Does church security mean you HAVE TO HAVE a gun? NO!! It does not! Though in this day and age I would encourage you to consider having an armed person! There are a lot of churches out there, most of them small to medium size, that have leaders who are under the impression that to have security means there has to be someone running around with a gun. I tell them that can’t be further from the truth, having security could simply be having at least one person set aside during service to keep an eye on the parking lot, because a car lot full of cars is a magnet for those who would try to burglarize cars. We’ve had that issue at my church from time to time.
Having security could also simply be someone who is on call in case of a medical emergency. I spoke at a church last year about their plans to start up a security program and their security leader was not at the meeting because the Sunday before he had suffered a heart attack just before service. Fortunately there were people there to assist but the incident did high light my comment about having AED devices and people trained to use them.
One of the biggest threats to church security comes from within, with a mindset that it can’t or won’t happen here, or a mindset of “that’s the way we’ve always done it” and make no effort to stay abreast with the times and pretends there is no threat to the church. There are also leaders who are so far out of their comfort zone or in way over their head with dealing with security issues that they rubber stamp “NO” on any ideas or suggestions to improve the security plan, and even go as far as sabotaging any efforts to have a written plan down!! I know of a pastor who for years refused to have a written plan down because “it would lock us in and become a liability”. He was against security cameras and also made no effort to create a working team out of the security, usher and greeters, even though that had been suggested and asked for by many different people. People finally began to do what was right and work together despite this person.
Security and safety is EVERYONE’S responsibility! Not just those volunteers on the security team! If you see something, say something! I pointed out during a presentation that the parking lot attendants will most likely be the very first to see something that is DLR, Don’t Look Right. I told them that most of them have been parking lot attendants and cart drivers long enough to know the “normal rhythm”, the “normal flow and feel” of a Sunday morning, and so when your attention is suddenly drawn to someone or something for some reason that you just can not initially put your finger on, DON’T just ignore that feeling!! It may not be anything, BUT IT COULD BE SOMETHING! SOMETHING IS DLR ABOUT IT!
Everyone carries a backpack these days, but maybe this particular person, could be male for female, is also wearing a hoodie up over their head, maybe they are also walking with a purposeful stride, maybe they also seem to be ignoring people around them and trying to avoid contact. This is where “aggressive friendliness” comes in, approach and make contact with this person and see how they react and respond to your cheerful greeting. It is never just ONE thing that makes a person or something suspicious, it’s a number of articulable observations, the totality of the situation. DLR, Don’t Look Right.
I had a recent incident here at my church one afternoon during the weekday. I noticed a man come up behind my desk, and I greeted him. He ignored me and stared past me (mental note 1). He then strode past me with a very purposeful stride (mental note 2). I decided I better check on him and got up to follow him, making sure to note his hands to ensure he did not have a weapon or anything that could be used as a weapon. I made contact with him and sure enough he was upset with a pastor and after talking to him for a few minutes I got him to calm down and he left. He was DLR when I first observed him, ignored my cheerful greeting and walked past me like I was not there with a purposeful stride.
Does church security mean you HAVE TO HAVE a gun? No, but in this day and age it is a great idea! Consider this recent event in Kansas City, MO – http://fox4kc.com/2017/05/23/suspect-charged-in-shooting-during-sunday-church-service-at-house-of-refuge/
It is the church’s responsibility to provide a save place to worship, and to have security IS Biblical! “For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth“, (Isaiah 21:6) . And when Nehemiah was rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem he wrote “But we prayed to our God and set guards to protect us day and night.” (God’s word translation Nehemiah 4:9).
You do not have to have guns to have church security, but you do have to have church security, even if it is one person to watch over the parking lot during service.