Dr. Scotty's Calling
Years ago God spoke to me calling me out to serve people. I answered the call in 1989 and began a path of ministry that includes preaching, teaching, pastoring and of course missions. My task has been multifaceted and has taken me many places and to many unique people around the world. In 2016 there were many events in the news concerning law enforcement and too often the needless and brutal ambush and murder of officers. The turning point for me came as a result of the events in Dallas TX last summer when 5 officers were killed and 7 were wounded by a police assassin. So it seems some of the most needed ministry today is right where I live. There is a great spiritual need to minister to this very special, highly trained group, of people who serve and protect us everyday. The Lord placed me into Law Enforcement Chaplaincy and has now stirred my heart to commit myself full time to this group of amazing people with my total heart and passion.
Mission Team Inc.’s mission has taken a new direction. We are seeking to bring to the men and women who serve in Law Enforcement deep faith in Jesus Christ. MTI was founded in 2004 to reach out with the message of Jesus Christ through the work of missions. This has been accomplished many ways on a great variety of mission fields worldwide. Now God once again is pointing me to this very specific group of individuals who serve us everyday. There are over one million law enforcement personnel in the United States alone. In the State of Georgia there are about 70,000 law enforcement officers who work in over 265 different agencies. Officers who serve us have a great spiritual need due to shift work, stress, and a public that seem to treat officers who enforce the law different than other people.
A dear friend named John who served as a homicide detective for many years recently told me that he felt that he was indeed a tool of God according to Romans Chapter 13:1-7. This passage tells us plainly that law enforcers are ministering agents. But John told me that he felt like he was a “dirty” tool. John continued, “God has some tools that just get dirty, but He has to use them.” And then John said, “I am one of them.” He is correct in that the work of law enforcement is a tough dirty business and the officers who do it rub shoulders with the underbellies of society. But God cleans His tools and He does it completely and precisely. Teaching these men and women this Truth is a joy and my passion.
The Need We Seek to Meet
The world has seen in the last few years how law enforcement has been questioned, ridiculed and even violently attacked by a society that does not seem to understand the vital role these keepers of the peace play in our world.
The world of Law Enforcement is not one that most people understand or envy. A peace officer has a task unlike most other professions. Officers face boredom, danger, and mountains of detailed paperwork on every shift. The divorce rate, suicide rate, and likelihood to be sued for just doing their job is the highest of all professions. Because of shift work, isolation, and a lack of understanding many officers find it difficult to connect with a church or a pastor who they trust.
The police officer also finds that to do the job they will from time to time need to use force. Both verbal and physical force may be needed to restore order and make safe others or themselves. The use of force is studied, practiced, and well planned for both physical and mental execution by law enforcement. But when it happens there is always an additional component that is difficult to deal with for every officer. There is a spiritual element to the harming or taking the life of another human being. Inflicting pain or taking the freedom of another is not pleasant or desired.
A law enforcement Chaplain must be ready to meet the needs of those men and women they serve. Because law enforcement is an ongoing ever present task. There is never a time when someone is not on duty. Law enforcement chaplains must be ready too. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, Three hundred and sixty five days a year there is a need for the law enforcement chaplain to be ready.
I have seen this need first hand by serving the Cobb County Police Department for 15 years as a Chaplain. One of my first experiences to see the need of was one night riding with an officer who seemed to panic as we were dispatched to a possible suicide. He gripped the wheel of the car and went silent. The call was an older man who had taken an overdose of pills, but when we arrived we were able to get him to the hospital and to some mental health counselors. It was then I ask what was up with him? He relayed to me how his first day alone in the squad car he was dispatched to a suicide where he found a 14 year old girl dead with a gunshot to the head being held by her father who was nearly out of his mind with grief. He had never gotten over this event and relived it all to often.
This and many experiences have shown me the great need for the work God has called me to do. Trauma and stress are big issues for law enforcement. It is a reality that 100% of all officers are dealing with Post Traumatic Stress, and because of this approximately 15% are dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which limits and impairs some aspect of their lives. Their is no real “cure” for PTSD but gaining a biblical understanding of life events and the development of healthy spiritual life brings coping skills into officers lives to dynamically and profoundly change their symptoms.
I am convinced that if someone is willing to invest their lives with law enforcement community they can and will become part of the law enforcement family. The sphere of influence they seek is to reach deeply into this difficult and misunderstood, yet essential profession. This work is life changing for the officers. This is the task to which I feel called.
Personal Vision of Dr Scotty Davis.
I desire to develop, disciple, and deploy individuals in the profession of Law Enforcement to become intentional and strategic in their walk with Jesus Christ. I truly believe that God has equipped and trained me to be a valuable resource for law enforcement. I also believe this is God’s calling on my life to become a full time missionary to all who serve in the community of Law Enforcement.
The Strategy of MTI
Considering the great need for spiritual leadership in the law enforcement family brings me a resolve to dedicate and to serve these great public servants. The plan of action will be three fold. I will serve them first through law enforcement chaplaincy. This will include a ministry of presence to touch their lives as often and consistently with reminders of God’s love, protection, and endorsement of their work. As a chaplain I will be there for ceremonial activities, difficult moments, and for encouragement in their work. In addition to this I will be working to train new chaplains at every opportunity and to be a networking for chaplains to help them support each other with difficult situations or events. Where there is no chaplain in an agency we will seek to help the agency develop a chaplain program. We will attempt to help recruit and train chaplains for the agency and supply them with guidelines for administration.
Second, I will be a counselor for these men and women who serve. I am by training and faith a Biblical counselor. I only use the Scripture in the counseling that I do, and often this is exactly what officer’s looking for and really need for complex problems they may face. Counseling is often expensive and therefore out of reach for officers, but we will offer counseling for all law enforcement without charge. This will only be possible by the support of people who realize this serious and overwhelming need. The ability to approach officers when they are involved in critical incidents cannot be accomplished without direct continual development of a trust-based relationship. Too often officers without a chaplain have no one to turn to who understands their work and job constraints. This will leave them frustrated, isolated and hopeless after they have done their job in dealing with what can be extreme and horrible events. This is why the serving as a chaplain is critical.
The third task of strategy is to be a catalyst to connect law enforcement to a deeper relationship with Christ and with each other. Discipleship training and classes for marriage enrichment will be offered as well as other avenues to deepen officer’s and their spouse’s faith. Specifically I plan to start an ongoing bible study program to deal with specific law enforcement issues held in a manner and location that will be familiar and comfortable to officers. In addition to this we will try to encourage and develop prayer groups among officers. This will be the most effective way to grow the officers in their faith. Our goal will be to connect them, then encourage them to pray and read Scripture together. Supplies of resources to encourage and develop officers are available and we will seek to place these where needed. As new and unresolved issues arise we will seek to write and develop the materials needed to meet the any situation.
The path to accomplish this strategy depends on proper use of time and funds. I will need your prayers and support to allow me to tackle this task. I would like to ask you to pray about your role in the spiritual support of the Ministry of Mission Team Inc. Your monthly support is essential to allow me to be there with these modern centurions.