The Bible says we should not have a spirit of fear, but we should use common sense and wisdom in our approach and planning for the unexpected.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment..”
2 Timothy 1:7
5 Simple Tips to Improve Your Church Security
01 Conduct a Risk Assessment
We can’t protect what we haven’t first measured. Whether done in-house with the Protector’s Toolkit risk assessment tool or by having a qualified, quality company come out to your church – having a risk assessment helps you develop direction for time, resources, money and energy in your safety and security ministry. A lot of ministries think the first step to having a safety and security team is to have guns when in fact most places of worship are safe. The bigger risk is in medical needs and additional safety and security measures in the children's ministry.
02 Start Limiting Access (doors)
You’ll never have enough bodies to cover every open/ unlocked door in your church if you keep practicing the open campus approach to church, you’ll be overworked, strained, stretched too thin and the probability of you or the team missing something crucial goes way up. Start locking doors that aren’t necessary. Limit access after service starts. Ensure adequate communication before you just start locking doors – just like people believe that they have “assigned seats” in your church, there are people that also believe they have assigned doors – doors just for them.
03 Get Control of Key Control
This is one of the biggest struggles with a church that has been established for any length of time – who has keys and how many keys exist. Key control policies and procedures protect employee lives, business valuables and the overall security of the facility. Even when sophisticated security measures are in place, improper handling of mechanical keys can allow your facility to be vulnerable to key duplication. There are very real financial and operational risks if you don’t know who is going where with your keys.
04 Ring Your Filtration System
The famous American philosopher Beyoncé let us know that “if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it” – true for a relationship and for church safety and security: a filtration system, whether it’s for the oil in your car, the HVAC in your house or your church, is designed for one purpose: to keep unwanted particles out of the system. Your church safety and security system should be built in layers or concentric rings. Concentric rings of security mean a layered defense around a certain object or place. And, as you pass through each “ring” or layer of defense the security level increases. The first layer starts at the boundary or perimeter of the site, and as you move inward additional layers or “rings” of security are provided before you get to the core of the building where the most valuable assets that you want to protect are located. If you applied this concept of concentric rings of security to your church, it would look like a target with your church at the center of the bulls-eye surrounded by several rings.
05 Seek Additional Training/ Development:
Other than the online resource of Protector’s Toolkit, there really is no substitute for live, in person training. However, churches need to be cautious – not all training is alike and not all training is for churches. I hear over and over again churches say:
-our police came out and talked to us about active shooters, or our sheriff came and talked to us about security – I’m sure most agencies can speak to the topic because they likely have an officer or deputy that has been to a training class or was competent enough to develop a PowerPoint, but you need to understand a couple things:
1. The police are speaking in generalities about security and for the most part they are giving you a secular opinion on security.
2. In a crisis, the police have a totally different priority of work then you do on the church safety and security team, so they may be speaking to you from that perspective.
Time, resources and money should be spent on live, in-person training. As your church chooses to move from informal to formal or from subjective to objective then it will be critical to partner with a company that provides these services. Partner with a Christian company like Strategos, or Christian Defense Safety Solutions that vets all of their instructors and measures their fruit before they are allowed to teach other Christians. Partner with a company that, just like the Farmers Insurance ad says: “they know a thing or two, because they’ve seen a thing or two” – then seek out continued education like Protector’s Toolkit to meet all of your church safety and security needs between your live in-person training.
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