De-escalation For The Church Protector

There are a ton of factors involved in identifying, de-escalating and managing conflict situations. 

These situations typically unfold rapidly and oftentimes without warning. The time compression alone makes it necessary for the church protector to have two things readily available:

  1. A working Knowledge of the OODA Loop – Col John Boyd
  2. Advanced preparation and training in de-escalation. 

Having written policies and procedures for dealing with interruptions will help to minimize the disruptive effect of such outbursts.

We have to determine first what type of disruption:

  • if this is a person with diminished mental faculties, 
  • is this just a non-threatening disruption from someone that doesn’t know better or thinks the pastor is talking to them
  • is this a calculated or Purposeful disruption. 
  • Or is it someone in mental health crisis
  • Also – it’s recommended to get Law Enforcement involved 

It’s my belief and experience, that effective verbal de-escalation techniques are a true art form. 

To be able to verbally de-escalate conflicts takes patience, tact and, to be perfectly frank with you - the ability to control one’s own pride and ego. 

A key aspect of minimizing any church safety and security related conflict is to understand it is not personal. - Guy Beveridge

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Aggression arising from frustration is one of the prime triggers of conflict, this can occur anytime someone wants something they cannot have (entry into the premises, a specific seat, access to areas they aren’t allowed, etc.. 

Breakdowns in communication, a lack of adequate communication skills and even drugs or alcohol can all be contributing factors to the development of conflict. Regardless of the contributing factors, the intended goal should remain constant, mitigate the associated risks and de-escalate the conflict while staying outcome focused.

Whenever you’re dealing with conflict it is important to remember first and foremost that, you are in charge of how you react. Your attitude must remain positive at all times while ensuring that you are giving the conflict your full attention. 

Every time you communicate, either verbally or non-verbally your attitude is apparent, and it is important to present a professional, unbiased and positive attitude at all times. Remember, the aim here is to redirect the other persons behavior to generate voluntary compliance using verbal techniques.

These are the 10 Tips discussed on the Warrior Wednesday Live Show (Listen to the podcast or watch on YouTube)

  1. Be Empathic and Nonjudgmental
  2. Respect Personal Space
  3. Use Nonthreatening - Nonverbals
  4. Keep Your Emotional SELF in Check
  5. Focus on Feelings
  6. Ignore Challenging Questions
  7. Set Limits
  8. Show empathy: 
  9. Silence isn’t Always Awkward – Sometimes it’s Necessary
  10. Allow Time for Decisions
  11. Bonus Tip; Consistent Courtesy


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