to protect human life—their own and others. With this awesome responsibility, is the balance of the legal system that every time they pull the trigger, there will be an investigation to determine if that split—second decision was justified. Potentially, they could lose their job, face demotion, and even face incarceration, if that decision is not correct in the eyes of the law.
Seventy percent of seasoned LEO’s are married at least twice in this abnormal environment. They work 12 hour shifts rotating every two or three days throughout most of their 25 year careers. What LEO’s see and do while on duty usually is not normal dinner table conversation for the family’s ears. They carry a gun everywhere they go. Their “on duty shift” begins with arising, attiring themselves with undergarments, then a bullet proof vest, uniform, gun, taser, pepper spray, handcuffs and more. Their spouses comprehend and must deal with the fact that this may be the last time they see them alive. Statically, every 52 hours a law enforcement office is killed in the line of duty in the U.S. This places enormous stress on a spouse, especially if they do not have a relationship with God. (NOTE: 2016 gunfire deaths are up 57%).
LEO’s can never approach a vehicle on a traffic stop without assuming the driver or passenger has gun and is waiting for them to get into position so they can kill them. The officer who lets his guard down may never get to retirement. LEO’s know that going to a domestic dispute is one of the most dangerous situations for law enforcement. However, this is their job, their calling as ministers of God (Rom. 13) and are driven with courage to bring peace to our neighborhood at any price.
The stress of this occupation has many facets: the visual and auditory trauma of tragedies and accidents, being killed in the line of duty, abnormal family life, the dangers of interacting with the public, public opinion and media unfairness, politics and changing policies within the agency, moderate pay, internal investigations, human cruelty, the destruction of innocent lives, constantly dealing with the dark side or the working out of sin in mankind. The cost of this stress is best expressed in the fact that presently every 17 hours, a law enforcement officer will take their own life!! Think about it, each day a “minister of God for good” will self destruct to escape what they perceive to be a hopeless meaningless existence. THEY NEED THE TRUTH OF JESUS CHRIST IN ORDER TO GIVE THEM HOPE AND SET THEM FREE!
When Ministers of God Missions began in August of 2012, there was one main objective, to bring the love of God through the Lord Jesus Christ into the local law enforcement profession. Because of their work schedule and continuous negative experiences with 7% of society, law enforcement officers (LEO’s) have very little trust for anyone not in the law enforcement profession. Very few people or churches understand them, and even less make an effort to reach them for Christ. The effort to win their trust takes years of prayers and weekly visits. Most chaplains get burned-out in less than a year and are gone. Before a LEO will share intimate, confidential information with a chaplain, the chaplain must prove they have a long term commitment to work with them.
Please remember, while you sleep securely in your bed tonight, men and women are scurrying throughout your city or county confronting, and taking off the streets, people who would steal from you, or hurt you and your family; all the while they are risking their lives to do so. Typically churches donate millions to reach souls all around the world, yet invest little or nothing to care for the souls of those who would lay down their life to keep them safe. This is why most of our support comes from people like you who understand the importance of caring for the souls of “God’s ministers” and their need for Christ.
This is such a worthy cause that even at age 72 I’m constrained to pursue LEO’s for Christ and train others to do the same. Shirley, who also is 72, leads an incarcerated woman to Christ nearly every week.
Your one-time or monthly donations will provide the means for Shirley and me to continue to volunteer as ambassadors for Christ to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office and to train chaplains for other agencies.