It seems like one of the things so many churches or ministries strive for is to be a safe place, where everyone feels welcome. We come up with catchy phrases like “No Perfect People Allowed” or use language that visitors with no church background will hopefully understand.

But I mean safe in another sense. In a recent conversation about the tragic events that unfolded last Friday, I heard the remark that we can no longer assume something like that can’t happen in churches. There have been massacres in Churches before, and discussions were had by many churches I’m sure, but I think that especially in this time, so recently after a tragedy like this, it’s so easy to feel this point driven home. Schools are supposed to be safe, and time and time again now, they have proven to be the opposite.

Churches are supposed to be safe, many have the same protocols for child protection as the finest day cares or schools have. But how safe is your church? Do your ministries have plans of action if something were to happen?

It’s a conversation that is a shame that we have to have, but I think many churches need to have this discussion.

What steps has your church taken to provide the safest atmosphere it can? Do you think its ridiculous for churches to have lock-down procedures?

12 Comments

  1. Our church collect background information on individuals before they are eligible to work in an environment with any children or students. I think it would be wise to establish lock-down procedures, but I don't know that it is likely to happen. Unfortunately, because of the design of many church facilities, it is not quite as feasible to do so as in a school building. Additionally, and it kills me to say this, but the vast majority of the incidents that take place at schools are done by individuals who are able to gain access to the building. It is very unlikely that a stranger will be able to access most school facilities. I don't think we establish the types of security in a church that we find in schools. Doing so would be a deterrent to visitors and isolate many who would come to the church.
    • thats my thoughts too, Jonathan. Churches should be welcome and open, and feel like home to an extent, yet how do you maintain that welcoming atmosphere and keep things safe. Lockdown procedures I think would be good to have, but dont think its necessary to have lock down drills in childrens church.
      • How would you lock down a church though...our church is for the most part all in the same place...if a gunman wanted to shoot anyone, they'd have access to everyone...if you locked down, you'd be locked in with the gunman...We should look at a way for the nursery to be locked down...we have bullet proof glass, but I don't know that the doors are anything other than wood, which would stand little resistance to a gunman...
  2. Our church collect background information on individuals before they are eligible to work in an environment with any children or students. I think it would be wise to establish lock-down procedures, but I don't know that it is likely to happen. Unfortunately, because of the design of many church facilities, it is not quite as feasible to do so as in a school building. Additionally, and it kills me to say this, but the vast majority of the incidents that take place at schools are done by individuals who are able to gain access to the building. It is very unlikely that a stranger will be able to access most school facilities. I don't think we establish the types of security in a church that we find in schools. Doing so would be a deterrent to visitors and isolate many who would come to the church.
    • thats my thoughts too, Jonathan. Churches should be welcome and open, and feel like home to an extent, yet how do you maintain that welcoming atmosphere and keep things safe. Lockdown procedures I think would be good to have, but dont think its necessary to have lock down drills in childrens church.
      • How would you lock down a church though...our church is for the most part all in the same place...if a gunman wanted to shoot anyone, they'd have access to everyone...if you locked down, you'd be locked in with the gunman...We should look at a way for the nursery to be locked down...we have bullet proof glass, but I don't know that the doors are anything other than wood, which would stand little resistance to a gunman...
  3. Unfortunately a couple of weeks ago a woman was murdered at a church about an hour from where I live. We were all shocked - how could this happen in a church? Much less a church in rural PA! We have action plans for a fire, a fight, and a power outages, but nothing of this magnitude. I cant even fathom a response after calling the authorities and prayer. I hope someone has a better response that I can learn from.
  4. Unfortunately a couple of weeks ago a woman was murdered at a church about an hour from where I live. We were all shocked - how could this happen in a church? Much less a church in rural PA! We have action plans for a fire, a fight, and a power outages, but nothing of this magnitude. I cant even fathom a response after calling the authorities and prayer. I hope someone has a better response that I can learn from.
  5. It's a tough question, but definitely right to ask. We would all be horrified if, because of our lack of planning, something did happen. We do have a security ministry at our church, which is a step in the right direction, but I'm not sure what their procedures are. Crazy to think about, but in this day and age, seems like a conversation that should be had.
  6. It's a tough question, but definitely right to ask. We would all be horrified if, because of our lack of planning, something did happen. We do have a security ministry at our church, which is a step in the right direction, but I'm not sure what their procedures are. Crazy to think about, but in this day and age, seems like a conversation that should be had.
  7. My pastor and I had this very conversation last night at our staff meeting. We currently have some men that sit in the hallway where our children's programs are. They would serve as the first line of defense, at least giving us some time to put procedures into place. I am also working on some details for providing some security to our classrooms.
  8. My pastor and I had this very conversation last night at our staff meeting. We currently have some men that sit in the hallway where our children's programs are. They would serve as the first line of defense, at least giving us some time to put procedures into place. I am also working on some details for providing some security to our classrooms.

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