“I avoid telling people how they should live or what they should believe. Rather, I tell them what I believe and show them how to live,” Ivey said. “That sincerity opens the door for questions.”
Middlebrooks says his “first focus” is on the protectors. “I’m a shepherd to sheepdogs,” he said.
As a chaplain for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Middlebrooks was available at any time to answer a call. That mentality went into what he deemed key responsibilities of a chaplain.
- Personal relationships – “You must develop trust.”
- Proactive resiliency – “Don’t teach them to bounce back; prepare them for the bounce.”
- Professional readiness – “Maintain a standard of excellence.”
Middlebrooks summed it up with something he learned from the John Maxwell Coaching and Certification Program.
“Do your job, and then some,” he said.
Surely their military and law enforcement backgrounds would suffice to motivate Ivey and Middlebrooks as they assist officers. But they have even more to offer.
“Jesus Christ is my life,” Ivey said. “I was blessed that God allowed me to serve Him as a Marine serving our country. Then, God called me to continue serving Him as a police officer. I get to protect the citizens of my city as a police officer, but more than that, I get to minister to both the citizens and the police officers with whom I work.”
Middlebrooks’ chaplaincy duties hit a bump in July when he was diagnosed with swelling of the brain. He can’t drive for six months to a year. If Middlebrooks needed help, friends in the first responder community gave him two words:
Faith compels him forward, but he says God will always get him where he needs to be one way or another.
“My faith means that when I can’t, He can,” he said.
The role of chaplain places you at the darkest moment of people’s lives. It’s when a light shines brightest, but that light must reflect something greater.
“When a person submits to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, he/she never knows where God will lead,” Ivey said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a light in the darkness to the men and women who hold the line against evil in the world.
“He is my reason for doing what I do.”
This article originally appeared here.