First responders face a special set of challenges, so now there’s a special worship service to help them and their families through it all.
The first Cop Church-MHC service will be June 6 at 6:30 p.m. at 700 Commerce Court in Martinsville.
The idea for Cop Church-MHC was born when Michael Hendricks and Michael Harrison, pastor of The Community Fellowship in Collinsville, attended a pastors’ conference in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, about a month ago.
A man there talked about having a “cop church,” which is not church specific and, in fact, is done in many places across America. “We started to pitch the idea and a few days later…the Lord put it on Pastor Michael’s heart,” Hendricks said.
Hendricks added that he thought the cop church concept was a good idea and that he wanted to become a pastor, this service would be the perfect opportunity.
“We’re going to do it and you’re going to direct it,” Hendricks told Harrison. The service will be organized as a Bible study that picks up Harrison’s sermons at The Community Fellowship.
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“He’s guiding me right now,” Hendricks said. “He will guide me…the sermons I preach will probably come from his sermons this Sunday.” He will then try to tie the sermon to what first responders encounter in their work, who they meet, and how they can use their religion to deal with what they are going through.
It will be different from a traditional church service as there will be a small portion of the sermon which will then lead to a breakdown of the message and an open discussion where attendees can talk and ask questions.
“It will be sort of a cross between a sermon, a Bible study and a discussion group,” he explained.
“There is no judgement, there are no expectations because this will not be your typical Sunday service,” he said, adding that he expected attendees share the same ideas.
Hendricks’ wife, Amanda Hendricks, will be on hand as a mental health professional to provide any advice first responders may need. “Their work revolves around bad situations,” he said. “She will be available if they need to talk or discuss any mental health issues or concerns.”
“A lot of people asked us questions,” Hendricks said. “I will say that means a lot of interest.” People are already asking him about the dates and times of the service and telling him why they choose first responders, he said.
Hendricks said he was so passionate about providing this service to first responders because “we don’t do enough for our first responders. We are not helping them enough. They need resources, they need support like everyone else.
Family members will also be included: “A police officer’s wife…they live life with their spouse,” he said.
The service will have a worship group whenever Hendricks is able to arrange for a group or performers to attend. “It might not be every time, but I will try,” he said.
The service will begin at 6:30 p.m. on the first Monday and Wednesday of each month at 700 Commerce Court, a building that has been owned by The Community Fellowship church for years but is still undergoing renovations. Hendricks said the hall they plan to use for Cop Church will be completed in time for the first service.
The Community Fellowship will host a First Responder Appreciation Day following its 10:10 a.m. Sunday Service on Sunday, May 22 at The Community Fellowship.
The service that morning will be “focused on first responders” and their work, Hendricks said, and then after there will be lunch and door prizes for attendees. They will also provide more information about Cop Church.
“We want to thank you for what you do and for the time you have served in our community,” Harrison said in a Facebook video about the appreciation day.
Monique Holland is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. She can be reached at [email protected] or 276-734-9603.