The Basics of a Church Safety Team
From the Bible
- The building of the Temple began with laying the foundation:
- Jesus likened his teaching to the bedrock for a solid foundation:
And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the wv u0piinds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Matthew 7:24-27).
- Paul named Jesus and the Apostles as being foundational to the church:
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone (Ephesians 2:20).
- Foundations can be destroyed (the fundamentals forgotten or neglected):
How is an organization like a building? It is no surer than its foundation.
How successful is a sports team? As successful as their execution of the fundamentals of the game.
How successful is a church safety team? That depends on how well the team is founded and how well they follow the fundamentals.
In the News
San Francisco, California, October 7, 2021 - Repairs to the Millennium Tower were halted because the work caused the rate of sinking and tilting to increase. The 58-story luxury condominium with offices and retail on the lower levels was opened in April 2009. Seven years and a month later, occupants found out that the tower was slowly sinking and tilting.
The reason for sinking and tilting was that the foundation did not extend all the way down to bedrock. The selected remedy is to insert pillars all the way to bedrock. However, this is difficult and risky, as well as extremely costly. According to engineers and architects, originally building to bedrock would have added only $4 Million to the cost of construction.
Seattle, Washington, March 27, 2020 - The high-rise West Seattle Bridge was closed to all traffic when cracks in the concrete were found to be growing even faster than expected. The final phase of repair work began in July 2021. The bridge is not expected to reopen until July 2022 at the earliest. This means another year of major commuting inconvenience for residents of West Seattle.
Although the cracks are largely blamed on concrete shrinkage (called "creeping"), one engineer said the design could be a problem. Another engineer noted, "Bedrock is pretty far down below silts & glacial outwash in this area.".
Green Bay, Wisconsin, July 1961 - The 1960 season of the Green Bay Packers ended with a loss in the NFL Championship Game. The Packers had a lead going into the 4th quarter, but blew it with errors.
On the first day of the 1961 training camp, head coach Vince Lombardi walked into the classroom and held up a pigskin in one hand. "Gentlemen," he said, "This is a football." Before the team could go on to the finer points, they had to go back to the fundamentals of the game. Every year since, that's how training started with Vince: Work on the fundamentals. It paid off with five championships in seven years.
In Esmond Business, Mike Crandall goes on to say that the same principle works in business and industry. Success begins with the fundamentals, the basics: "If focusing on fundamentals can elevate a great team to such heights, imagine what it can do for your business and life." He added, "If we have not identified the fundamentals - we cannot work on continual improvement of them!"
Columbus, Ohio, April 13, 2016 - In a blog article, American Church Group of Ohio (a branch of Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company) names seven subjects for initial training of church safety team members, then seven more for advanced training. The first item is "Individual roles and responsibilities."
Our special resources this month are the Safety Member Certification program (through the Sheepdog Church Security Training Academy) and Reports and Forms Bundle (a free download). And for law enforcement officers under stress, there is The Cornelius Project.
Safety Member Certification
Safety Team Fundamentals is the first training module in the Sheepdog Church Security Training Academy because it is what everything else is built upon. In it you will learn the basics of church safety & security. This training program (the Academy), which leads to Safety Member Certification, is available in two formats: Safety Member Team Certification and Safety Member Individual Certification. On February 6, 2022, Safety Team Fundamentals will start off the Spring Semester of the live Zoom online Academy.
Reports and Forms Bundle
A fundamental ethic of any ministry, including a Church Safety Ministry, is integrity. Paul expressed this in Romans 12:17b: "Provide things honest in the sight of all men." This is a role of reports and logs, which make us accountable to all.
The Reports and Forms Bundle has templates for three reports and two logs (Incident Report, Follow-Up Report, Suspected Child Maltreatment Report, Patrol Log, and Safe Access Log). It comes free with the Sheepdog Church Security Training Academy, and is also available as a free download. Just click *HERE* to get it.
The Cornelius Project
The Cornelius Project describes itself as BLUE LIFE SUPPORT. Founded by Jimmy Meeks, a minister and a law enforcement veteran, its purpose is to encourage and spiritually uphold law enforcement officers across the nation. Police work has been stressful for a long time, but has been especially so in recent years. The Cornelius Project does this through seven primary methods:
- Missions Trips
Many police officers commit suicide. If you know any who need help, contact The Cornelius Project.
Jimmy Meeks also heads Sheepdog Safety Training.
Church Safety Team Basics
The article "To Keep the Flock Safe and Secure" lists the basic qualifications for the members of a Church Safety Team. We'll go on from there.
The expectations for a Church Safety Team member can be summarized in the Seven Be's:
- Be humble: Honor others above yourself (Phil. 2:3). Remember that we are here to serve.
- Be diligent: Perform all duties completely, correctly, and on time.
- Be an example for others (1 Tim. 4:12).
- Be faithful and loyal.
- Be watchful and alert (1 Pet. 5:8).
- Be wise and careful (Eph. 5:15).
- Be discrete: Keep confidential matters confidential
On every job, paid or volunteer, there are certain priorities to follow. In a Church Safety Ministry these are:
- Spiritual nourishment: Attend church classes and services. Rotate schedules and/or assignments so you can be in the service regularly.
- Family relationships: This means spending time with your family. For Safety Directors, this means you need enough team members so they can each have family time.
- Train: Participate in training, not only classes and studying, but also in drills.
- Serve during services: This is when safety team members are needed. Also, when you take your turn, another member can attend the service or class.
- Serve at large events. Again, take your turn. Don't leave all of the burden on someone else.
There are responsibilities Safety Team members have to keep the church safe.
- Show up. Be there when needed, when scheduled.
- Identify yourself. Your church needs a way that members of the Safety Team (or Medical Response Team) can be identified. The most basic means is identifiable clothing. This can be polo shirts of the same color with the name of the team (such as Life Safety) on it. It can be a name tag, especially if the team wears vests, blazers, or jackets (especially in winter).
- Communicate. Carry a two-way radio with a discrete earpiece. You can keep in touch with the rest of the team. Keep radio talk professional. Learn the codes used by your team.
- Go on patrol. Patrolling is a fundamental means of protection. The patroller watches for anything that's out of place. He/she checks for safety hazards, damage, suspicious activity, etc.
- Watch the cash. Follow procedures designed to protect cash offerings, café payments, etc. from theft. This includes collection, transportation, counting, and depositing/putting in the safe.
- Watch the people. Observe how people look and act. Listen to what they say and how they speak. Watch for indications of weapons, etc.
- Respond when needed. Things happen that need attention. It could be ice or snow on the walkway, someone who's ill, an accident, a developing disruption, a severe weather threat, fire, a leak, a report of abuse, an armed intruder, etc. Learn how to respond so you'll be ready.
- Fill out reports and log entries. Report all incidents. Enter all out-of-the ordinary findings while on patrol in the patrol log. Read the log when you begin your shift.
There is more to learn in Safety Team Fundamentals.
The Prime Fundamental
The prime fundamental for any Christian ministry is a spiritual one. As Paul said in Ephesians 6:12, our principal enemies are spiritual powers. Therefore, our weapons and methods of warfare must be spiritual. This begins with our own personal relationship to God through Jesus Christ and continues through our own spiritual lives.
In his June 8, 2021 blog post, Jimmy Meeks discussed "The 'Weapon' Church Safety Teams Are Not Using (but Need to Start)." He cited the example of Ezra as he brought 5,000 Jews, items for the Temple, and supplies and letters for Persian officials to Jerusalem (Ezra 8:21-32). It was fasting and prayer.
He went on to give examples of when churches, ministries, schools, and police departments were protected from violence. He recommends a morning fast (skipping breakfast) before church on Sunday morning (Sabbath morning for Adventists). Instead of eating, pray for God's guidance and protection. Have others on the team do this too.
The absence of violence is not universal, since God may allow it in some cases for his purposes. Things will work out in His way and in His time. However, it is generally valid, because we are putting our primary reliance on God Himself. We may carry pepper spray and guns as Nehemiah had the wall builders carry swords and spears, but these are effective only as God allows. He is our defense. What we do is to be in cooperation with Him and under his direction.
Learning the basics of Church Safety and practicing them is fundamental to keeping the flock safe.
There Is More
There are three other articles in December: "To Keep the Flock Safe and Secure" (What Is Church Safety and Security?), "Know What You Face" (Assessing Risk), and "The 2009 First Baptist Church of Maryville Shooting" (Lesson Learned).
- Kris Moloney, "Complete Training Program v4," Sheepdog Church Security, © 2020 [https://sheepdog-church-security.thinkific.com/].
- "Millennium Tower (San Francisco)," Wikipedia, accessed November 17, 2021 [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Tower_(San_Francisco)].
- Abigail Sterling and Max Darrow, "Update: Despite Warnings, Repairs on San Francisco's Millennium Tower Caused Additional Sinking," CBS SF Bay Area, October 7, 2021 [https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2021/10/07/update-despite-warnings-repairs-on-san-franciscos-millennium-tower-caused-additional-sinking/].
- Jaxon Van Derbeken, "Original Cost to Build to Bedrock for Tower Like Millennium Put at Just $4 Million," NBC Bay Area, October 29, 2021 [https://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/original-cost-to-build-to-bedrock-for-tower-like-millennium-put-at-just-4-million/2709001/].
- Matt Markovich, "New pictures reveal cracking cement forcing closure of West Seattle Bridge," KOMO News, March 27, 2020 [https://komonews.com/news/local/new-pictures-reveal-cracking-cement-forcing-closure-of-west-seattle-bridge].
- Chris Sullivan, "One year after West Seattle Bridge closure, there's 'a light at the end of the bridge'," KIRO Radio, March 23, 2021 [https://mynorthwest.com/2709146/one-year-after-west-seattle-bridge-closure-theres-a-light-at-the-end-of-the-bridge/].
- Alec Regimbal, "Seattle starts final phase of repairs to W. Seattle Bridge, but don't expect to see crews just yet," Seattle PI, July 2, 2021 [https://www.seattlepi.com/local/seattlenews/article/west-seattle-bridge-repairs-16287667.php].
- Mike Lindblom, "What cracked the West Seattle Bridge? Hidden design problem may have doomed it all along," The Seattle Times, May 11, 2020 [https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/transportation/what-cracked-the-west-seattle-bridge-suspects-include-heavy-traffic-a-jammed-bearing-and-something-called-creep/].
- Mike Crandall, "'Gentlemen, this is a football!'," Esmond Business, February 23, 2021 [https://edmondbusiness.com/2021/02/gentlemen-this-is-a-football/].
- Staff, "Training a Church Safety Team," American Church Group of Ohio, April 13, 2016 [https://www.americanchurchgroup-ohio.com/ministry-resources/blog/training-a-church-safety-team/].
- Kris Moloney, "Safety Member Team Certification," Sheepdog Church Security, © 2020 [https://sheepdog-church-security.thinkific.com/bundles/complete-church-security-training-system].
- Kris Moloney, "Safety Member Individual Certification," Sheepdog Church Security, © 2020 [https://sheepdog-church-security.thinkific.com/bundles/safety-team-complete-training-course].
- Kris Moloney, "Reports and Forms Bundle," Sheepdog Church Security, © 2015 [https://sheepdog-church-security.ck.page/31e9dcb23b].
- The Cornelius Project [https://www.thecorneliusproject.com/].
- Jimmy Meeks, "Resources for police officers," The Cornelius Project [https://www.thecorneliusproject.com/resources].
- Jimmy Meeks, "The 'Weapon' Church Safety Teams Are Not Using (but Need to Start)," Sheepdog Safety Training, June 8, 2021 [https://www.sheepdogsafetytraining.com/].