There is a great multitude of law enforcement officers in the United States. The dangerous nature of the job--shootings, targets of assault, negative public image, etc.--brings heavy stress. The divorce rate among law officers is twice the national average. They are a closed, close-knit group. Outsiders are not welcome. For solutions they often turn to other officers who are battling the same problems. They need to know there is someone they can trust, who will earn the right to be their friend. Law enforcement is in reality a mission field!
The Local Church
Community involvement is an important ingredient in the ministry of a local church. What better way can this be accomplished than through providing a ministry to the local law officers? The following are some practical things a local church can do to reach out to law officers:
Pray regularly for them, not only publicly but in private devotions.
Show appreciation. Remember your law officers during National Police Week (the week of May 15) with a special appreciation service and/or dinner. Invite the Police Chief and Mayor for this special service. On a particular holiday, like Thanksgiving, provide the officers on duty with dinner and all the trimmings. It gives your people a chance to get to know the officers while on their breaks. You can also provide gift booklets to all the officers at Christmas--a gift of thanks from your church.
Remember, you probably won't increase your congregation by providing for the local law officers, but it will build rapport with the citizens and leaders of your local government.
Some agencies may already have an organized chaplain program. If you would like to volunteer, contact their community relations office for information.
Training and Support
Your local agency may have a program to train new chaplains. There are also professional organizations, such as the International Conference of Police Chaplains, that provide regional and national training seminars for police chaplains:
International Conference of Police Chaplains
P.O. Box 5590
Destin, FL 32540-5590
Police Chaplaincy provides a unique opportunity for a pastor and a local congregation to minister to their community. This is truly a mission field "white unto harvest." Perhaps God is calling you and your church to be harvesters.
For further information call us at 1-800-233-8962.