I was talking with a good friend of mine that also speaks around the country to churches about security. He deals more with the WHY it’s important and leaves the HOW are we equipped to do it to me. We often talk about the alarming trend that we see of churches responding in fear of an mass murder event happening at their location and forgetting that although we are warriors called into service of protecting the church, many churches only are training for these events and neglecting the other tools of ministry in security that they need to have in order to properly serve the hurting and the broken.
Something that I stress during our training seminars is that we have to put aside our pride and arrogance in order to have a heart of service. I regularly hear of church security members responding poorly to situations because either they don’t train how to handle a variety of situations or the only tool, they have is a gun. A friend of mine says that if the only tool we have is a hammer then everything looks like a nail. I always enjoy teaching churches how to handle a variety of situations. They come into a situation and realize that they have not been equipped to respond properly. By the time they are done, they are hungry to train more and in additional areas beside just the worst case.
If you have ever had the opportunity to attend a Sheepdog Seminar or one of ours recently, something that Lt. Col. Dave Grossman says during the Sheepdog seminar and restates it at the end is “Sometimes the greatest love is not to sacrifice your life, but to live a life of sacrifice!” What a powerful statement! How often can we say that we are truly living a life of sacrifice. Most of us are selfishly focused on our self. Our needs, wants, and desires.
Some of the greatest men in the Bible and throughout history understood what living a life of sacrifice really means. I absolutely love talking with people that truly understand what living a life of sacrifice really means. These people are humble, not arrogant and are looking for ways to better serve and sacrifice for those around them. One of the greatest warriors in history was Jesus Christ. As I am going through the Gospels again and reading it in a different version, I am gaining greater clarity to the character of Christ. If you think or have thought of Jesus as a mild-mannered man that allowed people to take advantage of him all the way to the cross, then you really don’t know who he truly is. Someone that is a not just a believer, but a follower of Christ gets this, and it is evident in their lives when you meet them.
These are the people that you want serving in your ministry. These are the people that are going to advance the Kingdom of God because they have a heart of sacrifice and service. They aren’t serving in a ministry for a title or for their own ego. They understand the role that they have been given in the service of the great Shepherd. This is evident in their personal life as well. How they are around their wife, kids, co-workers and others that come into their life. I have been that person in the past that could really care less about engaging with people. I lived life out of selfishness instead of sacrifice. Jesus had to really work on my life and change my heart over the nearly last 6 years.
Ok, maybe I am being a bit dramatic here. I do find myself with the perception that churches in America have come to the realization that there is a need to have a security component in their churches list of ministries. Then I talk with people either at a conference or after they find out what I do for a living and realize how wrong my perception really is. I want to go into a conversation or situation optimistic and usually I go into a conversation overly optimistic. I want to believe that with everything that has happened over the years, that there would not be the denial that is still seen in churches around the country. Then there are people that are encouraging and thankful for what we are doing for churches all over the country. My perception is a misplaced optimism that God reminds me of regularly. That he has me doing what I do for a specific reason. To help equip churches and ministries.
I do get the opportunity to talk with people that do understand the need for security. These people or churches are at a variety of levels in their security development but with the same understanding that it needs to happen. Many of these security minded people are looking for information and training on how to recruit, training, motivate and lead the people in their security ministry.
There are the other people that are in complete denial that anything will happen or if it does then it must have been God’s will. They are usually charged up by their emotions with little ability to rationalize what they are communicating. They feel that securing and protecting the people that are coming to worship is not necessary. I often get to a point to where I Just listen and understand that they are just going to believe what they want to believe. I sometimes can provide scripture reference going back to David regarding security for the church. I have also challenged people to find scripture that supports their belief to which they realize that they can’t. I fight the urge of bleating like a sheep to them. I know that would not be a proper response of course, but it does bring me back to the reality that Jesus used sheep for a reason. Like a friend of mine would say that you will never see a sheep act at a circus for a reason.
Near the conclusion of each seminar we hand out a survey for us to get feedback. I have to say that overall the feedback we have received has been very positive and helpful as we continue to develop our seminars into an experience that equips people to be able to serve better in their churches. But even as I read the feedback, it can be easy to get defensive when there is a “negative” comment. I’m not talking about that rare individual that is just a negative person throughout an event and then leaves a not so surprising feedback that is negative and reflects that they did not understand the point of the training. I am referring to those people that actually have good intentions with their honest feedback.
If I get defensive in my review of the feedback, then I might miss out on the opportunity to rethink and modify how something is presented. I have to realize that if I don’t get feedback then I am just assuming that what I am doing is working. In the field of church security, it is not a stationary target that I can consistently hit. I have to constantly be growing, learning, observing and then presenting to others how to do this church security ministry well.
So, lets take that same thought down to the church level of training. Let’s start at the top with the person that has either volunteered, was voluntold, or by default of their position on staff have found themselves in that leadership role over a security team.
Over Easter I was approached by one of the elders in the church who was serving as a greeter that day. He stated that he was very thankful for what our safety team does for the security of the church. He said that he notices how well we all communicate and seem to just move and flow around the parts of the church meeting and greeting different people and just helping when needed. He said that it is evident that we all work well together. He is not alone in sharing his appreciation for our service to the church
I know that many of you have shared with me around the country how your church appreciates what you are doing. Appreciation is good and I also recognize that many of you are struggling to get going and have the support of your church’s leadership. I have had conversations with some of you at conferences and even some on our own security team that may not feel that things are going the way they want, that leadership is not doing this or that, that there is no appreciation for what they are doing but they feel like it is constant resistance. One thing that I regularly communicate is by asking a question that I have had to ask myself. “WHY AM I SERVING?” I serve because I am called in my heart to protect the sheep. No matter what, I am there to protect the sheep. If I was there for any other reason, then I would have to quit.
Nothing comes easy and honestly for our church and team to be where it is at has been an 11-year adventure of training and equipping that never ends. For security reasons I won’t give specifics about my church here, but I can say that we have a great group of selfless men and women that have a desire to serve the people that walk through our doors. With 4 campuses we have a rather large team serving and I can confidently say that I don’t know one person that serves with any sort of pride or arrogance, but with a heart for the people they serve.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.