I had a totally different idea on the direction that I wanted to go for this blog/newsletter. As many of you probably noticed, I missed sending one out last month and for maybe obvious reasons. Life has changed for nearly all of us and canceling seminars might seem like an easy task but logistically there is a lot there. We intentionally try to make our seminars as much hands-on as we have time for and yet nearly every survey we get back, there are always people that wish that there could have been more training. Once people get a taste of what training could look like for them and their church, they are hungry for more and that is ultimately our goal, to hopefully help kickstart some thinking on how those attending can do it better.
Well, here we are. I’m not doing training seminars and you aren’t training. So, what are you going to do with your time? At our seminars, and you probably have heard me mention it on a few podcasts, we talk about the total team concept when it comes to the safety and security of our churches. There is no shortage of people telling me that they are trying to provide a safe and secure place of worship, but they don’t have enough people to do it. This is exactly why we invite ushers, greeters, children's and youth workers, church staff or anyone that is serving in the church to our seminar. The security of the church should not be only left up to the few men and women that have been called to that ministry. They are not able to be everywhere all the time. The other ministries need to have some basic skills to be able to recognize/handle situations until the security persons can get there.
You can’t assume that those serving in other areas of the church or on staff are going to know how to handle a variety of situations. So, now is a great time to plan out what the rest of the year is going to look like for training. Keep in mind that none of us have “arrived” when it comes to knowing everything and you aren’t expected to know it all either. I tell people that if I ever say that “I’ve arrived” in knowing everything, there are some serious issues starting with my heart posture. So, don’t assume that you have to be the one that knows it all or has to provide the training.
Right now, it is a great time to make a couple of lists. I would recommend that one list would be the list of ministries in your church. Where are people working or serving in your church? Ok, we will come back to that list in a moment. The second list would be a list of resources that you have at your disposal. For example, we have added a “Stop the Bleed” certification to our seminars as part of the afternoon hands-on rotation. Did you know that this training must be offered at no cost in your community? I didn’t until I was contacted by a company in Ohio prior to a seminar and now we have made it a regular part of our seminar so that area churches know for future trainings. Do you have law enforcement persons that could provide some training? EMS persons from the local fire department are usually eager to teach what they know. We know that there are churches that don’t have a lot of resources to pull from so this is why we have our training DVDs available.
Now, if we take that first list of staff and ministries, start with taking each one individually and think of situations that could arise and what is it that they would need to know in order to be an asset or a force multiplier in your church. As your list develops, you will find that some of the trainings will be unique to the ministry and some will overlap in what needs to be known. Take a look again at resources and ways that this training can be accomplished once we get back to “normal”. At the seminars we encourage the different people representing different churches in the community to network with each other during breaks and over lunch. By doing this they get to know what other resources there are out there. We see many churches that combine their training to maximize their resources. This is not only good for the churches in working together, but it also creates a safer community when the churches are working together to create a safe worshipping environment. Think creatively on how you can get the necessary training accomplished with what you have at your disposal.
Right now, when most everyone is being told to stay home in the country, it is a great time to contact people to work toward making plans. There are several churches that are doing that with us. Knowing that this will pass and knowing how vital training is, they are already looking at getting us rebooked for seminars in their community. Looking at getting on people’s calendars for training the rest of this year and into next year helps them with their schedule and will help you with your planning.
Finally, I would recommend taking this time to look at the policies and procedures that you have in place to see if they need to be updated. If you don’t have any yet, we provide a zip file of some examples, and if you listen to the podcast with Jeff Henry and how he is doing things at his church, he also is willing to share some of the resources they use at their church. I tell churches to get a copy of their local school’s emergency plan. They will give it to you because it is not a secret squirrel sort of document. This will help in developing your own plan for your church. If you mirror what the schools are doing, the children and parents already will know what to do should an emergency arise. Your church is obviously not meeting, so take this time to walk the property and the buildings to see what else can be done to make the facilities safer. Maybe it will help develop some training ideas. Also, as we are seeing around the country, people are getting more and more desperate as they see their income and maybe other resources dwindle. They are breaking in and stealing where they can and if there is a presence on the property that might help deter criminal activity from happening there. Just some thoughts for this month that I hope will help. Let us know at CV Ministries if we can be a resource for you in your planning.
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