I go to Browns Bridge Community Church, and Andy Stanley is our pastor. Today, during the first service, a heckler started yelling at him from the crowd during the closing minutes of his message. I was not at the campus that Andy was preaching at, but the video feed was live. This heckler was loud and screaming something theological in response to Andy’s message.
The point of this post is to help you as a church leader know how to handle situations like this. I have to say, Andy and North Point security teams did a great job from what I could tell.
Here are a few things I observed today that can help your church handle a heckler:
1. You need a security plan BEFORE something happens in your service
No matter what size your church is, you need a plan for emergencies in your service. Within a few seconds of this heckler, security teams were on the move.
If this person would have had a gun or something extreme, it would be even more important to have security ready to act. I believe that every church should have at least one volunteer security person in each service. Having a person in your service that responds to emergencies will prevent panic.
What is your plan for hecklers or emergencies during your service?
2. Keep your composure on the stage
Andy did a GREAT job this morning of keeping his composure. The heckler wouldn’t shut up, and Andy was gently trying to move the service to a close. The guy just wouldn’t quit yelling so Andy was patient and very kind. Andy’s character showed through in the way he responded. The thing that was impressive was how he kept his composure. Most people would either overreact or not react at all.
Composure is important because there were thousands of people in the room, and we were waiting on how to react based on what Andy said.