1.) Hold a meeting to see who is interested in supporting/helping! This meeting can also be used to discuss different potential threats and evaluate how often events happen in your church, along with planning for big outreach events.
2.) Partner with the Church Leadership and review potential threats. Take the opportunity to start small. A well-stocked first aid kit is a great start. Consider future incidents based on church size.
3.) Decide the best location to place people during a service. Start with a person in the parking lot during the service to survey the campus/property and one person inside to navigate the halls and classrooms.
4.) Lock the doors after service starts and direct people to one main door. While this won’t eliminate a threat, it allows the a person by the door to watch easier, as well as be more attentive to who comes in the building. This may not eliminate a threat to get into the church, but it can deter someone from a quick unauthorized entry. If the flow is directed one way through the church this also allows for people to greet late members/visitors at one door, after the service starts.
5.) Schedule individuals (with a hierarchy of command) to rotate inside or outside of the building. This way one person won’t get frustrated or tired and the ministry can be shared by multiple people.
6.) Plan and train! Most incidents are by far medical related. Train people in first aid/cpr. Verbal de-escalation is crucial if there is an intentional interruption. Plan and review church leadership policy/opinion on various topics…such as firearms or related items. Take time to discuss with church leadership how they would best like to handle situations, BEFORE they happen (fire alarm sounding, active shooter, etc).
7.) Establish a relationship and partner with local law enforcement and municipal services. This can be an invaluable resource for training and local support, should the need arise. Review laws in your state pertaining to church safety/security. Some states require a license for security personnel. If you aren’t licensed and have that training, take the approach of observe and report.
8.) Record data on incidents and start off slow. Church leadership needs to know when you respond to something or if there is an incident. Creating an incident report on a platform such as Google Forms is simple and easy. It is far easier to add people to the network of the ministry and adjust operational activities as needed with church policy then it is to go backwards and undo something that you’ve spent a lot of time and energy on.
9.) Be encouraging to others! You are the feeling of safeness to visitors and members (and often the first person someone sees walking into the church). Everyone should be greeted and treated like a guest that you come in contact with! If someone were visiting your church, they need to feel welcomed and safe. “Guest Service” everyone.
10.) Be a ministry to the church and community! The difference between a ministry and a job, is discipleship. Invest in the lives of those serving, in a training and spiritual capacity. They will have less opportunity to get “burned out” from serving. Individuals that sense your passion for ministering to those serving (including those helping with safety/security) will become evident and will drive further passion for success.
If you would like to hear an audio podcast of this message, click here: https://safechurch.podbean.com/