Equip to Serve – December 2019
In the Bible
For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel (Ezra 7:10).
“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning" (Luke 12:35).
Then he hurried to take the bandage away from his eyes, and the king of Israel recognized him as one of the prophets (1 Kings 20:41).
In the News
Concerns about Security Guard Training - A 2015 Stateline article from the Pew Charitable Trusts reported that in many states security guards were barely trained and poorly supervised. This was in addition to lax screening of applicants.
Is Personal Body Armor Effective? - In a PoliceOne article, Joel Shults, former Colorado Chief of Police, cites studies showing how law enforcement officers' lives have been saved by wearing body armor. This is true not only for armed attacks, but for vehicle crashes as well. Advances in materials and design have made body armor lighter, less bulky, and more comfortable, while still effective for most situations.
A Tragic Case of Mistaken Identity - A shooter at a bar outside of Chicago was stopped and pinned down by a security guard. Police officers from a nearby town responded. One of the officers, mistaking the guard for the shooter, shot and killed him. According to the state police, the guard, who was wearing "plain black clothing," did not have any observable "markings readily identifying him as a Security Guard." He was holding a gun on the suspect.
Equipping the Mind
The Apostle Paul told Timothy, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved …" (2 Tim. 2:15 ESV). "Do your best" is also rendered "Be diligent" (NASB and NKJV) and "Study" (KJV). In the Old Testament, Ezra set an example of studying (Ezra 7:10). Then in Romans 12:2, Paul says that we are to "be transformed by the renewal of your mind" (emphasis mine).
If we are to be and do our best as members of a Church Safety Ministry, we must know what we are to do and how. This knowledge should also inform ourattitudes. This means we are to listen, read, and study to equip our minds for safety & security. Sheepdog Church Security (SDCS) has several training courses. SDCS also urges us to get local training for medical response skills and self-defense.
Books on Church Safety & Security
There is more from Sheepdog Church Security. Kris Moloney has written two books, Defending the Flock: A Security Guide for Church Safety Directors and Active Shooter Mitigation: A Training Guide for Houses of Worship. A book on Child Protection is in the works. These books cover the subjects of related training courses in more depth. They are available in the Sheepdog Church Security Store on Amazon. More books will be made available as they are published.
Pending the writing and release of more books by Kris, we can look up and use other resources on areas of church safety. Some of these topics are verbal de-escalation, child protection, arson prevention, fire safety, self-defense, use-of-force laws, preparing for and responding to severe weather, and lifesaving methods. There are many articles online on these subjects, but there are also books available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Christian Books Distributor (CBD). Here is a short list of available books on Amazon and CBD (this is not a promotion of specific books, but examples of what's available):
- To Sleep with the Angels: The Story of a Fire, by David Cowan and John Kuenster
- Fire Safety Log Book, by Crown Journals (Author)
- Words of Power: A Guide for Ordinary People to Calm and De-Escalate Aggressive Individuals, by Ellis Amdur
- Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion, Updated Edition, by George J. Thompson and Jerry B. Jenkins
- Child Protection in the Church by Roger Hitchings, Paul E. Brown, et al.
- Safe Kids: Policies and Procedures for Protecting Children in the Church (Lifestream Resources) by Blake Caldwell
- Preventing Child Abuse: Creating a Safe Place, Edition 0004Revised, by Beth Swagman
Laws Applying to Church Safety & Security
Church Safety may involve confrontations and physical defense as we protect the flock. In some states, this also involves registration, licensing, training, and certification of volunteer safety and security team members. This is where we have to pay close attention not only to Federal laws and regulations, but more especially to state and local laws. Since these differ from state-to-state and locality-to-locality, we cannot simply go on what they are in other states or local jurisdictions, but on what they are in our own state and local jurisdiction. These laws cover citizen's arrest, use of force, and carrying and use of lethal and less-than-lethal weapons (especially firearms). States also have laws relating to child protection, including reporting of child abuse.
If you are on the Church Safety Committee or the board responsible for the church's property, it is important to know what the building codes (especially fire codes) are for your area.
Most resources on this topic will be found online. It is important to find up-to-date information, because you are subject to the law as it is now. Every year or so, laws change in one or more states, or their application has been refined by court decisions. These web pages will give you a view into laws relating to firearms and the use of force:
- Church Law & Tax: Q&A: Gun Laws and Church Security - Answers to questions about church security and firearms laws.
- U.S. & Texas LawShield: Defending Your Flock - This tells how firearms laws apply to places of worship in the featured state.
- NBCDFW: Texas law and firearms in churches - This news article from a Dallas area TV station gives the intent of legislators in changes to Texas law relating to the carrying of firearms in places of worship.
As members of a Christian ministry it is vital to equip ourselves spiritually. One of the qualifications for Safety Team members is that one be a member and a regular attendee of the church. The first Team Priority is "Attend church services."
This is more than just being a church regular or member and attending services. It is important to have one's own personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It is also important to be growing in faith. There are resources available to equip you spiritually. The most important one is your Bible.
It also helps to have help in understanding the Bible. One resource is study Bibles with comments, explanations, and room to make your own notes. CBD has several study Bibles for sale.
Very important in spiritual equipping are private and family devotions and prayer.
Dress to Serve
Jesus told His disciples, "Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning" (Luke 12:35). Part of our equipment for our work on a Church Safety Team is what we wear. Paul was referring to spiritual conflict when he said, "Put on the whole armor of God" (Ephesians 6:11ff), but some of the items named apply to what we put on as Guardians of the Flock. Three of these items are belt, shoes, and body armor. To these we add identification.
For a Roman soldier in Paul's day, the belt held his sword and a few other items. It was also a wide belt, which may have served as a back brace. For the Safety Team member, a belt (other than the one holding pants) can hold the radio, CPR mask, sterile gloves, pepper spray, and (if armed) the firearm. The belt must be sturdy enough to hold these items and wide enough to not twist.
Since we are not wearing shoes issued by the military or a security agency, we choose our own. There are three important considerations. First, they must have good traction. Leather soles (as on dress shoes) are notorious for being slick. Neoprene soles have good traction and are oil-resistant and puncture-resistant. Some sellers have dress shoes with safety soles. Second, they should be closed shoes which protect the feet from falling objects (such as a knife or screwdriver). Third, they need to be comfortable with good support for your arch. Size them correctly according the length of your arch.
Metal breastplates or leather ones with embedded metal scales are not what we now wear. However, thanks to Kevlar, lightweight body armor is now available. This tougher version of nylon can resist bullets and knives. It can be worn beneath other clothing, making it inconspicuous. Although the chances of an active killer incident are slim, body armor can protect you in a spontaneous violent incident involving a firearm, knife, or other object. According to Joel Shults (in the news article above), it works. Body armor is available on Amazon and other retail sites.
As members of the Safety Team, we need some kind of identification. This can be on our clothing if we are visible members. Unmarked members need some identification which they can put on or show when needed so those they are helping or confronting know their status.
The third news story above showed the importance of being immediately and conspicuously identifiable to law enforcement officers responding to a reported shooting. The guard near Chicago did not wear conspicuous identification. When police arrived at the church in Antioch, Tennessee, they found the usher holding the suspect at gunpoint. Fortunately someone said the shooter was on the floor.
DSM Safety Products has safety banners to identify various responders in an incident so police can know they are not the attackers (DSM means "Do Not Shoot"). One says, "SECURITY." For members of a Medical Response Team, they have one which says, "MEDICAL." The banner is in a belt pouch. We do not want to be casualties of mistaken identity.
We study and put on the right apparel to help us serve better and keep all of us safer.
There is More
There are three other articles in this series: Equip for Medical Response, Equip to Communicate and to Rescue, and Equip to Defend.
- Sheepdog Church Security Store on Amazon [https://www.amazon.com/shop/instructor_moloney].
- Jenni Bergal, "In Many States, Security Guards Get Scant Training, Oversight," The Pew Charitable Trusts, November 10, 2015 [https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2015/11/10/in-many-states-security-guards-get-scant-training-oversight].
- Joel F. Shults, "How body armor saves lives: Interpreting LEOKA data," PoliceOne, February 25, 2019 [https://www.policeone.com/police-products/body-armor/articles/how-body-armor-saves-lives-interpreting-leoka-data-QLGIE322RRNlGwVi/].
- Emily Sullivan, "Police Fatally Shoot Black Security Guard Who Detained Shooting Suspect," NPR, November 13, 2018 [https://www.npr.org/2018/11/13/667252788/police-fatally-shoot-black-security-guard-who-detained-suspected-shooter].
- Kris Moloney, Defending the Flock: A Security Guide for Church Safety Directors, Sheepdog Church Security [https://www.amazon.com/dp/1981674772/?cv_ct_id=amzn1.idea.1ERD68BB0JGWR&cv_ct_pg=storefront&cv_ct_wn=aip-storefront&ref=exp_cov_instructor_moloney_dp_vv_d].
- Kris Moloney, Active Shooter Mitigation: A Training Guide for Houses of Worship, Sheepdog Church Security [https://www.amazon.com/dp/1791373488/?cv_ct_id=amzn1.idea.1ERD68BB0JGWR&cv_ct_pg=storefront&cv_ct_wn=aip-storefront&ref=exp_cov_instructor_moloney_dp_vv_d].
- To Sleep with the Angels: The Story of a Fire, by David Cowan and John Kuenster, Ivan R. Dee, Publisher, Chicago [https://www.amazon.com/Sleep-Angels-Story-Fire/dp/156663217X/].
- Fire Safety Log Book, by Crown Journals (Author), Independently published (May 16, 2019) [https://www.amazon.com/Fire-Safety-Log-Book-Prevention/dp/1098890361/].
- Words of Power: A Guide for Ordinary People to Calm and De-Escalate Aggressive Individuals, by Ellis Amdur, produced by booknook.biz [https://www.amazon.com/Words-Power-Escalate-Aggressive-Individuals-ebook/dp/B07C87YBWN/].
- Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion, Updated Edition, by George J. Thompson and Jerry B. Jenkins, Harper Collins Publishers [https://www.amazon.com/Verbal-Judo-Gentle-Persuasion-Updated/dp/0062107704/].
- Child Protection in the Church by Roger Hitchings, Paul E. Brown, et al., FIEC Publisher [https://www.amazon.com/Child-Protection-Church-Roger-Hitchings/dp/0953825019/].
- Safe Kids: Policies and Procedures for Protecting Children in the Church (Lifestream Resources) by Blake Caldwell, Beacon Hill Press, Kansas City [https://www.amazon.com/Safe-Kids-Procedures-Protecting-Lifestream/dp/0834120852/].
- Preventing Child Abuse: Creating a Safe Place, Edition 0004Revised, by Beth Swagman, Faith Alive Christian Resources [https://www.christianbook.com/preventing-abuse-creating-place-edition-0004revised/beth-swagman/9781592554171/pd/554171?event=ESRCG#CBD-PD-Publisher-Description].
- Church Law & Tax: Q&A: Gun Laws and Church Security [https://www.churchlawandtax.com/web/2016/june/qa-gun-laws-and-church-security.html].
- U.S. & Texas LawShield: Defending Your Flock | Georgia [https://www.uslawshield.com/defending-your-flock-georgia/].
- NBCDFW: Texas law and firearms in churches [https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/politics/DFW-Texas-Lawmakers-Want-to-Make-Clear-Guns-Allowed-in-Churches-509354541.html].
- Kris Moloney, "Church Safety and Security Volunteer Academy," Sheepdog Church Security Training Courses, Training Bundle (Classroom) [https://sheepdog-church-security.thinkific.com/courses/church-safety-and-security-volunteer-academy-training-bundle]; Individual (Online) Training [https://sheepdog-church-security.thinkific.com/courses/church-safety-and-security-volunteer-academy].
- Christian Book Distributors: Study Bibles [https://www.christianbook.com/page/bibles/study-bibles?navcat=Bibles|Study-Bibles].
- DSM Safety Products, Safety Banner [http://www.dsmsafety.com/security.html].