In this Church and State Moment, we look to the men and women who serve as police officers in our cities, counties, states, and nation.
Life has not been easy for law enforcement lately. And as our culture turns more and more against authority, it is only going to become more difficult. No one understands this more than the Dallas Police Department.
Yet when it seems like the flag flies more at half-staff than it does full, the church can shine more than ever. In a time when our culture refuses to honor authorities, we can be a light by doing the opposite. That is exactly what the members of Faith Assembly of God Church are doing in Marshalltown, Iowa.
Faith Assembly of God is a small church located in a rural Iowa city, with Pastor David Martin serving as its lead pastor. Pastor Martin said that two years ago the church began a missions plan to reach not only people overseas, but also people right there in their community, including people in local government.
So for over a year, Faith Assembly of God raised money to buy a Bible for all 42 officers serving the Marshalltown Police Department. Before presenting them, they brought each Bible before the altar. The church prayed for each officer who would receive the Bible and for their families. They prayed for their protection. They prayed that the community would be full of God-fearing citizens. Then on June 5, they presented the Bibles to the Marshalltown chief of police to have him present them to each of his officers.
Since the Bible presentation, Faith Assembly of God has been receiving positive feedback from members of the police department. Many of the officers even keep their Bible on the front seat of their squad car.
Yet the Faith Assembly of God community’s love towards the police department has not ended with the Bibles. They have fed the officers, and members of the church frequently approach officers in the community to thank them for their service. They continue to pray for them monthly. They are having real conversations with them and seeking to have a real relationship.
When asked what his long-term hope was for these relationships, Pastor Martin shared, “This has never been about how we can get more people to come to our church. It is about advancing God’s kingdom. I want to view things through the kingdom’s lens and not my own. I do not know what will happen with these relationships. We were just obedient. God will take care of the rest. It is God who makes the seed grow. We just sowed and watered it.”
Pastor Martin went on to encourage other churches in Iowa, “It is making a difference. You don’t have to be a big church to make a difference. We can all make a difference regardless of size.”
Little did Pastor Martin know that just one month later police departments would fall under attack throughout our nation. Men and women in law enforcement across the country need somewhere to turn. Pastor Martin and Faith Assembly of God are hoping they have made it easier for the Marshalltown officers to turn to the Lord.