Security in Churches?!
Published in INSIGHT - Summer 2018
By Barry Young
Sunday worship in communities all over America is such a blessing. Friends and family gather together to worship God as they feel led. Stories and handshakes are exchanged and people who love each congregate come together to encourage each other, honor God, and carry each other’s burdens. Suddenly sounds like firecrackers or balloons popping are heard. Sadly it is not firecrackers or balloons it is gun shots in the church.
We desperately wish this was not happening; however, according to carlchinn.com since 1999 there have been over 1700 violent church attacks. Just last year in 2017 we had the most violent year in the history of the American church with 261 violent church attacks. In 2004 we had 4 violent church attacks per year and today that number is 261 year. What is the answer? Is it guns, no! Is it an electrified fence around each church, no! The answer is training. PROVERBS 29:18 KJV says, Where there is no vision the people perish. Consider the 3 Out Method. This method is now being taught all over America in churches, business, and schools. This is not a linear approach. There is a correct out for each situation. Looking at the threat plus the threat’s location helps us determine the proper response.
The first part of the 3 Out Method is LOCK OUT! In virtually every public school in America lock down training is done every semester, however, less than 1% of American churches have done lock down training for their children’s wing. Every church need to have a lock out plan in writing that is periodically trained with its leaders. When church awareness is raised risk is reduced. If there is a potential violent threat outside the building the church ushers and greeters need to lock all exterior doors and church wide a lock down needs to be called. November 17th a northern California school had zero fatalities during an active shooter attack due to the training the school had received and then acted upon during this potentially violent event. ACTS 20:28 NIV says, Keep watch over yourselves and the flock.
The second part of the 3 Out Method is GET OUT! Almost every hotel room door has an evacuation plan on it.The vast majority of government buildings have evacuation plans; sadly however, most churches do not have an evacuation or get out plan. If we can not lock the threat out let us get those who come to worship and get them out away from the threat. PROVERBS 22:3 NIV says, A prudent man sees danger and take refuge.
The third part of the 3 Out Method is TAKE OUT! This is the worst case scenario but we have to be prepared to stop a violent person from killing innocent people. Guns are not the answer. Utilizing firearms with the correct training and insurance coverage may be a part of the answer. A church with untrained people carrying guns has just become less safe, not more safe. The goal is to train church workers not to become good little victims. If you cannot lock out and you cannot get out if you want to save lives you to be ready to take out. We encourage teachers, nursery workers, and church staff to use whatever they can as a tool to stop the threat. Jesus declares in MATTHEW 10:16 NIV, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
The goal in church security training is simple: We want to save lives and we want to allow people to hear the gospel. The vision for church security is to reinforce the core mission of each church without violating that mission by training church members in security. When you do church security correctly the church become more friendly. When you do church security incorrectly the church becomes less friendly. Ultimately most churches get attacked because they are perceived as soft targets. The goal is to make each church in American the most loving and welcoming place. When the 3 Out Method is implemented the church becomes safer and more friendly at the same time.
Barry Young is vice president of Church Security. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org