BATAVIA, N.Y.—When the coronavirus began rapidly spreading through the US, Chaplain Don Shirk found his ministry rapidly changing. Shirk is a chaplain with the Batavia, New York, police department and is pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Batavia. In addition, he is a certified Biblical counselor and a former member of the GARBC Council of Eighteen. He has also contributed to the book The Pastor: A Guide for God’s Faithful Servant, published by Regular Baptist Press.
With social distancing in place, Shirk could no longer visit the police station. So the chief of police, Shirk says, “asked me to do a brief weekly video to encourage the officers in this time of uncertainty and stress for them.” The chief understands the officers’ “need for protection not only from the virus, but for their minds as they navigate the many apprehensions that are uniquely theirs in this uncharted season,” Shirk says.
“I crafted 10-minute videos that focused on the truth that the way you get through challenging times is by right thinking. I taught simple Biblical truths about how to adjust to change and handle times of stress and anxiety.” He also sought insight from the sergeants on topics they thought needed to be addressed.
One video that Shirk created, “How to Watch Each Other’s Backs,” dealt with ways the officers could collectively and individually be frontline responders for each other. Another video, “How to Take Out the Trash,” gave the officers practical help “as they deal with all kinds of ‘garbage’ on a daily basis,” Shirk says. “It’s critical that they develop the skill to regularly and appropriately empty the trash that fills their minds so that it does not turn toxic.”
Shirk says he is “praying that this means of communication will be used by God to minister to and encourage these choice servants of our community.”