It would be easy to focus on last year as the deadliest year for churches that it was. But, I am more of a person that looks forward to what are the churches in America going to do about turning this tide.
It is a little disheartening that so many churches are focused on a reactionary response with very little focus on prevention. I received a call from a national radio ministry and they were asking "Why isn't anyone talking about prevention?" I told him that it was a great question! One that I often ask. One that I would encourage you to ask of yourself and for your church or ministry.
So, take some time to ask yourselves that same question. What are you doing about prevention.
CV MINISTRIES is the only national church safety and security organization focused on prevention, and as such, we get to see a lot of local companies that are primarily focusing on how to best react to an active shooter situation. We are in favor of having TRAINED armed persons serving in a security capacity otherwise we would not be providing the training ourselves. We are in favor of active shooter training and we provide the training. But we don’t believe that this should be the primary focus for churches. If the only tool you have in a conflict is your gun, guess what you are going to choose.
I was in a meeting with a church recently where someone told them that when they arm everyone on the safety team to let them know and they would join. Really? That is not the person that you want serving on your team if they can’t be a team player from the beginning. This should be a ministry to those coming through the door. I love how a friend of mine puts it. The ushers/greeters are there to welcome the people to church and are glad they are there. The security guy is there to welcome people to the church but wonder why they are there. There needs to be a heart of service and a desire to serve those that are coming to church while continuing to maintain the safety and security of all those coming through the doors.
November 5, 2017 will be remembered as one of the worst church shootings in history. This latest church shooting brings to total number of people killed by church violence to 108 for the year as of today. Unfortunately, this is a new record for a single year as well.
We will never mention the name of a killer because we do not want to give any recognition, let alone encouragement, to the people that commit these violent atrocities.
As our hearts break once again, we also feel some frustration because there are things that churches can do to help prevent loss of life. Indeed, there are many options for increasing security that churches might consider, one of which, I have no doubt, is that worshipers will decide on their own, or with church consent to bring their own weapons to church.
I am ending a great week of writing training material to train within an organization and to put in my next book. I also was able to take a group out and do some live fire tactical training. When I can train or assist someone in developing a variety of skills to better communicate, defend themselves both physically and with a firearm, it just makes my week.
Every week a good friend of mine, Carl Chinn, writes a blog for his website called “Think About It”. If you have not read it, I would encourage you to read it each week and to check out the other information that is on his website at www.carlchinn.com. This last week he touched on a subject that is a bit of an irritant to me and that was the subject of open carry. I agree with him in that when I see someone who is open carrying I look at them as a target for a bad guy to give me more time to respond appropriately.
Many people have been taught about different Bible stories over the years and I think very few actually take the time to read the Bible and the stories for themselves. Sometimes you have to read the chapters before and after to get a good understanding about what is going on in the story. The story of Gideon is just one of those times. In Judges 6 we see a glimpse of the relationship that God has with Gideon and how much patients God shows Gideon in his doubt. I think it is Gideon’s respect and honor of God and the angel that is the difference.
Then we get into Judges 7. God has called Gideon to gather men up for battle against the Midianites. We don’t know exactly how many men were gathered at this time but we do know that 22,000 got to go home because they were scared. God’s looks at the remaining and says “Nope, still too many” in verse 4 and also says to Gideon “I got this one, just get them to the water”.
As a Christian we often hear about putting on the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) and how important this is in our lives. Being prepared for the protection of our churches is much more that putting on a gun and radio. It is much more than the training you do (hopefully on a regular basis). Satan is looking for any opportunity to attack those that are standing on the wall guarding the people doing God's work.I have just finished going through Exodus for my devotions. There is one thing that has stood out from my time in this book. How very important it is for us to be seeking God daily. This is evident in chapter 16 where God is providing the manna for the people to eat and have their physical needs met. But I have learned that there is a second application for us today.
Much has happened particularly in Colorado and California in the past few weeks that has caused people to take a different mindset on their personal security in this country. Although terrorism is a primary concern for many, the likelihood that you will encounter a terrorist is pretty slim. The likelihood that you are going to experience evil in the form of a thug that you encounter when out everyday is much more likely. This would hold true for our places of worship, ministries, and work. We are in a world that evil, like what we have seen, can happen anywhere and anytime. Do you have the right mindset to deal with the threat? Do you possess the necessary training or are you just what I call a "Certificate Holder" that has the right to carry a gun? During training, I tell students that I am a really nice guy until it is time to not be a nice guy. Are you able to not be a nice person if you are confronted with someone bent on doing evil? Sun Tzu, author of The Art of War, wrote “If you know your enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the result of one hundred battles. If you know yourself but not your enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” Think about that and ask yourself where you might be in that statement.
If you are around any kind of security operation for any length of time you will undoubtedly hear the term "MINDSET". Lately I have come across several references to "MINDSET". It initially started when a fellow security professional posted an article, "10 Things You Learn By Carrying a Gun Everyday". Another person pointed out that there should to be an "11", called "MINDSET". How very true. Some who carry a firearm do not carry the correct mindset to do so. For example, "Just because I can, I'm going to." They think they have a good "MINDSET" but lack the skills necessary to respond properly in a threatening situation. I know, because years ago I was one of those people, until I received the necessary training from professionals. But for this blog post, let's talk about a different but equally important "MINDSET". As I talk with church leaders, there are many who don't have the right "MINDSET" when it comes to safety and security.
How many times have you talked with someone about something in their life and have them tell you that "I've got it under control."? How often in life do we really have "it" under control" whatever "it" is? We usually have a pretty good idea or find out that they really have very little under control. Many times this is used as an excuse to not discuss "it" further or truly believe that they can manage "it" on their own without any help.
CorrValues gets the opportunity to talk with many churches and ministries around the country. Many of these conversations have happened because there is someone that we know that is connected to the church in some capacity and sees the gap in the safety and security of the church. When we reach out to the church leadership we have experienced the "Thank you but, we've got It." or "Once we get some things lined up we will proceed." response. Much like coming to a relationship with Christ, we don't need to come already cleaned up but to just come as we are. Someone looking at us from the outside can often see things in our lives that we don't want to see or acknowledge as an issue. A Safety and Security Assessment can easily be the first step in the right direction of getting "it". Like in our own lives, when we put self and pride aside and realize that we cannot truly do "it" without the help of those around us.
I think that sometimes we forget how important good and constructive communication is in our relationships. How we communicate is just as important as what we are communicating. When we think of relationships, what may come to mind is your spouse, kids, parents, co-workers, etc. But in a ministry setting, communication to establish a relationship with someone starts at the door or even in the parking lot. How many times have you seen someone that just seems a little out of place in or around your ministry? I encounter many ministries that have a policy of just observing from a distance. I believe Safety and Security best happens when we engage those that are coming to our ministry. Showing that someone is aware that they are there and care about them. "Can I help you find something?" "Is everything okay; you seem lost." or whatever is fitting for the situation. This gives the Safety and Security person, trained staff member, etc. an opportunity to assess what might be going on with that person while communicating that you care about this person. You can usually tell if there has been some drinking going on. Maybe their skin or eyes indicate a drug habit. Are they wearing clothing that is out of place for the season.
Jesus calls the hurting and wounded to come to Him for healing. That may be the very thing these people need. Be ever so vigilant, don't work alone, get the necessary training to do your ministry well, and usher these people with a welcoming smile. Nehemiah gives us a great example of doing the work of the Lord while they still had one hand on their sword.
Take a look at how you do ministry and if you need assistance in assessing what your ministry is doing or training on how to be better prepared, CorrValues is able to provide assistance in a variety of ways to fit the culture of your ministry.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.