On November 15–19, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team held a Law Enforcement Chaplaincy Training Program in Cullman, Alabama—one of many weeklong trainings they’ve hosted across the United States.
Every day law enforcement officers report to work, their lives are at risk. But that’s not all. Their mental health is also on the line.
In recent years, more officers have died by suicide than in the line of duty.
Nov. 29–Dec. 3: Grand Prairie, Texas
Feb. 7–11: Sweetwater, Florida
March 7–11: Evansville, Indiana
April 25–29: Edneyville, North Carolina
With such a great need for emotional and spiritual support, police forces across the country are inviting the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) to train their own officers as chaplains—knowing full well those trainings are based on God’s Word.
“Unlike any other chaplain course I’ve ever seen, we are Bible-based and Christ-centered,” explained David Rutledge, co-manager of the Rapid Response Team’s law enforcement ministry. “Jesus is the heart of it. We’re obvious about that.”
Rutledge and other Billy Graham chaplains with law enforcement experience are leading trainings nationwide—from the tip of Florida to the California coast.
These weeklong trainings are open not only to active duty and retired officers, but pastors and community members with hearts for law enforcement as well. Through lessons and discussions, Billy Graham chaplains dive deep into the challenges officers face and offer tips for how attendees can support them. They also guide chaplain trainees who are officers themselves how not to burn out helping others.
“We get a healthy mix of different people that adds a lot to discussions,” said Eric Hubbard, Rutledge’s fellow manager and another former officer. His own wife went through the 40-hour course.
The material doesn’t change based on location. But the Holy Spirit always shows up to meet attendees in personal ways.
“This training was real and pure, and God was present,” said one attendee.
“I did not want the week to end,” added another.
“God is using you. Keep it going as much as He allows,” said one more.
So far, the BG-RRT has hosted more than a dozen trainings, and the invitations keep coming in. And Rutledge, who worked in law enforcement for more than 30 years, thinks it’s a sign of revival.
“When I first started in 1980, nobody talked about faith,” he said. “There’s a spiritual hunger now. Christian officers are much more open about their faith. … To be a part of that is just amazing.”
Hubbard, who had a 20-year law enforcement career, noted recent tensions have factored in the change.
“People are now realizing that their hope isn’t in what they thought it was in,” he said. “There’s all this unreasonable anger toward them. They’re realizing that there’s got to be more than this.
“We get to explain that there’s a bigger hope, and His name is Jesus.”