Story

Meeting a Wide Range of Needs

By Ron McClung

Every day looks different for Chaplain John Lewis, who also serves as an on-call pastor.

It's not uncommon for Jon Lewis, a Gwinnett County, Georgia, police department chaplain, to receive a call to minister to a suicide victim's family. One of 12 chaplains serving the 800-person force, he may arrive at a crime scene and work with victims' families while the police are doing their work.

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Recently, Lewis responded to a murder-suicide, where a man had killed his girlfriend before taking his own life. Lewis ministered to the woman’s six-year-old daughter, who was unaware of everything that happened. She just wondered why the television news helicopter was flying overhead.

Serving as a pastor-on-call at 12Stone Church, Lewis conducted 15 funerals last year, most the result of some traumatic situation. “When the call comes,” he said, “I don’t know what I will find when I arrive, so I pray, ‘Holy Spirit, speak through me.’”

Lewis is also involved with the Atlanta Mission, particularly its Potter’s House, a 570-acre facility housing 100 men. The facility offers a year-long program assisting victims of addiction and homelessness, helping them find jobs and get back on their feet. Lewis preaches there on Tuesday morning and conducts a Wednesday evening discipleship gathering, mentoring participants to build self-confidence and leadership skills. He said, “There are two types of pain — the pain of changing and the pain of staying the same.” He mentors toward change.

“There are two types of pain – the pain of changing and the pain of staying the same.”

Lewis also leads a non-profit organization called “Heirborn Servants,” which helps victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking. “Ultimately,” Lewis said, “everybody needs a car.” If they cannot afford one, the organization partners with them through their Give Rides program by paying half the cost of LYFT or Uber rides for a specified period. They also find dependable vehicles to give away to qualified persons. They recently gave their ninth car to a single mother. A mentor contacts each woman weekly or even daily, connecting them to a church and a small group.

“Some days, I feel like I’m 100 years old spiritually because of the opportunities I have had to serve,” said Lewis.