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.
TEAM LEADER: Hopefully you are conducting monthly training with your church security team. You may not be equipped to be the one that provides all the necessary training but are you continuing to develop your skills in new areas? After a training has been conducted, do you invite honest feedback as to how effective the training was? Are you receptive to feedback or do you get defensive and settle back into what you know is comfortable for you? Sometimes it is not easy to receive feedback from someone. We can look at feedback as criticism and get defensive. If we do that, we can lose the opportunity to listen to what is being communicated. I would encourage you to take the opportunity to find out what is important to those that you lead. What kind of training is effective? Maybe they don’t know and are just looking for practical training to improve how they serve.
There are many church security leaders around the country that think effective training is just preparing for that active shooter situation that is not likely to happen. Now, don’t misunderstand what I am saying or have been saying for years. I am all in when it comes to preparing for an active shooter situation but the likelihood of having to deal with something different at your church is much more likely than that active shooter. Provide the training that helps your team to serve the church better while still being prepared for the worst.
I have seen team leaders that do not welcome or accept feedback well. These are the same ones that are not working on their personal development either. They have the thought that they have the answers and it is just going to be done their way. This is someone that probably has never had the opportunity for leadership or management development. If this is you, I would encourage you to get some training in leadership and management so that you can lead your team well.
TEAM MEMBER: Feedback is important for the success of your team. If you are going to provide feedback to the team leader, I would encourage you to give that feedback in such a way that is not attacking them. That you prayerfully do it in such a way that communicates that you want to be part of the solution and not just present the problem and walk away. As a team member you have to realize that it may not go the way that you want. Much like communication in a family. But having grace and patients will help. I have seen people who serve on their team for a while and if it is not going the way that they think it should or they are not happy with how the team leader is handling things, they just want to quit. I often challenge these people to examine their heart as to why they are serving in the first place. Hopefully they are serving for the protection of the sheep regardless of whatever is happening that they don’t like.
Pride and arrogance can destroy a team quickly. In the seminar I talk about that a few times because it is an important point. We need to be serving with grace and humility for those that we serve and with those that serve with us. Most of us have skills that go far beyond just showing up and serving. Looking to see how we can use those skills and gifts that God has given us to support each other on the team is key to the success of the team.
For most ministries in the church where volunteers serve, the average length of service is 2-3 years. Most of the healthy security teams that I talk with just blow that out of the water. I know for my church the years of service varies from over 11 to just getting started. We train together, socialize together, do life together and are just there for each other if needed.
In order to have a healthy team there are a lot of components that need to happen personally and as a team. But, for today see if you can’t work on giving good feedback and receiving feedback so that everyone can grow together in the protection of the sheep. We know that evil is not going to get any better but whatever we can do in our part of pointing people to Christ between now and the end, then I encourage you to do all that you can do.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.