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.
Setting standards helps with letting the people who want to serve know what is expected of them if they are going to serve. Now, lets pause here because I know that there are some teams that have been setup without a lot of organization and have to back that train up a bit. That’s ok if that is you and your team. Go ahead and get the standards set. Standards should deal with a variety of items:
Training: Set a training date each month with a few exception (i.e. December for Christmas). Have an expectation of how many times/or how many hours of training are expected. If you have an armed component, there should be a separate training date each month. This does not mean that you are going to the range each month, there are a lot of other ways to train and things to train on with the firearm so that they are better when the opportunity to go to the range is available.
Serving: There should be an expectation and schedule of when people are expected to serve. I highly encourage that as much as possible, and it is dependent of number of services you may have, that the same people are not outside each week. Try to set up a schedule of rotation of when people are serving. If it is possible to have the message recorded or online where it can be listened to later in the week that is important for those that might miss the message one week. This is also why having a vibrant relationship with Christ while serving in this ministry is important. I have had conversations with people that constantly choose to serve and never attend a service. It is not healthy. But neither do I look at it as a religious “must do”. I should be picking up my mana every day during the week, so I don’t get hungry. I should not be relying on the weekend to be fed and expect that to be enough for the week.
Role on the Team: Just because someone is able to carry a gun does not mean that they should be carrying a gun and serving. Having good training standards weeds out those that have no business serving and carrying a gun. I want to know that the person that goes into a situation with me has the same training and we are on the same page in how we are going to deal with the situation without even talking to each other. Trust in my partner is vital in a situation. So, establish the different roles and positions on the team.
There are a variety of additional standards that can be addressed, but these are just a few of the important ones to help establish a team or clean up the team that you have. Cleaning house on your team is not necessarily a bad thing. If you have someone that is not able or willing to meet the standards that you set, then it is time for a conversation to thank them for their service, but there might be a better ministry for them. These can be tough conversations but necessary ones for the safety and function of everyone involved.
I know people that if they had to run to an emergency and function in whatever capacity that emergency needs them to (i.e. CPR, Verbal, Defensive Tactics, Lethal Response, etc.) would not be able to physically or mentally because they are not training to do so. Like we often say, YOU WILL NOT RISE TO THE SITUATION, YOU WILL SINK TO THE LEVEL OF YOUR TRAINING. I love the person that recognizes in themselves that they cannot meet the necessary standards for the safety of everyone and have to step down. This person is a person that is not letting their pride or arrogance to rule them. They are humble and honest enough to know when it’s time. At our church they are always welcome to the trainings and events. They will always be considered part of our family.
In conclusion, the people that you want to avoid having on your team are those people that are easily angered or offended. People who are prideful or arrogant. They are not showing up for training or meeting the standards that have been established and thinking that it is not for them. I tell people all the time that I will never say that I’ve arrived in my training or knowledge. I am always training and learning. I recognized that even with my nearly 12 years in church security, that there are others that are doing things great and I share those things in my seminars with other churches.
So, examine yourself and your team and see if you are where you need to be personally or as a team in your church for those that you are serving.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.