It is interesting to observe staff/volunteers at churches in a variety of ministries who either do not know how to engage people with a smile or are treating what they are doing as a task or job instead of a ministry to others regardless of who they are. I know that we all have different personalities and when someone sees me there is nothing about me that screams “warm and fuzzy”. But, we have to let God work in us so that we can be that warm and welcoming person. By doing so, we can become better communicator in our personal life and as we engage people more often at church.
So, let’s take a practical look at this as it relates specifically to the safety and security ministry. These should be the people that are out there with the smiles greeting people, helping them get to where they need to get to while be constantly aware of what is going on around them. What cars are entering the parking lot and how are they parking. A friend of mine and I agree that you do not stand in the corner in dark glasses just watching people. You are not the sanctified secret service. If something does not look right (DLR) then you call for backup (DON’T GO INTO A SITUATION THAT COULD GO BAD QUICKLY WITH OUT YOUR BACKUP) and you address the person in a polite and calm manner. I can’t, in this short communication go through all the things that I teach in verbal de-escalation. This is assuming that you already have approached someone, have put a smile on your face, and have yourself in the interview position: THIS IS NOT A CHECK LIST BUT STEPS TO LEARN THAT WILL FLOW BASED ON ANY GIVEN CIRCUMSTANCE. (O.O.D.A Loop)
- Give an appropriate greeting. “Good morning Sir/Ma’am”
- Identify yourself/department “My name is Daniel, and I am with the Life Safety (Children’s, Ushers, Greeters) team.”
- Ask for their name. “And who might you be?” (or something appropriate at the time)
- Explain why you approached them. “I noticed that you appear to be looking for something. Is there something that I can help you with?”
- Any justifiable reason for their actions – if needed. “We noticed you wandering through the parking lot here. Can you tell me why you would be doing that?”
- Additional information – Wellness check. This is where you might ask some more probing questions. This often is the case with someone that might have mental health, drug, alcohol, etc. issues. Asking more question will help in getting them the necessary help.
- Decision time. This is where you need to decide what actions are needed. “Sir, is there anything that we can say or do to get you to comply?” or “Let’s see what we can do to help you find your parents.” Or a variety of other things.
- Appropriate Close/Action. “Glad I could help you today. I hope you visit with us is a good one.”
We do offer a one hour training video on this subject that you can purchase at www.cv-ministries.com or we can provide a 3 hour stand-alone training with scenario’s or it is part of our two day hands on seminar that includes medical and defensive tactics.
Continually train and practice good communication skills. This is what you are going to use more often in situations that arise regardless where you are at. If you honestly find that you are a person that is often angry, get off your security team and get the necessary help to deal with whatever you have going on in your life. If you are the type of person that is serving because you can carry a gun, take some time to examine at your heart. Are you serving to satisfy your pride and ego? How about have a heart of service where you are eager to pick up the towel to wash feet as you are to stand on the wall protecting the flock.