Happy Good Friday to all, especially to my fellow church safety and security volunteers!

As we go into the Easter weekend, and consider what Jesus did for us, I want to remind you all how important it is to develop a ministry mindset, especially in these recent times when there is so much angst, frustration, confrontation, and violence. Having situation awareness and self-discipline will help you stay safe and keep others safe in a volatile situation, and having a ministry mindset will increase the probability that you do not overreact in a given moment. Having a ministry mindset will also help you be mindful that despite how challenging a person or situation is, they are still another child of God who may just need to vent and feel validated.

It is written in Matthew 5:9 (NIV), “Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”, and I made a social media post last year commenting that if you consider yourself a peacemaker, and you want to be considered a peacemaker, then you really need to have a good understanding and grasp of some basic verbal conflict de-escalation concepts and skills. One person responded with, “Wrong. Ministry goes out the window until that person is subdued or removed from the property”.

Unfortunately, that type of hard, unyielding, attitude may have contributed greatly to the tragic incident at the Rock Church in Laurel, Mississippi, in April 2023, when a church safety security volunteer first punched a man, then shot the man in the back as the man ran away, AND THEN ran up and kicked the man in the head. The only thing the victim had done wrong at that moment was to simply try to walk back into the church after being escorted out. I have not found anything that says the victim had been violent or threatened violence before being escorted out. That church safety security volunteer is now charged with murder in a situation that could have been mitigated and even completely avoided with a ministry mindset and knowledge of conflict de-escalation basics.

Jesus demonstrated a ministry mindset on the night he was betrayed and arrested. It was a very volatile and stressful moment, and in John 18:10 (NIV) it is recorded that Simon Peter drew a sword and cut off the right ear of Malchus, one of the high priest’s servants who was there to arrest Jesus. At that moment a whole lot of violence could have erupted with a lot of people getting hurt, but in Luke 22:51 (NIV) Jesus stopped the violence, then touched the man’s ear and healed him. Ministry mindset.

Aren’t we challenged to be more Christ-like? Aren’t we supposed to renew our minds? Aren’t we supposed to be a new creature in Christ? We are not going to get it right all the time, but I can tell you from personal experience that a ministry mindset does NOT, and should NOT, go out the window in times of stress and conflict! It did not when I was in Desert Storm as an infantryman dealing with Iraqi soldiers, and it did not when I was a police officer dealing with violent people. In fact, I credit having a ministry mindset for keeping me from losing my job and ending up on the news or YouTube!

As we go into the Easter weekend, consider what Jesus did for you, and consider that developing a ministry mindset is not asking too much of you.

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”, Matthew 25:40

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