Church Security

When it comes to churches, does “heavily armed” mean safe?

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One church made headlines with a promise to show “deadly force.” Should yours do the same?

News reports recently drew attention to a church in the Southeastern U.S. that advertised this message on social media (I’ve redacted the name of the church).

I don’t have first-hand knowledge of this church or its circumstances. I’m simply using this information to make two relevant points.

One, a secure church does not have to compromise its mission.

In my view, this poster will do little to deter a deranged person from trying to kill someone. It will do a lot to deter guests from joining. Who wants to attend the First Church of Magnum Force? Security does not have to be bold and brash to be effective. Each church needs to find a healthy sense of balance.

Second, guns do not equal safety.

I don’t know the level of firearms training that has taken place at this particular church. But concealed-weapons training is designed to protect individuals and homes. It does not prepare you for a public, high-stakes shootout. That requires advanced, consistent training. Without it, more people are likely to be hurt than helped.

In addition, the first and most effective tactic any church can employ is to train its ushers, greeters and parking lot teams to be observant and aware. You win 100% of the confrontations you never have.

Questions? I’d love to hear from you.

Vaughn Baker is the president of Strategos International and author of The Church Security Handbook.

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