It’s Sunday morning, and service has just started. A man with a duffle bag gets out of his car, walks past two of your greeters, and heads toward the sanctuary. Just outside the doors, he reaches into the duffle bag.
How would your people respond?
• Would greeters know how to address a situation that “just doesn’t look right”?
• Does your ministry have a trained safety team?
• Would your team react swiftly if the man pulled out a gun?
As we all know, something similar happened in a small Texas town November 5, and incidents like this are increasing in our nation. Reality is that no church is exempt from traumatic situations. Though we can’t guarantee our congregations and communities will be completely protected, we can make an effort to do as much as possible to plan ahead in order to be better prepared to respond if something happens.
Brotherhood Mutual, who insures many of our churches, has many helpful resources available at their web site. Click on the blue links to access the following:
• The Church Safety & Security Guidebook ($39.95, 256 pages)—an essential tool for making church a safer place, providing step-by-step instructions on creating a church safety and security team and plan.
• Prepare for Violence in Your Church (free online)—a resource to help churches prepare in advance for possible traumatic incidents by first forming a team to assess the risks and then creating a plan that establishes guidelines on how to respond to each potential risk.
• Safety 101: A Church Leader’s Guide to Risk Management (free online)—helpful in developing a comprehensive safety and risk management plan, beginning with assessing the risks in each key area of ministry.
• Surviving a Violent Attack at Church (free online)—Learn (and teach) five options for survival … get away, lock down, conceal, play dead, or (as a last resort) confront the attacker.
• Church Security & Armed Security Guards (free online)—how to determine if your particular church and individual set of circumstances merits an armed security team.
• Dealing with Disruptive Individuals (free online)—how to determine if an interruption is benign or calculated and how to effectively deal with any interruption in order to minimize its effect.
• 10 Easy Ways to Create a Safer Church Today (free online)—overcoming denial, fear, or complications to starting a safety and security program at your church.
• The New Big Book of Checklists (free online)—a tool to help churches assess their preparedness and take small steps toward developing a risk management mindset.
It’s great to have a plan, but be intentional about communicating your plan to your congregation … for their comfort and reassurance.
Above all, make sure you and your church family are bathed in prayer. “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
May God bless your ministries as you continue to serve Him.
I am yours in the Lord’s service,