Police officers and pastors have far more in common than most people think. They each deal with the depravity of humanity, but from a different perspective. Naturally, cops deal with criminal conduct using the penal code. Pastors deal with flawed people using God’s code–the Bible. But peace officers and pastors alike have a heart to help others.
Combine the two and you have something unique: Cop Church Chattanooga.
Peace Officer Jonathan Parker has a heart that beats with blue blood. He has worked for the Chattanooga Police Department since 2007. He currently serves as a School Resource Officer (SRO) and Adjunct Training Instructor.
Pastor Jonathan Parker (the same man) has a heart that teaches every person has sinned and comes short of the glory of God. Justification, regeneration, and the new birth are works of grace through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Parker does not minister alone. His wife Meredith pastors with him. Jonathan and Meredith are passionate about leading people to Christ, where they can experience healing and the abundant life spoken of by Jesus in Scripture. Whether in ministry, law enforcement, or Meredith’s work as an adolescent counselor, they have dedicated their lives to serving others.
They met in 2003 while attending the Pentecostal Theological Seminary in Cleveland, Tennessee, where Jonathan earned a Master of Divinity in Ministry Leadership and Meredith earned a Master of Arts in Christian Formation with an emphasis in Counseling. They were married in 2006, and have one beautiful daughter.
In October 2014, Jonathan and Meredith announced the vision for family-oriented worship services targeting the law enforcement community. Cop Church Chattanooga was launched on February 3, 2015, and the ministry continues to grow. They envision Cop Church as a hub for ministry and service to the law enforcement and first responder communities in the region, and also have a vision for Cop Churches across the nation.
Jonathan said they have spoken to other cities about launching Cop Church. “We have two that are currently building leadership teams and working towards that goal. They are Philadelphia and the Cincinnati/Tri-State area. They are currently meeting in homes or in the planning stages.”
There will also be one night only Cop Church events in Baltimore, Maryland and Fort Worth, Texas coming in November. The event in Texas will follow the Bullet Proof Mind Seminar, featuring Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, among others.
The Mission of Cop Church Chattanooga is to be an exciting church where first responder families can encounter God, experience life-giving fellowship with others, and be empowered to transform their communities through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
They firmly believe in the benefits of being connected with denominational fellowship. Their context is especially unique, however, and they would rather focus on the non-negotiable essentials of the Christian faith while allowing liberty in the non-essential areas. Those serving on their ministry teams and attending worship experiences have a variety of backgrounds to include Pentecostal, Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, and more.
Cop Church Chattanooga subscribes to five foundational Christian doctrines:
1) The inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible.
2) The virgin birth and complete deity of Christ.
3) The atoning sacrifice of Christ’s death for the sins of the world.
4) The literal resurrection of the body.
5) Christ’s second coming in bodily form to earth.
Messages are delivered by their staff, but they occasionally bring guest speakers such as Willie Richardson Jr. to teach and encourage those in attendance.
In a culture that is losing light, Cop Church Chattanooga shines bright. They are currently worshipping at Metro Tabernacle, located at 2101 W Shepherd Rd 37421 at exit 1a just off of Highway 153 in the heart of Chattanooga, Tennessee, the first and third Tuesday every month at 6:30 p.m.
Photo’s courtesy Kits Photography