A Word to Pastors ...
By Jimmy Meeks
Dear pastor. Please give me a moment of your time to talk about our Sheepdog Seminars.
Since 1999, over 700 people have died a violent death while on church and faith-based property in the United States. That number is close to, if not ahead of, the number of violent deaths in our school shootings during that time period.
In addition to that, sex crimes are reported daily at a church in America. A church in Oklahoma scheduled us for a seminar a few months ago. They caught a man molesting a child during the showing of a movie. Upon further investigation, it was learned that he had molested several more children in the church - including two of the pastor's children.
Violence on church and faith-based property is a growing problem in our country.
Ten years ago I resigned from being a pastor. I had served there for over 11 years (while also a full time police officer). I know the schedule of a pastor can be - to say the least - very demanding.
I want to ask you to consider attending this seminar. In most of our seminars, the pastor does not attend. Instead, the associate, or someone else on the staff, is sent. But I am asking YOU, pastor, to attend this seminar. I know you're busy. I can relate to that. But perhaps you can adjust your schedule the week of the seminar and find a way to be there. The pastors who have found a way to attend, have by no means regretted it.
There is something else you need to know...
If you experience a tragedy at your church (shooting, sex crime, etc) you will spend the next few years picking up the pieces of broken hearts. For all practical purposes, the rest of your tenure at the church will be dealing with the fallout of the tragedy.
I have personally witnessed this. My pastor friend Norman Crisp can tell you this. A gunman walked into his church (photo of church to right) on June 22, 1980, and shot 15 people - killing 5.
Pastor Crisp had only been at the church for 3 weeks. He spent the rest of his time at the church ministering to his brokenhearted people. I was married at this church 3 years before the tragedy. To this day, when I visit the church and speak with the people, the pain is still evident. I befriended one of the men who witnessed the tragedy in 1980. He was only 11-years old the day of the massacre. The day of the tragedy sent him into a tailspin from which he never recovered. He killed himself in January of 2014.
Pastor, please consider attending this seminar. You will find Jesus is exalted in our seminars. One of the weapons we teach churches to use to impede violence is FASTING. Yes, in the Bible fasting stopped violence. It is no guarantee that fasting will stop violence, but we must employ all of weapons to thwart violence.
Most pastors only send their safety team, and, of course, we are grateful that they do. But the presence of the church staff is so vitally important. YOUTH DIRECTORS and CHILDREN'S WORKERS - we plead with these individuals to come.
We hope you will join the "team" and attend, also.
You will also hear from Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman (left), retired from the U.S. Army, a former West Point Psychology Professor, a nationally recognized expert on the causes of human aggression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and author of several books. Colonel Grossman's presentation will address violence inside and outside of the church, and what we must do to impede its growing tide.
You will also hear from Carl Chinn (below). Carl was working for James Dobson at Focus on the Family in 1996 when an angry gunman showed up and took hostages - Carl being one of them. Then, 11 years later, while serving on the safety team at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO, Carl found himself in the path of the killer who had just shot a man and killed two of his daughters. Carl has written a book about the incident (Evil Invades Sanctuary). He will share the invaluable lessons the team learned from this tragedy.
And yes, you will hear from me, Jimmy Meeks. I have spent the last few years of my life studying violence at houses of worship, its affect on victims, and what we must do to thwart it. In my 35 years as a cop, I have continually witnessed the horror of violence. I have seen the battered women, the abused children, the murdered fathers....and the list goes on. It is my conviction that this violence is absolutely breaking the Heart of our Father.
So let's put forth our best effort to stop it!
And best of all, at the conclusion of the seminar, you will be with us, as we kneel before God and ask Him to lift His Mighty Hand against this violent trend in our country. Who knows, maybe our prayers will stem this tide of violence, and innocent, precious lives will be spared from spending the rest of their earthly lives trying to overcome the pain associated with such evil...
I do hope to see you there. If you have any questions about this seminar, do not hesitate to call me: 817.437.9693
It is an honor to serve with you.