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A Safe Place for Policemen


“We need a safe place for policemen to go,” Tim says. “I want those in law enforcement to realize that there are a lot of good people out there who support them.”

In October 2016, Tim Rupp, pastor of River of Life (C&MA) Church in Idaho Falls, Idaho, met Jonathan Parker, pastor of Cop Church Chattanooga (Tennessee), who introduced him to the idea of a church directed toward those in law enforcement. Tim, a retired police officer, had previously sought to reach these public servants with the gospel through his book, Winning a Gun Fight, and his Strong Blue Line ministry. But he wanted to do more.

“We need a safe place for policemen to go,” Tim says. “I want those in law enforcement to realize that there are a lot of good people out there who support them.”

Tim spoke to Pastor Gordon Boyle, who is also retired from law enforcement, about starting a cop church in Idaho Falls. They spoke with Gordon’s Bible study for policemen to find out if there would be any interest.

The men were all on board. So Tim started making plans to plant Cop Church Idaho Falls in September 2017. He decided to begin with a service once a month on a Tuesday night to accommodate police officers unable to attend on a Sunday morning.

A number of local people targeted the church, threatening physical harm in an effort to shut it down before it even opened. “But little did they know, threats are great advertising for police officers,” Tim observes. “Police officers think, Wow, something dangerous might happen! I want to go.

Making a Case for God

Tim continues to work as a reserve deputy with the police department. Some of the men he thought would never come to a church visited the first night because they heard about the threats. They were intrigued.

Congregants of Cop Church Idaho Falls mingle before the service starts.

Tim has also seen much more openness to the gospel and his witness since planting the church. Many of these men carry heavy emotional burdens because of what they have witnessed on the job. One of them, a 70-year-old retired police officer, opened up about how he still struggles with what he saw on the street in Los Angeles 40 years earlier.

Tim has chosen the topics of his sermons to fit the unique struggles police daily endure. “When they go into policing, they see a harsh side of humanity and think, There can’t be a God,” Tim explains.

Each month, Tim explores a different, popular argument that questions the existence or goodness of God. For example, in response to the Texas shooting in November, he preached about why God allows evil. His sermons are like a trial, in that he allows his congregation to make a decision based on the evidence he provides for his case.

“We’re not called to be judges,” Tim says. “We’re called to be witnesses. A witness testifies about what he knows to be true.”

Pray

Since this church plant’s conception, the congregation has faced much spiritual opposition, largely in the form of threats. Please pray that this work can continue so that more police officers will find lasting hope and confidence in Christ.