A church in rural Marengo, Ohio is offering concealed weapons training to its members to try and increase attendance among men, according to The Daily. Jeff Copley, a preacher at the local Church of Christ, explained that “church has done a good job with coffee klatsches or whatever, but we haven’t really reached out to guys. And guys in Morrow Country, they shoot and they hunt.”
“Jesus advises his disciples to sell their cloak and buy a sword,” Copley told The Daily. “He instructed his people to be prepared to defend themselves. It’s really hard to find someone in our congregation that doesn’t shoot somehow.”
The 10-hour course fulfills the state requirement for a concealed weapons permit, and hundreds of people have enrolled in the class. Other churches have since followed suit and offered similar classes; Central Baptist Church in North Carolina calls their concealed weapons classes “another avenue to reach people.”
“We promote responsibility. We don’t endorse violence,” said Rev. Ryan Bennett. “It’s just another way to draw people in.”
The Daily also explained that concealed carry licenses have seen a boom in demand in recent years. In Ohio, for example, county sheriffs issued nearly 50,000 new licenses last year, compared to just over 22,000 in 2007.