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Training to Serve

The Key to Controlling the Situation - Dealing with Disruptive Persons using Verbal De-escalation Series

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Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman who needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. ~ 2 Timothy 2:15 (21st Century King James Version)

Due Diligence

The Greek word translated "study" in the King James Version is rendered as "be diligent" in most other translations. Since this word means both "study" and "be diligent" it implies that studying requires a certain degree of diligence. This should be expected. For most of us, building our knowledge and skills does not happen effortlessly. It requires due diligence.

In this letter, Paul encourages his protégé to continue to work hard, to keep learning and improving, "to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you" (2 Tim. 1:6, ESV). In the church in Ephesus, Timothy worked at teaching, preaching, counseling, guidance, and administration.

The same principle applies in today's churches. We have those same tasks today, plus youth ministries, men's and women's groups, kitchen work, grounds keeping, etc. All of these require learning and diligence, including safety & security ministries.

Specialized Training

For any area of service, whether in business, the public sector, or in religious communities (including churches), some training is beneficial, beginning with orientation to the business, agency, or institution. This also includes the standards, rules, policies, and regulations for that service sector. Then there are some basic skills to learn, practice, and reinforce, many of them applicable more than one area.

When it comes to safety and security, some level of specialized training is needed. Less specialized are emergency response skills such as First Aid, CPR, and operation of certain equipment. Anyone serving in the church - teachers, pastoral staff, custodians, volunteers in general - are encouraged to participate in this training.

However, some training topics are requirements for members of a safety/security/response ministry. This begins with meeting special qualifications, and the policies and procedures for the ministry. Then there are skills, such as cash control (also learned by office staff), situational awareness, verbal de-escalation, unarmed self-defense, use of force laws, citizen's arrest, patrol procedures. Areas of application include protecting children and vulnerable adults, conducting shelter and evacuation drills, lockdowns, and active shooter response, among others.

Available Training Resources

There are many training resources available online for a church safety ministry. Sheepdog Church Security has the "Church Security Guide" with chapters on organizing a church safety ministry[1] and use of force training[2]:

Turnkey Church Safety Ministry Launch

Church Security Assessment

Church Safety / Security Volunteer Academy

Arson Prevention and Fire Drills for Churches

Severe Weather and Natural Disasters

Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse in the Church

Active Shooter Neutralization and Lock Down Drills

Dealing with Disruptive Persons using Verbal Deescalation

Protecting Yourself and the Church with Use of Force Laws

We also have a number of downloadable training bundles[3] with power point presentations, handouts, and leader guides. These include:

Complete Church Security Training System,

Active Shooter Neutralization and Lock Down Drills,

Church Safety / Security Volunteer Academy,

Dealing with Disruptive Persons using Verbal Deescalation,

Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse in the Church,

Protecting Yourself and the Church with Use of Force Laws,

Arson Prevention and Fire Drills for Churches,

Severe Weather and Natural Disasters, and

Turnkey Church Safety Ministry Proposal Kit.

Training Sessions

A church safety team can benefit greatly from training as a group. One instructor can teach several persons at the same time, but the real advantage comes from personal interaction between the instructor and the team members, as well as among team members. Members can act out scenarios, such as with verbal de-escalation. They can practice self-defense moves. As a matter of fact, self defense skills are best learned with personal instruction and interpersonal practice.

As much as we may want group training, it can be difficult or impossible to get the whole team together frequently enough to cover all the training. There must be a way to ensure that all the team members can receive essential training. One way is with smaller classes repeated for different segments of the team. Another way is individualized training for those who cannot make it to every training session.

Another consideration is training a new Safety Team member without waiting for an annual class. Waiting would be especially awkward if the member joined not long after that class and it was almost a year until the next class. If a class was immediately available, the new member could be trained without undue delay. Even if the new member was an active or former sworn law enforcement officer, there are some aspects of church security to be taken into consideration.

Online Training

Thanks to the Internet and advances in formulating distance learning, many students are taking advantage of online courses. This includes college classes, even for advanced graduate degrees. Not everything can be taught online, but more than most of us would have thought practical a couple of decades ago. There is even online proctored testing. And online university faculty can interact with students. Some classes also enable students to interact with each other, especially webinars.

Sheepdog Church Security Online Training

Now Sheepdog Church Security has online courses for church safety and security ministries, beginning April 6, 2018 (the Friday after Easter).

The first course to be available is "Church Safety and Security Volunteer Academy"[4]. It will be followed by "Dealing with Disruptive Persons using Verbal De-escalation." Other courses will be released every two or three weeks until they are all online.

Why the "Church Safety and Security Volunteer Academy"?

This, the first course, is the basic one for establishing a Church Safety/Security Ministry and training the volunteers. Clicking on the link takes you to a page introducing the course. This is what Sheepdog Church Security says about safety & security ministries:

Safety has become one of the most paramount concerns for churches across the United States. In truth, churches have been targets for violence and threats as long as they have existed, but the trend is increasing.

Couple that with the potential for damage or loss of life due to natural disasters, through fire, or even at the hands of church members themselves, and you begin to see the need to have a Church Safety Team.

This is a group of individuals dedicated to safeguarding not just the physical building and grounds, but the individuals that actually make up the church.

This same course is also used as the basic annual refresher course for all members of the ministry - Safety Committee, Safety Director, and Safety Team - as well as the first course for new members. On the introductory page are two links taking the user to a form for enrolling in the course.

The first course - "Church Safety and Security Volunteer Academy" - is available here: