When God called three policemen to his service
Prior to receiving his call to the department, Kentucky-Tennessee Conference vice president for administration Mike Hewitt worked as a police officer from 1994 to 2003. In 2000, he was assigned as a traffic officer and traffic investigator. deaths at the Roanoke County Police Department in Roanoke, Virginia, USA.
One evening, Hewitt was called in to investigate a car accident involving two teenagers. Nothing could have prepared him for the scene he witnessed.
The car was hitched to a telephone pole. The headlights had been turned off, but the taillights were still flickering. The two victims, a teenager and a girl, had been killed almost instantly. As Hewitt approached the scene, his heart broke and a question crossed his mind: Were they ready to meet Jesus?
Although Hewitt was raised as a Seventh-day Adventist, he had drifted away from God and the faith and no longer attended church. As he was reporting on the accident, a new question began to plague him.
“My mind went like, ‘Were these kids ready?’ for me to ask myself, ‘Am I ready?’ I knew the answer was no. I wasn’t,” Hewitt says.
God calls Hewitt
Shortly after the incident, Hewitt began studying the Bible and watching videos of evangelistic seminars. With the guidance of his mother and grandmother, Hewitt made the decision to return to God. At the same time, he began to feel a call to ministry.
“I was very excited about it,” Hewitt says. “I started telling my colleagues, and they thought I had lost my mind. They were like, ‘Mike, you’re going to be a detective’…but once I felt the call to be a pastor, law enforcement just wasn’t good enough.
Hewitt’s story is not isolated. Although this happened in different places and at different times, God was also working in the lives of two other police officers. Steve Haley, president of the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference, and Brian Milano, pastor at Tullahoma and Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Seventh-day Adventist churches, also felt their call to ministry while serving in law enforcement.
god call haley
Haley served as a patrolman and traffic officer from 1978 to 1981 in Rockville, Maryland.
“I’ve always been interested in law enforcement,” Haley says. He joined law enforcement when he turned 21. “I think I liked the perception of excitement and flashing lights and sirens and catching the wrong people.”
During his final year as a police officer, Haley was assigned to work at a hospital on weekends. His responsibility included managing the release of corpses from the morgue, some of which had been murder victims. Haley recalls the experience being sobering.
“I would come home to my apartment and start thinking about deeper issues, like, ‘What is life? and ‘What do I want to do all my life?’ Haley says. “Behind the scenes, I think the Holy Spirit was speaking to me.”
After a few months, Haley decided to take her life in a different direction. He quit his police job and accepted God’s call to ministry.
God is calling Milan
Brian Milano worked as a part-time officer for a few years before starting what he thought was his career in law enforcement. He became a full-time police officer in 1990 and served until his retirement in 2012. He has held various positions including patrolman, police chief and detective.
Milano was carrying a Bible in his police car which he had taken from a hotel, but he had never opened the book. One evening, while patrolling the streets, he felt the need to read this Bible.
“I had a very skewed understanding of how God works and how a person gains eternal life,” Milano says. “In my mind, if your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds, then you will be in heaven. As I read the scriptures that night, I realized that was not true. And so the Holy Spirit moved me to go to the police station and make a call.
Milano took the phone book and looked up the number of a Seventh-day Adventist church — the church his twin siblings and aunt attended. After speaking with a pastor and later taking Bible studies, Milano was baptized in 2003.
Hewitt, Haley and Milano all had different journeys in their transition from law enforcement to ministry, but God was guiding each of their stories.
Hewitt, who earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice, recalls struggling with his calling to the ministry when he recognized it meant a lot of change.
“I realized I would have to give up my steady income to go to school,” Hewitt says. “At one point I was talking to one of my teachers who said, ‘God called you,’ and I said, ‘Well, let him call someone else, because I’m not sure I’m ready for that. .’ ”
Hewitt, however, could not shake off this appeal and instead happily accepted it. He began working as a pastor in 2005 and eventually earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership and a master’s degree in pastoral ministry from Andrews University.
Haley took a different path. While in college, he first worked as a religion teacher at Georgia-Cumberland Academy. Then, in 1985, the Georgia-Cumberland Conference decided to sponsor him to pursue his master’s degree at Andrews University.
“All I knew was that I wanted to do something for the Lord,” Haley said. “I wanted to do something where my life mattered to the ministry and to the people.”
Milano became actively involved in his church as soon as he was baptized. While still in law enforcement, he received a call from the New England Conference to be the pastor of the Adventist Church in Rutland, Vermont.
“So I did it bi-professionally,” Milano says. “I worked full time as a detective, finishing my time for retirement, then on the weekends I would go to Vermont with my wife and children. I preached on the Sabbath and visited church members on Sunday.
When Milano retired from the police force in 2012, he made the decision to become a full-time minister. On May 15, 2021, Milano was ordained at the church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
“Actually, I never had the opportunity to retire because I never stopped working,” says Milano. “I didn’t go looking for him, but the Lord opened the doors and made it very clear to me that this is what He wanted me to do.”
Hewitt, Haley and Milano all agree that their time in law enforcement helped prepare them for ministry. According to Hewitt, his time in the police taught him to work with people and to have compassion. Haley highlighted how law enforcement showed her the importance of associating with God. Milano adds that as police chief he learned how to budget and strategize to achieve goals, two skills he says are useful when working with a church.
Although the trio had different experiences, they recognize that God had a plan all along.
“I really enjoyed it and was blessed in my years in law enforcement,” Milano said. “I wouldn’t change my career choice. I learned a lot about many things…and when the time was right, the Lord used those skills and opened the door to pastoral ministry.
the original version of this story was published by Southern News.