Pastor of the Week: Chief Harold Rodgers
By: Dezaray Barr
Harold C. Rodgers, Jr. currently serves as the Chief of Police for the McCordsville Metropolitan Police Department, and he has served in that capacity since September 1990. In October 2016, he was blessed with the opportunity to serve as a bi-vocational Pastor for the Knightstown First Wesleyan Church.
“I was a late bloomer when it came to my post-high school education,” he said. “As many young adults, I had other plans for my life, and college was not one of them. I was fortunate that Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) offered several distance learning opportunities that allowed me to graduate in 2001 with a degree in Business Management. As for my time in law enforcement (approximately 31 years), I have attended more schools, seminars and training sessions than I can count.”
During his time at IWU, Rodgers learned a lot from some very special people. “Had I not attended IWU, chances are I would not have met Pastor Dr. Jim Dunn. Dr. Dunn had a true passion and faith in his words and actions. One of the things that has stuck with me through the years (and I will paraphrase) was a comment he made about scripture and his love for Christ. Dr. Dunn remarked that the Bible, while a book, was the teachings of God and his plan for salvation. He added that Christians should not look at the Bible like a buffet at the restaurant; you can pick and choose the parts of the bible that you wish to subscribe to and abide by and ignore the rest as mere ramblings of old men around a camp fire. Dr. Dunn was always open to discussion and ideas, but never wavered on his demonstration of faith,” Rodgers shared.
Knightstown First Wesleyan Church is known as the little church that could. “Initially, what drew me to the church was my wife,” Rodgers said. “My wife is a member, and at the time, her mother was the Treasurer of the Church. My wife and I were married in that little church on the corner, and I eventually became a member. When my mother-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, Pastor Gail Whitmire asked me to step in and assume the role of Treasurer. Due to health issues, I had to step away from the position of treasurer and spend some time healing. The church went through some rough times with building issues, the retirement of Pastor Gail Whitmire and its aging congregation. That’s when I received a call from the church’s treasurer and met with Dr. Gorveatte, District Superintendent at the time.”
Knightstown is an unique church because of its spirit. The salvation of one human being in the church is more important to the congregation than the color of the sanctuary’s carpet.
Rodgers said that it’s very difficult to define a time when he knew that he had chosen the right path in either category, be it ministry or law enforcement. “What I can do is relate a story that happened very early in my law enforcement career. When I was working as a police officer, in downtown Indianapolis in the role of security for a large government building, I encountered a homeless man that I’ll call John. John, like many homeless people then and today was unclean, smelled horridly, but was generally harmless. While I do not recall the exact month, I do recall that it was very cold and very wet outside. I observed John sitting on the ground next to the building. While I could have cost me my job, I invited John into the building and offered him a hot cup of coffee. John eagerly accepted the coffee without uttering a word. I offered John the opportunity to stretch out and lay on one of the marble benches located close to the area I worked in. John got a few hours of sleep in a warm and safe area. This ritual went on for several weeks and had got to the point where I would give John money to grab me some lunch and let him keep the remainder so that he could eat. I had also allowed him the opportunity to use the showers located in the building’s maintenance area. While I would not go so far as to say that we were friends, I will say that he was one individual that touched my heart and still haunts my sleep. The reason I say that he haunts my sleep is his tragic end. When I left that position, I received information from some acquaintances that my replacement did not treat John with the same kindness, and John passed away from exposure during the winter of 1992,” Rodgers shared. This is just one story of how Rodgers knows that he’s following God’s will.
In his work, Rodgers has a three-rule philosophy: “Is it legal? Is it moral? Will you feel good with yourself when you get home?”
Rick Carder, a volunteer at IWU, said, “Chief Rodgers is a tremendous mentor-leader in his community, his church and police department he leads. He shares his Christian witness through his actions not only his words.”
Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a junior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.