By Greg Addison
Security is, more than ever before, at the forefront of issues that churches are facing today. With recent events at a Southern Baptist church in Texas and the continued rise of child abuse situations, pastors must educate themselves and their church leaders on appropriate security measures.
Here are some simple yet important steps you can take to begin protecting your church:
First, educate yourself and your church leaders.
Are you aware of the risks and precautionary steps you might take? We want to help make answering this question easy for you.
The ABSC recently hosted a training event at Park Hill Baptist Church that was led by both law enforcement professionals and an attorney experienced in church law. This seminar covered topics ranging from developing a security team, evaluating your church facilities from a security perspective, to even preparing for an active shooter event. Two resources from the training that we believe will be helpful to you include An Outline to Develop a Church Security Plan and a Security Checklist for Church Facilities.
Second, pastors should develop a team to evaluate and recommend security procedures for the church.
Are you exploring and emplementing the procedures that fit the needs of your church? There are a wide range of suggestions coming from many voices: advertisements for training, opinionated voices in the church, news regarding conceal carry laws, etc.
But every church congregation, culture, and facility is different; the issues and the possible measures you can take are wide ranging. It is helpful to have a team that understands all of your church's needs. Look to include a variety of skills for the team, including folks such as policemen, nurses or doctors, school teachers or principals, and wise leaders who are involved in the ministry of the church.
Finally, start doing something today.
So, what might you do first? You can easily begin with simple steps such as installing door greeters at all entrances and training them to be watchful. Create a simple communications process for Sundays and Wednesdays. Have a central contact person as a clearing house for information, and train leaders in areas how and when to contact this person. Train this person when to call the pastor and/or 911 when needed. Review the policies in your children's area and make certain everything is up to date and being followed.
The biggest mistakes can easily be avoided: do not assume it won't happen at your church or that you are already prepared. The best protection is to be proactive and begin preparing. Educate yourself and a team of leaders and start somewhere today. As always, the ABSC staff is here to serve you and your church.