Got Protesters? Handle With Care

Holster the donuts and suspend the arguments. Unless it’s violent, let this storm blow over.

A well-known protest group recently made its rounds at churches in the Orlando area, spewing an all-too-common message of “hate thy neighbor.”

In our hyper-politicized age, everything appears to be a cause for protest. And protesters are not generally known for calm and reasoned discourse. Quite the opposite.

They may announce their arrival ahead of time or simply show up at your doorstep. Either way, their presence is troubling to those on the inside.

When this happens, what’s a church, or business or non-profit to do?

First of all, it’s legal for protesters to picket on public property such as sidewalks. Unless they’re disturbing the peace or trespassing, they’re on solid legal ground. But …

Protesters want attention and hate indifference. So ignore them. A toe-to-toe “stand for truth” can devolve into a shouting match or fistfight – and that’s what some of these groups want (legal action = money). Even the tender-hearted woman who seeks to “kill them with kindness” will likely regret bringing donuts to hardened professional agitators. If there’s a confrontation or – worse – an altercation, then you’ve made the news.

“Be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves.”

— Matthew 10:16

Certainly you should be watchful and aware when protesters show up. Alerting law enforcement is also a prudent step, simply to be on the safe side.

For a protester, a bad day is quiet day. And that’s exactly the kind of day you want to give them. Questions? Let’s talk.

Vaughn Baker Strategos International

Vaughn Baker is the president of Strategos International and the author of The Church Security Handbook. Connect with him on LinkedIn.