American Pastors Network: Pastors and Churches Must Understand Biblical and Moral Responsibility of Safety
APN Offers Churches 10 Recommendations on Important Matter of Security
January 13, 2020
PHILADELPHIA—In the wake of a tragic church shooting in Texas just after Christmas that left a congregation and a community devastated, many churches are beginning the new year on a somber note when it comes to considering safety and security.
Following other sad and shocking acts of violence in churches over recent years, the American Pastors Network (APN), the largest national network dedicated to equipping pastors to be a voice for truth in the public square, took a lead in helping pastors and church leaders work through a perplexing societal problem.
“Unfortunately, church security is now a pressing matter in our nation,” said APN President Sam Rohrer. “No longer can we fully count on the peaceful and serene sanctuary of the church. It’s clear that those with evil intentions, whether against the church itself or those inside, have sought to steal and kill and destroy, as we witnessed at West Freeway Church of Christ in a Fort Worth, Texas, suburb. We live in a culture where our churches must seriously think about how to keep people safe. Just as a shepherd carries a staff to guard his sheep, so must every pastor employ ways to protect his flock.”
Rohrer and other APN leaders have developed 10 recommendations for churches to consider when it comes to the important matter of church security.
- Understand the biblical and moral responsibility of safety. It is the duty of pastors and church leadership to do all they can to protect the lives of those in the congregation.
- Develop and train a security team. Dedicate certain individuals, whether staff or volunteers, to undertake the important issue of security. Train these personnel how to identify potential threats and how to de-escalate potential threat situations. During services or functions, outfit the team in plain clothes.
- Perform a risk assessment. Where is the church vulnerable in its facility and grounds? Consider a community threat assessment as well.
- Implement security protocols. Consider these suggestions: 1) Lock doors after services begin; 2) Post security team members at entrances; 3) Conduct a regular, annual re-assessment of the security plan.
- Install security cameras. Consider video surveillance to document and record potential threats or incidents.
- Establish a medical response team. Mobilize medical personnel already within the congregation who can take action if injuries ever occur.
- Evaluate the legal parameters for security measures. Research insurance requirements and conduct a liability assessment. Identify state civil laws regarding security measures, which can vary from state to state.
- Create an evacuation plan. Be sure the security team knows how to best evacuate churchgoers of all ages and mobility ranges, and consider creating another key team to assist. Practice the plan through drills.
- Involve local law enforcement in the security plan. Tell local police departments and other emergency responders about the security plan, perhaps through an evening meeting. They may be able to offer additional suggestions or protocols.
- Communicate the new or existing security measures with the congregation. Members will appreciate knowing the church has a plan to keep them safe.
With APN’s firm belief in God’s power to heal and restore our nation, the ministry has launched a nationwide plan to enlist 10,000 prayer warriors to commit to praying every Tuesday until Election Day 2020 for the moral and spiritual renewal of America.
Called “52 Tuesdays,” the initiative is a dedicated season of prayer for the important 2020 presidential election and topics close to voters’ hearts. APN is encouraging prayer warriors nationwide to add their name to the growing “52 Tuesdays” list.
Rohrer leads APN’s daily radio program, “Stand in the Gap Today,” which airs live from noon to 1 p.m. ET, when he, co-hosts and expert guests discuss a variety of pressing topics and headlines from a biblical and constitutional perspective. Archived programs can be viewed here; find a station here. Rohrer also hosts the daily short radio feature, “Stand in the Gap Minute,” and “best of” shows from the week are broadcast on “Stand in the Gap Weekend.”
Likewise, “Stand in the Gap TV,” reaching millions of potential viewers on several networks, considers transcending cultural issues, seemingly difficult to navigate, from a biblical worldview perspective while bringing clarity to cultural confusion and making sense of the nonsense around us.
View the media page for APN here, which also details information about “Stand in the Gap” radio programming. For more information on APN, visit www.AmericanPastorsNetwork.net, its Facebook page or follow APN’s Twitter feed, @AmericanPastors. For information about forming a state chapter of APN, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
To interview an American Pastors Network representative, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or ext. 102.