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Old 08-24-2013, 11:10 AM
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Default Church Security Planning

Given the world we live in more and more churches are starting to think about having a plan in place do deal with security issues.

I am by no means an expert on church security but I will share experiences I've had with two different churches.

I have attended two churches that had security teams. One was extremely unprofessional and I had absolutely nothing to do with it. The other, which I am involved with, is very professional.

The first consisted of a few guys that simply carried guns in church.

I don’t think there was any scheduling I don’t know that anyone was posted anywhere and I’m not sure any of them even knew the others were even there on a given Sunday. If there was ever a special event the church pastor would ask the head usher to pick a team to cover it. On at least one occasion all of the team weren’t even permit holders and at least one of them carried (illegally) anyway.

Given the lack of organization I’m going to assume that the church’s insurance policy did not have a rider on it for a security team. Which would mean that if any of their security guys is ever involved in a shooting at church I'm going to bet the guard will be on the hook for it.

On the other hand the church security team I am involved now in is very professional. The Pastor that leads the team responded to the New Life Church shooting 2007 Colorado YWAM and New Life shootings - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia as a police officer and because of that experience tends to take this ministry very seriously.

We are required under the church's insurance rider to receive a certain amount of instruction and training from an NRA certified instructor every year (Hey who turns down free training?) as well as a bi annual range qualification and we are only allowed to carry the firearm we qualified with (which kinda makes sense if you think about it )

We all wear a distinctive uniform and tend to be very discrete about the fact that we are armed, to the point that the official answer we are to give if asked is ‘Some of the security team members may be armed.” This is in contrast to a guy on the other security team (same one that was carrying illegally) who not only let the whole church know he was armed also outed several other members of the team as being armed because he thought it was “cool”.

We also try to schedule 6 or so people for each service with each of the six knowing who is on the schedule and being in radio contact at all times as well as in radio contact with the ushers (again in contrast to the other church in which I don’t think anyone or at most two people carried a radio).

If anyone is considering starting a church security team I would suggest that you contact New Life Church in Colorado Springs which has a program designed to help churches set up a security ministry using lessons they’ve learned along the way.

FWIW New Life is the only church in America that I am aware of who had a security plan in place before they were attacked and who’s plan has been proven under fire.

Last edited by Smoke; 08-24-2013 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 08-24-2013, 01:29 PM
SMSgt SMSgt is offline
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Any church (or any other entity) considering organizing an "armed security"--whether composed of volunteers or professionals--needs to check into the legalities of such an action in the state in which it is located. Sometimes a license above and beyond the typical personal CCW permit is required. And then a talk with the insurance company should follow. It's not always as simple as, "Hey, Bob, why don't you and your buddies bring your guns to church and provide protection for the flock."
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Old 08-24-2013, 02:17 PM
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Like I've stated on a different post my church is small. Less then 100 people and one main door in and out with emergency exits that don't get opened. I carry every Sunday and AFAIK, no one knows I'm carrying I don't advertise for any reason and I live in a open carry state. I carry for my protection but would have no problem intervening in a tragic shooting by someone deciding to hit a soft target. Like I stated before I would not be able to stop the first shot probably as my attentions would no be to the door, but I hope I would be able to stop massive collateral damage if it were In my power.

It is my understanding that most shooter go in with an agenda and when things go wrong they either give up or commit suicide. I've read this someplace don't remember where, hope it is true but I have no reservations about protecting myself, loved ones or innocent bystanders if possible, or would give my life to save others, but I would rather live as I'm not a Japanese solider in WWll. If anyone has any knowledge about this paragraph I would like to here about it or is it just a urban legend.
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Old 08-24-2013, 02:42 PM
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Any church (or any other entity) considering organizing an "armed security"--whether composed of volunteers or professionals--needs to check into the legalities of such an action in the state in which it is located. Sometimes a license above and beyond the typical personal CCW permit is required. And then a talk with the insurance company should follow. It's not always as simple as, "Hey, Bob, why don't you and your buddies bring your guns to church and provide protection for the flock."
In Colorado there are two types of security guards Licensed and proprietary. A licensed security guard has to go through the city class, has to wear a distinctive uniform, canít carry a firearm w/out a firearm endorsement on his/her license and canít carry a concealed weapon under any circumstance.

A proprietary security guard is like a bouncer and doesnít need a city license and is basically a private citizen (as a licensed guard is) who has been tasked by the owner of an establishment w/ keeping order.

I'm not sure how the insurance works but the guards at New Life (and our church) would be proprietary.
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Old 08-24-2013, 04:03 PM
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It sounds like one poster has its act together. Just a suggestion; you might want to consider coordinating w/local law enforcement. They will be responding to any emergency and should have a working knowledge of the plans the church has implemented.
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Old 08-24-2013, 06:00 PM
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It sounds like one poster has its act together. Just a suggestion; you might want to consider coordinating w/local law enforcement. They will be responding to any emergency and should have a working knowledge of the plans the church has implemented.
There are quite a few active and retired police officers on our security team. As I mentioned in the OP the pastor that is in charge of the team is a retired police officer who was one of the first officers on the scene at the New Life Church shooting. I am certain that any police response has already been taken into account.
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Old 08-24-2013, 06:24 PM
P&R Fan P&R Fan is offline
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As I see it, we have two very different scenarios here:
1. An armed Security Team that is sanctioned by the church.
The church is then responsible for their actions, as would be their insurance carrier, assuming the church had advised the carrier of the armed Security. If they did not, I am sure the insurance company would not cover an incident.
(I speak with some experience here, as I have owned a Contract Security company for over 27 years, and have been a Private Investigator for over 18 years).
2. Members with carry permits providing Security when they are attending services. They should advise the Pastor or Elders of this, although in some cases that may not be a good idea. Some denominations are very anti-gun. One Protestant one in particular that I will not name. They would probably not allow members to carry. If it were me, I would do so anyway. These members should then keep this to themselves. I know a guy who goes to a large church in another Iowa city. He doesn't have a carry permit, but thinks it's cool. Several members of his church carry at services, and he is constantly talking about it. I have repeatedly told him to keep this information private. Like the guy mentioned in a post above, he thinks it's "cool". He is simply not informed about legal or tactical issues, and unfortunately, he doesn't think he needs to learn any more. Understand, his mindset is what is most common among people who are not aware of the realities of self-defense.

We live in a very dangerous world, and I have read articles quoting very high ranking government and military people saying they expect houses of worship to be attacked by terrorists. I agree. Since 11 September, 2001, I have not been in church unarmed. In the church we used to go to, one of about 150 people, my Pastor and one Elder knew I carried. I actually had people casually ask me if I carried at church, I always said no. (And repented later for lying). We go to a church now that runs about 1,000 on Sunday morning. I am constantly armed, and not with a mouse-gun either. I carry a Glock 23 in my Kramer Confidant shirt holster, with a spare mag, and my M340PD in my left front pants pocket. Nobody but my Wife knows at this point, and that's alright with me.

"Security" in church can take many forms. If it is sanctioned by the church, the operatives need to be trained and they NEED TO KEEP THEIR MOUTHS SHUT! It's part of being an adult.
Or at least that's the way I see it.
Jim

Last edited by P&R Fan; 08-25-2013 at 01:10 AM.
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Old 08-25-2013, 01:11 AM
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2. Members with carry permits providing Security when they are attending services. They should advise the Pastor or Elders of this, although in some cases that may not be a good idea.
The Pastoral staff knows because of my position on the security team but if not for that I certainly wouldn’t have mentioned it. First, because it isn’t their business and second because it (IMO) would cause far more problems than it solves.

It’s been my experience that once you let that knowledge out you lose all control over it. Right after I got my CHP I made the mistake of telling a friend who proceeded to share that information with a third party that I wouldn’t have told.

I also made the mistake of telling the guy I mentioned in the OP (the one who thought carrying a gun was “cool”). Now that guy was a piece of work, in addition to outing me to just about everyone in his circle he was also in the habit of grabbing the guns of people who he knew were carrying.

We ended up leaving that church for the one we’re at now over some doctrinal issues and when we did one of the decisions we made was not to share our status as permit holders with anyone who didn’t have a legitimate need to know.

As far as I'm concerned unless I am acting as an agent of the church, they have no "Need to know"

And after rereading your post above I'd also say that no one should be "providing security" for the church with out pastoral oversight and approval

Last edited by Smoke; 08-25-2013 at 01:13 AM.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:06 AM
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In my state it is illegal to carry in a church without express permission by the church.

We talked about this in my CC class. The instructor advised that if we carry in church, we really should have written permission, not just a nod from the pastor, or a church leader.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:13 AM
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What a shame, reading this, is nothing sacred anymore in this society?
Of all places on earth, a church should be a safe place, I remember when it was.
I'm not happy with what has happened to us.
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Old 08-25-2013, 09:01 AM
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What a shame, reading this, is nothing sacred anymore in this society?
Of all places on earth, a church should be a safe place, I remember when it was.
I'm not happy with what has happened to us.
I see this more as a sign of the times. The Bible explicitly states that in the latter days perilous time would come
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Old 08-25-2013, 01:31 PM
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I am a pastor. When I received my permit and bought my first handgun the sales person asked if I was going to carry. He went on to tell me that the places these crazies target is schools and churches. I just thought it was an interesting comment.
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:36 AM
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Schools, Churches and any Gun Free zone are obvious places for a lunatic to choose. We feel that these places should be sacred, but it has only turned into an advertisement of weakness to psychopaths who want to kill as many as possible.

I got my license because of prompting from a friend and church member. They have an active security group at that church, but they are not carrying unless the individual has a license and then they don't advertise it.

I think a security team is a good idea and great deterrent. However, I would include an "undercover" or plain clothes contingent. If the psychopath is intelligent, and many are, they would target the uniformed security first.
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:55 AM
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I think a security team is a good idea and great deterrent. However, I would include an "undercover" or plain clothes contingent. If the psychopath is intelligent, and many are, they would target the uniformed security first.
I try to avoid discussing specifics about how our security team operates
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Old 08-26-2013, 05:05 PM
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Ohio is also a state that written permission is required to carry in church. The church that I attend has issued permission to a few people only. There have been a number of ccw permitted, but without church permission people carrying at church. I explain to them that is a low level felony, and the courts in our county will have them jailed! Our church will have a number of us attending a security seminar in the middle of September to further train and develop our church's security. In my opinion the first step to church or Church security is always going to be prayer! Informed and trained teams or armed guards are a long way down the list compared to angels sent from on high. That being said, I am armed at church (as always). My son is the head of the church's security program, and this is a high priority in the leadership's thoughts and plans. However, terrorists and robbers are not the greatest threat we face. Our greatest concerns are that our small children would be the targets of predators or abducted by non-custodial family members. We are always looking for better ways to insure the safety of these most innocent of our members. Restricted access seems to be the best first defense, but is very hard to maintain in our current building. Ivan
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Old 08-26-2013, 05:19 PM
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[QUOTE=Comrad;137400695]What a shame, reading this, is nothing sacred anymore in this society?
Of all places on earth, a church should be a safe place, I remember when it was.
I'm not happy with what has happened to us.[/QUOTE]

Most of us aren't, but reality is reality.
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Old 08-26-2013, 05:35 PM
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I'm a member of a large church. We have 2 services and Sunday school. An elder of the church told me privately the church has an armed security team of 3-4 members at each service. I'm pretty sure most are LEOs since there are several that attend the church. A couple normally attend in uniform but the others aren't.

I don't carry in church because of the team. Although advisable today, I'd still feel a little uneasy about carrying in church.
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:26 PM
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I agree with the post from Ivan that terrorists and robbers are probably not as likely to be a problem as child abductions are. I've heard there are more than half a million child abductions every year in the USA. There are lots of broken families in turmoil and lots of truly sick individuals walking around in society these days.

It is often good just to have a responsible adult out and about in the hallway to keep an eye on things and greet people who come in. A bad situation is more likely to be defused if somebody is keeping an eye out for trouble before it starts.

Just keep a low profile and be discreet if you carry. There's no reason to alarm the sheep if you don't have to.
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Old 08-26-2013, 07:33 PM
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I see this more as a sign of the times. The Bible explicitly states that in the latter days perilous time would come
I agree with the poster, just look at what is happening in Egypt Christians will be under attack everywhere soon


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Old 08-26-2013, 07:37 PM
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Just a thought, maybe if advertised outside the Church that it is monitored and that there may be armed individuals, may perhaps give a perp a times 2 thought on taking the chance? It has crossed my mind as a Southern Baptist Church member that some may take umbridge with our message? There again they may suspect a carry??


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Old 08-26-2013, 10:09 PM
Ivan the Butcher Ivan the Butcher is offline
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One of our sister churches is in a rough part of town. Their leadership feels that a good, alert, and unarmed security team is sufficient to keep the flock safe from the homeless/aggressive panhandlers and the gangbangers that roam the streets in that neighborhood. The last security seminar was held in their church, and was faithfully attended by numerous gang members and a good turn out by the homeless too. Our congregation has several members that used to work in the outreaches the inner city church had. But these days, our members no longer volunteer because of safety concerns. Just because a church has a security plan/team, does not mean you have to agree with it. Your disagreement doesn't mean you can violate the rule and laws, but you can vote with you feet. The upcoming seminar will be at a different congregations church. This pastor has a better sense of the realities of security vs. the open arms of outreach. On the matter of child molesters, our church had a man request to join our congregation, the more than small problem was he had 2 convictions (same time) for molesting pre-teen girls over a multi year peroid. I was in on the leaders meeting. He was allowed to join with some restrictions. The most obvious restriction was, He was not allowed in the childrens area of the building without escort (the restrooms are back there). He knew that 3 of us were fully informed of his past (I interviewed him personally) and could come to us for escort without question. He attended for over 2 years and never caused even the slightest problem, repentance is real to some people and a joke to others. Vigilance is a necessity at all times. Ivan
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