I don't need to write about the risks that churches face in our crazy world. On the other hand, I've seen far too many churches not making preparations for the possibility of trouble. They know they need to do something, but they keep putting it off. Here are some reasons every church needs a Safety and Security Team:
- A congregational gathering is a vulnerable place. We've seen evidence of that truth within the past few years. The nature of our work says that the church is open to anyone. It's easy to get into an unprotected church building with an unprepared congregation.
- We need to be better prepared for emergencies. A church ought to be as prepared as possible for everything from an injured church member to a heart attack victim to a weather threat to an armed intruder.
- Our churches often have qualified people who can serve in these roles. Often, police officers, firefighters, physicians, nurses and EMTs are sitting in our congregation. Putting them to work gives them purpose in the church and improves the church's safety.
- These teams increase security in our preschool and children's areas. Laypersons do a great job here, but trained personnel don't hurt, either. We cannot go too far to protect the next generation.
- Church parking lots are especially vulnerable to theft. Left unwatched and unprotected, an empty car during a worship service is an invitation to theft—especially if expensive items are left on the seat.
- In most cases, a Safety and Security Team will ease the pastor's mind. Pastors deal with a lot of stuff on a Sunday. Knowing this team is in place helps ease at least one burden for church leaders.
- Should something tragic happen, a Safety and Security Team can guide through the chaos. Nothing is guaranteed if a tragedy happens, but this team should help the church respond immediately and wisely.
What other reasons would you add to this list? Does your church have this kind of team?
Chuck Lawless is dean and vice president of graduate studies and ministry centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he also serves as professor of evangelism and missions. In addition, he is global theological education consultant for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
This article originally appeared at chucklawless.com.
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