About a month ago I was sent an email from a church security leader that was bringing a request to his deacon board to allow some of the security guys to open carry their weapons while serving. Wisely, one of the church elders was requesting that this person reach out to people in the security networks to get various other input on this subject. I did not respond with an answer right away but asked two questions. What was the purpose of wanting to have an open carry? What training and certification process was there to reduce the liability to the church regardless of how the weapon was carried.
I got back a 3-point response and a description of the training and qualifications he would have.
I rely on God to bring the monthly blog/newsletter subjects to me each month. Sometimes it’s not until the last minute that happens. This one I have been sitting on for a couple of weeks but still waited until now to put it together. With the shooting that happened this weekend at the church in Texas, it just adds to what I wanted this month’s subject to be.
There is a lot of “noise” going on around this weekends events and I pretty much wait at least 72 hours before I really dig in or venture any kind of comment. Fortunately, we have a video from the live feed that was streaming at the time the killer acted and the responder took him out. But there is a lot that happened in that video that shows how untrained and unprepared they were right from the beginning. This is why our seminars are for not just the security teams of the church, but for ushers, greeters, children’s workers, staff, etc. Security must be a total team concept. We can and have been asked and are adjusting our seminar schedule in order to be able to answer questions and to give a preventative perspective on the events.
So, what do I mean by “Beware of the Sheep”? Let me start with a story from my own church that happened early on in the establishment of our security team and then I will tell you of the lessons learned. We had a medical incident that was happening outside the auditorium and near the front door area of the church. We were handling it as we had been trained to at that point. We had a man come up to us and identify himself as a doctor and wanted to help. We let him know that whatever it was, that it was minor and thanked him but we had it under control. This same man then went up the side ramp that led to the stage and handed the pastor a note in the middle of his message that stated that there was a medical emergency in the entry way and that the family member needed to come out.
With Christmas just a short time away, let me start with a bit of a story that happened at least 8 years ago. We were having our annual security Christmas party for the security team at my church. Every year we do a white elephant gift exchange. This particular year someone was trying to get a box open or get the ribbon off the box. Either way, the person asked for a knife. There was a slight chuckle in group as all you could hear was the click, click, click etc. of knives coming out of pockets and being flipped open. It was one of those moments that you had to be there and every year since that time there is always someone that asks that nostalgic question again. It wouldn’t be the same if someone didn’t ask it.
I would venture to say that most of you may not be aware at how often a knife attack happens. I am betting that most of you carry a knife of some sort on yourself. We call it Colorado Bling here because it is an accessory that many men in this state carry. If you do, do you train on how to deploy and effectively use it? Do you know how to handle someone that would want to do harm with a knife?
There are a few things in my life that I have to check to see where my heart is. Like I talk about in our seminars, if our heart is not right with God in our personal life it will come out as we serve. It takes a lot of energy to keep our masks on and when a situation arises that our adrenalin gets going, we will often respond poorly in either dealing with the situation or with those around us. Often times it comes out in frustration, defensiveness, and anger.
One thing that I check is checking to see if my life is a reflection of the Fruit of the Spirit. Since this is direct evidence to my relationship with God, am I exhibiting love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control to those around me and in the various situations that I find myself in. If not, what am I allowing to control my life instead of my relationship with Christ?
I am on the road doing seminars, trainings, assessments, etc. a lot throughout the year. I often miss the training that happens at my church each month. Sometimes it would really easy when I am in town to disregard the training and be home for a weekend. But it comes back to being thankful. I should be thankful for the opportunity that I have to be able to get training. And don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for the opportunity to train alongside the men and women that I get to serve with.
Over the years and around the country I encounter people that often have questions about having the right people serving. They recognize that for a variety of reasons, they may not have the right people serving in a security role. This can be a tough issue to handle without causing some hurt feelings. I hopefully want to address ways to help avoid this in the future.
Many churches have employment applications, and these can often be a great use for serving in ministry. If your church doesn’t, there are plenty of choices that you can get online as examples. I would recommend that you have an application that asks for personal and professional references. This gives you an opportunity to ask questions of those that know them best on the type of temperament they have when they aren’t at church. People can be good at putting on a mask around those that they go to church with, but family, friends, and co-workers will know the person the best.
Now, I know that what I am about to say might not fall in line with some of the church’s beliefs, but for those that do, I would want to know about their relationship with Christ. How are they growing and are they doing life with other men/women in their lives? I could go a whole lot deeper here, but I don’t want to make this a theological discussion. Simply put, a person who might be a believer but not a follower of Christ in his/her life will often have an issue with authority and will display anger in stressful situations.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.