View Full Version : Church Security Advice?

01-22-2013, 07:45 PM
Tribesman, I could use any advice from those with experience in developing security plans etc for their Church.

I recently was asked along with 3 others, to establish a security team / board at my church. I have ideas but everything I keep coming up with tells me there just isn't much you can do to stop something from happening, there seems like a whole lot you can do to stop things once they start but how to head it off has me worried.

Most people have no experience what being a Christian is like outside the good old USA...where armed guards and security details are common. I don't want to give the quilting ladies a stroke!

What are some thoughts, advice?

01-23-2013, 10:33 AM
This has been discussed several times so if you do a search you'll find some great info. Plus I am sure others will chime in with their help= they have given me plenty of advice and guidance as I work on my own Church's plan.

Nick Randall
01-23-2013, 10:44 AM
I would not automatically agree with that contention.

For example, when Murray walked into the New Life Church that day, did he simply open an unlocked door and step into the church while the congregation was in session (so to speak)? Had Jeanne Assam not been there that day, it might have been a bloodbath. But what if there had been "a Jeanne Assam" with a rifle and a locked door (for some measure of delay/earlier warning)? Could that not have created more favorable dynamics for the church?

01-23-2013, 10:49 AM
JJ1 here on the Board is involved in an excellent church security website. They have sample plans for you to utilize. Check out Church Security Alliance. There are others out there as well. Take the techniques and attitude learned from SI and here on WT and instill them in your security team, implement the plan you adopt, and your church will be safe as it reasonably can be in this crazy mixed-up world.

Sir Moose
01-23-2013, 12:08 PM
I second Church Security Alliance.
Also search for Tina Lewis Rowe, who will send lots of good info to anybody who wants/needs it, and for Jimmy Meeks, who travels the country giving training.
There are other resources out there, but those are the ones that spring immediately to mind.

01-23-2013, 04:29 PM
This is great guys thanks! I will be up late going over the links etc. I appreciate any help you all can give. God bless the Tribe!

Mickey Rourke
01-23-2013, 05:02 PM
Another vote for JJ1. He was instrumental in helping me get a ministry started for our association.

Don't discount the benefits of having someone 'patrolling' the church and parking area during a service.

It's really hard to measure the 'success' of a security program, because you never know exactly how many incidents just having someone present may have prevented.

While an active shooter is a very real possibility, needing medical help for an attendee or fire/weather evacuation are more common areas that a good team needs to also deal with.

And don't forget child/nursery security. Bad if the non-custodial parent comes by to pick junior up during the service.

01-23-2013, 09:17 PM
The need for church security grows every day. I have assisted hundreds of churches get a program started. Smince worked with me early in the program. Our church started over 10 years ago when most never considered it. I thank God that we have a forward looking pastor that grasped the need to protect the flock.

Often I am asked why would a church feel the need to start a Safety or Security Ministry. Let’s address a couple of the most important reasons for a church to start a team.

1 - What is the primary reason to start a security team? Safety of the members and guests!
Although the recent church violence has provided a kick in the pants to get some churches to start looking at security, the primary benefit is really have a group of watchmen to look after the family.

Our church team has been operational and armed for many years but most of our issues deal with less demanding issues than an active shooter. It is important to put a plan with predetermined procedures and allow for common sense. Most churches are not able to afford paid security but have members that can stand in the gap to provide a level of protection equal to most private security companies. Having a written operational manual with detailed procedures and policies can help promote professionalism.

Our team consists of former police and military officers, EMT's. paramedics and general volunteers that are willing to be trained. We deal with lost children (sometimes lost parents), heart attacks, stokes, fainting, bumps and cuts, stalkers, suspicious individuals and many other items. The team is a servant based ministry that makes the service go smoothly. We have taken an older lady from the service and had her attended by a doctor and nurse within 90 seconds of her passing out in the service. the service continued as we moved her into the halls and had a squad meet us for transport to the hospital. Most folks did not see what had happened due to the efficiency of the team.

In none of these events did any staff member need address a violent issue. But we cared for a lot of people and looked over the groups to make sure that all were safe. We were prepared to evacuate them in case of a fire, move them to safe areas if we had a tornado, and treat them if there was a medical need. Many times we just talked to a person who was having a problem and needed to talk.
The primary reason to start a team is because we care for the members and guests of our churches and need to have caregivers in place.

2 – Due Diligence
A second reason is to know that we have done our Due Diligence.

The definition of Due diligence in civil litigation (also known as due care) is the effort made by an ordinarily prudent person or reasonable party to avoid harm to another party. Failure to make this effort may be considered negligence.

The churches insurance company may not be willing to cover the awards in a lawsuit claiming the church permitted a violent event to happen if they believe the church has not completed their due diligence. This could be to a child who walked out of a toddler area, a fire exit that was filled with summer bible school items, a child taken by a parent with custodial rights, a robbery in a dark parking lot, a physical assault or lastly an active shooter. Although the number of assaults and shootings in churches is rare, it is increasing. If a team has been proposed and the church management team declined to implement it, can the church be held liable for the incident? Will the insurance company say the church in negligent and decline to pay a multi million-dollar award?

With the noted rise in church violence you need to think about these items:

You have a duty to protect the church family and visitors
Do you provide reasonable protection for those in the facility
Do you do background check for staff and volunteers?
There is a tremendous amount of published incidents on church violence, sexual misconduct, or poor facility maintenance issues causing accidents.
Have you reviewed the above items
Have you completed a risk assessment?

3 – Peace of Mind for the church body

Can you live with yourselves if a child is assaulted or kidnapped by a predator or non-custodial parent?
Can the church pay a 1 or 2 million dollars or more settlement in a lawsuit and survive if the insurance company decided you have not met due diligence standards?

The reality of the team is it is really there to be a servant based ministry to help people as well as keep them safe from a multitude of events.

Nick Randall
01-24-2013, 07:15 AM
Another factor to consider is the principle of being "on notice." This premise can come at you from several angles, however, it can be summed up as you knew or should have known that certain acts were a likely occurrence.

If you own a shopping center and somebody gets mugged in your parking lot, the very first thing you will often seen done is for cameras to be put up on poles in the parking lot. Because if another incident occurs (perhaps one even worse like a rape) and you haven't taken some steps towards better securing your property, then the phrase getting taken to the cleaners comes into mind.

This premise also extends to a rash of a certain type of crime in your AO. If a certain type of event has occurred at enterprises in your area, then you are "on notice" that the same could reasonably be foreseen as happening to you as well (even though it hasn't). This could even be presumably extended to certain types of events targeting your specific type of business even though they may be in a much larger area (e.g. nationwide and abortion clinics). A failure to better secure your property/premises under these circumstances could also cost you plenty.

Nick Randall
01-24-2013, 01:55 PM
I've not read this but came across it:


Mickey Rourke
01-24-2013, 04:31 PM
Thanks for the find, Nick.

BTW, tmbk2 - it's a good idea to give your team a name like Safety Ministry or such, since you should deal in all aspects of safety and security.

01-24-2013, 05:29 PM
Remember to address the security of the church itself when unoccupied. Churches are full of lots of goodies that folk want. I've seen silver communion services stolen. Relics taken (these where chased in 24kt), money from the offering kept in the office til a Monday bank run, a Les Paul used in a contemporary service and that was just the thieves. The vandals that trash them is even worse and beyond comprehension.

I like good locks, video cameras, strong counter signing policies for checks and expenses, double accounting for offerings immediately after the services with a prefilled out deposit ticket etc. Not all threats come from outside the organization. Money coming in and funds going out should not be controlled by the same person.

99 churches in one rural county means lots of opportunities for things to go South. :angry: I have to deal with the cleanup.

Mickey Rourke
01-24-2013, 07:34 PM
Also a good safe to keep the offerings and other funds if you can't deposit it right away.

Nick Randall
01-25-2013, 04:05 PM

Came across the above...

01-25-2013, 04:57 PM

Came across the above...

AED is one of the best ideas yet.

Nick Randall
01-25-2013, 05:40 PM
AED is one of the best ideas yet.

To be honest, not having them nowadays is considered negligence.

Mickey Rourke
01-25-2013, 05:51 PM
Since we are rural, but run about 350 or so on Sunday morning, and AED was an early purchase.

LE/Med response would be 20 minutes or so on a good day.

01-25-2013, 08:03 PM
Since we are rural, but run about 350 or so on Sunday morning, and AED was an early purchase.

LE/Med response would be 20 minutes or so on a good day.

I'm hoping you have sprinklers or whatever code will allow for fire suppression, plus a bunch of handhelds?
That's a little more rural than my rural area of the bluegrass, at least as far as response time goes.

Mickey Rourke
01-26-2013, 01:59 AM
Yeah, we are good.

We aren't in any city limits, so the county usually has to cover our LE. Deputies are spread very thin at times.

01-26-2013, 09:22 AM
Thank you again fellas for all the input, your advice is making a huge impact. Blessings all!