“Your circumstances are going to dictate your tactics [in that situation],” Everett said. “Be careful that a group or individual isn’t trying to create the ‘video moment’ that can be passed around on social media. The reports will be based on your reaction, not their action that led to it.”
O’Neal suggests a level of expediency, however.
“React immediately and get them out of the sanctuary. Return things to normalcy as soon as possible,” he said. “You have the right to physically remove protestors.”
When it comes to firearms, both recommend checking with the church’s insurance company and applicable laws. “It’s an administrative decision that needs to be made through prayer,” Everett said. “Whatever your governing body is, they need to decide with the proper information.”
Central to any security ministry or team is training, they agreed.
“It protects your growth and gives you credibility,” O’Neal said. “It communicates that when you bring your family to that church, they’re going to be safe. You have somebody looking out for you so you can freely worship and learn.”
Having “a servant’s heart and a warrior’s mindset” doesn’t make for a good security plan, said Everett.
“Just having a concealed carry permit doesn’t prepare you for what to do in a congregation setting. It’s about the type and quality of training, not just the number of hours.”
Diligence is wise when researching church security firms, they said. On May 16 the Arkansas Baptist News reprinted an article from February 2021 on things to consider when building a church safety team. The Department of Homeland Security also provides guides and resources for faith-based events and houses of worship.
“We need to get the training,” Everett said. “You want to be able to say you’ve done your best to prepare.”
This article originally appeared at Baptist Press.