Unfortunately, churches and places of worship aren’t exempt from becoming victims of violent attacks. While our most important tool is prayer, there are several additional steps church leaders can take to protect their congregations.
Deciding when and which doors to lock, how to respond in the event of an emergency, how to collaborate with first responders on emergency response plans, and establishing safety teams are just a few examples. Unless you have a security expert on staff, you’ll need outside help to provide direction for your church. Below are several church security planning resources to consider:
#1 – Insurance company
Talk with your church’s insurance agent to see what resources they have available. Some provide free eBooks and training; others may have a list of preferred vendors you could contact and more. Most will at least offer guidance on what they require as your insurer.
#2 – Denomination
Check with your denomination’s leadership to see if they provide resources regarding safety and security policies. They might have templates and examples of security policies and procedures you could use. Also, ask if they have a list of recommended security experts to contact.
Sometimes it’s best to get expert advice that’s tailored for your church’s unique situation. Founder of the Worship Security Association and Kingswood Security Consulting, Simon Osamoh has an extensive security background. This includes 14 years as a Detective in England, former Head of Counter-Terrorism at Mall of America, and serving as a security advisor for his home church in Minnesota. His company provides individualized church security consulting along with church security training options.
Another organization that offers church security training and advice is The Church Safety Guys. Comprised of individuals who serve in their local church’s security teams, this non-profit organization works to provide training, policy and equipment recommendations, print resources, a weekly broadcast, and more.
#5 – The Church Network
The Church Network offers online courses on church security. They also have resources such as a Safety and Security Manual, Emergency Preparedness Response Manual, and more (many are free). Also, contact your local chapter of The Church Network to see if they plan on addressing security during an upcoming meeting.
#6 – Church Law & Tax
This part of the Christianity Today organization provides several articles and other resources related to church security. Search for “security” in their online store to find several eBooks to use as a starting point for your church security planning.
#7 – Local First Responders
As your church develops or updates a security plan, ask local first responders to review the plan and provide input. They’ll be the ones you call on for help in an emergency, so their insights could be extremely valuable.
#8 – The Church Operations Toolkit
Within The Church Operations Toolkit, you can access “how-to” guides for different aspects of church security. This includes creating a children check-in process, running background checks on staff and volunteers, an introduction to risk management, preparing for natural disasters, and interviews with subject matter experts like Simon Osamoh.
No one wants to think a violent attack could occur at their church. However, we’ve seen several instances in the news that prove it is possible, and that we need to be prepared. By leveraging these and other church security planning expert resources, you can create a plan and be prepared to protect your congregation.