Church Violence: The Threat is Real
Church violence and shootings are becoming more and more common. The calm and relaxed atmosphere and sense of personal have largely been voided with recent violence. Churches and church leaders have taken the safety of their congregations personal and are investing in a variety of solutions to prevent future violence. Some of those steps include active shooter training, added security, investment in security systems and cameras, etc. As a leader or pastor yourself, I think it's important to highlight some additional solutions for this growing problem in our churches.
Communicate with your congregation - Adding security measures are great. Having a congregation who doesn't know about them, doesn't know how to use them or doesn't understand how they work will provide a little upside in case of emergency. Keep communication open and encourage your members to reach out and speak their minds. After all, it's their personal safety they are worried about.
Partner with local law enforcement - Open communication (see above) is great with local law enforcement. If your local precinct is kind enough to provide an on-site officer during worship times, take it! The extra protection will mean a great deal to those attending your service and will provide a viable deterrent to any who mean harm.
Again, remember that your members are taking a risk when they come to your service. Respect that. Appreciate that. Focus on their experience and what THEY need. The threat of church violence is very real as is the danger to your members and your staff. Taking the proper steps to protect your church includes much more than security and training. Develop plans for your church and communicate them to ensure everyone, and I mean everyone, knows what to do and how to do it when and if something happens.
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