The attitude of everyone’s heart is complex yet simple. Either we are focused on what God desires or what we desire. If we have a passion for loving and serving God we will be driven by a genuine love and compassion for others. If we are constantly seeking to please our flesh, we are driven by our selfish carnality and will only care about what makes us feel good. As the mercy of the Lord reached down from heaven to save us, we also should be aware that our responsibility and the purpose of our existence is to know and love God and love people. If we do not have a burden for others – something is seriously wrong.
Last year, I was invited to sing and minister God’s Word at a television station in the mountains of Beattyville Kentucky. This was an exciting experience and an honor to share my heart with such a large audience.
As Chaplain with Jessamine County Fire District, I am certified with the Kentucky Fire Commission and the Kentucky Federation of Fire Chaplains. I am in current good standing with training hours and consider it an honor to serve those who protect our community. I have learned a great deal about the sacrifices and hard work that goes on behind the scenes and I know first hand that our Fire District members are a dedicated group that shares in a calling to help those in need and are very serious about making a difference in people’s lives. My contribution is to be available when they need me to talk and pray and for them to know that I am here to serve them in any way I can.
First responders are heroes that need the strength and courage from God to be able to do what needs to be done. I have attended training classes and watched these guys in action and let me say there is much more that goes on behind the scenes of being a firefighter than the general public could imagine. The training is intense and the classwork is a constant flow of critical information that helps them be prepared to save people’s lives which includes you and I. Every time we get into our vehicle to go somewhere we are not guaranteed that we will not be in an accident. The same is true when there are fires in the home, no one ever sees it coming.
If something does happen, we can know that a firefighter or a paramedic will be the one trying to remove us and help save our lives until the medical personnel can get there. Their job is filled with trauma related emergencies on a daily basis and I am grateful to have the opportunity to serve in this type of ministry. Providing a spiritual presence to those not only going through a crisis but also helping those who are risking their own life to save others gives them an encouragement that someone has their back in prayer. It is important to maintain a support system for the times when they might need a word of hope or just someone to take the time and listen when they are going through seasons of personal crisis. I am truly humbled and blessed to be a part of this service.
When I was asked to join the Fire Department in 2012 as the chaplain, I did not completely understand what my duties would include or how I might relate to an area that I was not familiar with. Other than making visits to the station, attending training classes and doing hospital visitation, there is actually much more involvement that is needed. My ministry for the last 30 years has mostly been centered around church related interaction among the saints so to speak, but working behind the “walls” of the church is much different than taking the church to the community.
This opportunity was more like joining a public, secular organization that had its own way of operating and did not exactly have spiritual considerations as it’s the highest priority. The assistant chief approached me one day and suggested that I learn about the Kentucky Community Crisis Response Team (KCCRT) with the thought that maybe this would provide some insight that could relate to this field and help with the transition. KCCRT is a State organization that is a branch of Kentucky Emergency Management and teaches FEMA and Homeland Security curriculum. These response teams provide stress and trauma related psychological assistance in times of emergency disaster. Extensive training is required to become recognized as a level two classification and I have finished the courses and now a faith-based/psychological first aid team member. There is also much ongoing education in order to maintain active membership and to keep up with the ongoing changes that are being implemented in the world of crisis preparation.
I am on-call for any type of disaster-related crisis within the state of Kentucky and if needed anywhere in the country. Our role playing exercises are a huge part of our training and an effective way to learn how to be more familiar with human need.
Some examples of disasters and catastrophic events that would call for our intervention would be – Workplace trauma/violence, plane crash, school shooting, transportation accident, bio-terrorism, explosive devices, infrastructure failure/sabotage, industrial accident, weather-related disasters flood/tornados/fire and any type of intentional violence. It has been said, the behavioral health consequences of a mass casualty event may well be the most widespread, long-lasting, and expensive consequences.
I am also a team member and chaplain of our local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) that is more of a hands-on group of first responders that are trained in CPR, emergency medical crisis and triage, search and rescue, severe weather response, traffic control and whatever needs to be done. CERT has proved to be a valuable resource especially with Police and Fire. CERT is given access to the scene because they are trained to know how to help and are aware of what to do and what not to do. They have their own incident commander and work within the chain of command. Members offer immediate help for victims until professional teams can arrive and give extra manpower to the situation when resources are limited. They also are a welcome relief to provide the firefighter’s rehab on scene with setting up safe shelters to help take care of basic needs of food, water, shelter and medical monitoring for those who are directly involved with the incident
Firefighters can only work for certain periods of time before needing a break and must be refreshed before going back into the battle and a part of this agency’s responsibility is to be on scene and ready to help in any way possible. The motto of CERT is, “doing the greatest good for the greatest number.” Faith-based
counseling experience and disaster relief psychological first-aid training are definitely great assets to have present on a scene but an emergency response is all about saving lives first. Whether conducting search and rescue, emergency medical procedures or administering trauma and psychological first aid, the focus is to maintain the process. Successful trauma and stress related intervention can work independently without professional clergy as they both are distinct and yet are much needed in their own unique circumstances. When the scene is secure and everyone is physically stable, the process of recovery can continue.
This is a recent picture from a CERT call-out response training where we performed grid search along with search and rescue and simulated emergency medical intervention. As you can see here our practice “victim” was falling apart but the team did a great job overall with remembering our training and willing to do whatever needs to be done.
It is an honor to work with these two first response heroes. Lieutenant Johnny Adams on the left is a firefighter and a training instructor for the County and City Fire Departments. He is also the director of Jessamine County Emergency Management which has just officially brought CERT into the program. The brother on the right is none other than Rich Conaway, who leads Jessamine County CERT and is the community reliance specialist the Red Cross and serves 23 counties. Rich was given a community service award recently and it included bring the entire organization to Sonny’s for dinner. It was an honor to be named the chaplain for Jessamine County community emergency response team.
I have been a licensed and ordained minister with the Full Gospel Ministerial Association of America since 2003. This is a group of independent ministers and pastors that are committed to excellence in ministry and consider themselves as representatives of the Kingdom of God. I have officiated several weddings, memorials, and funerals throughout the years and I am always available to serve in this capacity whenever the need arises. We have been called to serve and commissioned to be a light in this world of darkness in order that the love of Christ may be seen as a city set on a hill. “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor” (Ephesians 5:1-2). Everyone that is a child of God is a minister that has been commissioned to represent His Kingdom. There are no spectators in this arena – only full-time participators. Being a passionate witness for Christ is 24/7 and always “in season.”
There is no limit to how we can serve the Lord if we will pray and seek His direction. We can start with our family, our neighbors, and those we work with. When I say “serve” the Lord, I am not only talking about doing and giving, but we need to realize that the Christian life is as much about what how we act and what we say. Demonstrating the character of Christ will change more lives for Jesus than our good deeds. I have prayed throughout this web site for God to anoint and empower this content for His glory. I want to make available these resources He has given to me and by the power of His Holy Spirit, maybe someone will be inspired to seek Him. The photo below is an example of how God can use us to minister life and love to other people even around the world if we will be diligent and determined to be His vessel. Pastor Peter has been using the teachings on this site to minister to his 3 congregations and a jail ministry. We never know how God desires to use us until we step out by faith and obey His voice.
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