How Prepared Is Your Church Against an Act of Violence?
It’s 10 am and you’re getting ready for bed. You brush your teeth, wash your face and put on your PJ’s. Finally, you walk through the house to make sure the doors are locked, the alarm is set, and you leave the front porch light on to make sure that any unsavory fellows out there know that your house is occupied. You put a lot of effort into keeping your family safe, so why do we often overlook the safety of our brothers and sisters in Christ?
If you are like many others who don’t know where to start, here are a couple of considerations:
1. Consider locking the doors after service has started.
Yes, we want the church to be open and welcoming. Yes, we still want the people who pressed the snooze button one too many times to worship with us. I’m not saying that at the stroke of 10 am, you lock the doors and nobody comes in or our until the benediction is complete. However, locking the doors can be a great way to create time if you are faced with a threat of violence. Not all bad guys are punctual, and if a man with malicious intent comes to your church and is met with a locked door, it may send him on his way. If not, it can give you time to assess the situation and react. It can buy time for the authorities to arrive on the scene. It may not be a bad first step.
2. Consider creating a security team.
It can be a lot of work to find volunteers, create an incident response plan, and keep up with the training that is necessary when you put a team in place. Ideally, you want your team to be almost invisible so that you don’t appear threatening to your congregation or newcomers, but given today’s climate, I think most people are appreciative of the church’s efforts to maintain a safe environment. You will want to make sure that you have a written policy that spells out protocols and training requirements. And whatever you implement, be sure to be consistent with it.
3. Consider attending a church safety course or webinar.
These can be very helpful when determining what type of mindset you need to have, where to position your people, what they should be looking for, and additional precautions. At Capitol Insurance, we would be happy to help provide you with some of those resources.
The sad reality is that churches across the nation have been experiencing incidents of violence. It’s easy to recall the tragedies at First Baptist Sutherland Springs in Texas, Emmanuel AME church in Charleston SC, or the 11 who were killed at a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh. These are just a few of the instances that demand a response from the church. We need to take stock of the fact that none of us are impervious to acts of violence, and we need to do whatever we can to protect our congregations.
Contact us at (317) 253-1155 or firstname.lastname@example.org for an information sheet on how to form a church security team or with any questions you have.