Learning about Safety and Security
An article in the series Equipping for Safety.
In the Bible
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).
To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight (Proverbs 1:2).
Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance (Proverbs 1:5).
I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules (Psalm 119:7).
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me (Matthew 11:29).
Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause Isaiah 1:17).
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).
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).
In the News
Arlington and Prince William County, Virginia, November 2017 - Churches in Northern Virginia were continuing training in safety and security following the Sutherland, Texas, church massacre. As an example, parishes in the Roman Catholic diocese have been training both staff and volunteers, from greeters to altar attendants, on how to watch for indicators of a developing attack and how to respond. The shooting in Texas reinforced their resolve to protect the flocks.
Nationally, November 8, 2017 - Ed Stetzer, writing in Christianity Today, says that keeping churches safe amid current violence requires training. While large churches, including mega-churches, have the resources for professional security teams, smaller churches must train volunteers. Beyond initial classes, this includes ongoing training.
Houston, Texas, January 2020 - Leaders of places of worship - not only in Texas, but across the nation - are searching for training in safety for their volunteers. Part of the concern stems from various states changing laws to allow guns in churches, creating a need for firearms training.
Nashville, Tennessee, January 8, 2018 - Thom S. Rainer, the founder of Church Answers, wrote about the "New Normal for Church Security." This is based upon surveys of churches and church leaders. Basically, the new normal is greater concern for church security, including acceptance of armed persons on volunteer safety & security teams, even though a vocal minority continues expressing their opposition. One of his findings is, "Churches are commonly offering security training sessions to their members."
Meriden, Connecticut, January 2020 - The Episcopal Church in Connecticut has established Safe Church Training for both ordained and lay clergy in the diocese. The focus of this training is preventing and dealing with abuse in the church, whether against children, youth, adults, counselees, or seniors. These programs are offered not only in Connecticut, but by others Episcopal dioceses in the United States.
Kansas City, Kansas, April 13, 2016 - If your church has a safety team, American Church Group of Kansas stresses the importance of training. This includes both initial and ongoing training. The topics they list cover most of those in courses offered by Sheepdog Church Security.
Special Resource for Equipping
We have a special gift of safety for your church. Equip your Church Safety Ministry for the work. December's special resource is Recommended Essential Equipment. To get it click *HERE*.
Mental Equipping for Sheepdogs
When most people consider equipping, they think of physical items. For safety and security, this would be locks and keys, cameras, lights, radios, restraint devices, and defensive tools. But, like driving, we also need mental equipment. Would you put someone behind the wheel of a car without first teaching them how to drive? Those charged with protecting the flock need to be mentally equipped for the job, trained and conditioned.
Resources for Equipping the Mind
There are several resources available to equip our minds for church safety and security. These include books, online resources, training courses, and onsite instructors.
There are many books about church safety and security. For instance, more than 40 are listed on Amazon under the category of Books. Two of these are by Kris Moloney, the founder of Sheepdog Church Security. Defending the Flock: A Security Guide for Church Safety Directors is the first one on Amazon's list. The 5th book on the list is Active Shooter Mitigation: A Training Guide for Houses of Worship. Another recommended book, Evil Invades Sanctuary by Carl Chinn, presents the case for purposeful security in churches and other places of worship and religious institutions.
As with books, there are many online resources for church safety and security. Many webpages are by insurance companies serving churches. Several sites are by church safety & security organizations. Some are for profit, extensions of firms generally in the business of providing security and/or self-defense training.
Sheepdog Church Security (SDCS) began in a church when Kris Moloney organized a safety team, using his experience with Military Police in the U.S. Army and with a local police department. The mission of Sheepdog Church Security is to mentally equip those in a Church Safety Ministry. This includes the Church Safety Committee, the Safety Director, and Safety Team members. The content of this website begins with the Church Security Guide, which includes nine chapters about Church Safety and Security. The SDCS site also has a News tab with weekly articles, podcasts, and videocasts. It provides information, inspiration, and instigation for the work. Not only that, SDCS has an Amazon store with some of the items recommended for a Safety Ministry.
A helpful website started by Carl Chinn has information about violent threats to religious organizations (including churches). It is Faith Based Security Network.
Sheepdog Church Security also has training courses. Each course is available both in-class and online. The in-class formats have PowerPoint presentations, an instructor's guide, and printable materials. Also included is a package with all the courses. The online versions are for individual training.
Depending on where your church is located, a Sheepdog Church Security onsite instructor may be available. So far there are onsite instructors in five states: Arkansas, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Wisconsin. According to SDCS, "Our Certified Instructors are Independent Training Providers who have many years of experience and each have successfully passed our Instructor Certification Test."
Spiritually Equipping the Mind
As Christians, the most important equipping of the mind is spiritual equipping. Paul told us to "be transformed by the renewal of your mind" (Romans 12:2). The most important resources for this are first, the Bible, then study guides, classes, and sharing our spiritual journey with like-minded others.
While we are equipping ourselves and the Church Safety Ministry for protecting the flock, the most important equipping is of the mind.
There Is More
Other articles in this month's series of Equipping for Safety are "Safety for the Holidays" (Staying Safe and Healthy through the Holiday Season), "Equipping the Hands" (Tools for Safety), "Equipping to Treat the Hurting" (Tools and Supplies for Medical Response), and "Equipping to Protect" (Defensive Devices).
- Cheryl Conner, "Local places of worship continue safety training sessions following deadly church attacks," WJLA, November 6, 2017 [https://wjla.com/news/local/local-places-of-worship-plan-safety-training-sessions-following-deadly-church-attacks].
- Ed Stetzer, "Church Security: How Do We Keep Our Churches Safe in a World Where Evil Is Present?" Christianity Today, November 8, 2017 [https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/november/church-security-how-do-we-keep-our-people-safe-in-world-whe.html].
- Andrea Zelinski, Allie Morris, and Dylan McGuiness, "‘The tension is real.' Religious leaders seek out safety training," Houston Chronicle, January 4, 2020 [https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/texas/article/The-tension-is-real-Religious-leaders-seek-14948858.php].
- Thom S. Rainer, "The New Normal for Church Security," Church Answers, January 8, 2018 [https://churchanswers.com/blog/new-normal-church-security/].
- Staff, "Comprehensive (Basic) Safe Church Training," Episcopal Church in Connecticut, January 2020 [https://www.episcopalct.org/Find-Resources/General-Parish-Operations/Safe-Church-Resources/Safe-Church-Training-Schedule/].
- Anon, "Training a Church Safety Team," American Church Group of Kansas, April 13, 2016 [https://www.americanchurchgroup-kansas.com/ministry-resources/blog/training-a-church-safety-team/].
- Kris Moloney, "Recommended Essential Equipment," Sheepdog Church Security [https://sheepdog-church-security.ck.page/8ad20a0b70].
- Amazon, Books, "Church Security" [https://www.amazon.com/s?k=church+security&i=stripbooks&qid=1605754183&ref=sr_pg_1].
- Kris Moloney, Defending the Flock: A Security Guide for Church Safety Directors, Sheepdog Church Security, © 2017 [https://www.amazon.com/dp/1981674772/?ref=exp_instructor_moloney_dp_vv_d].
- Kris Moloney, Active Shooter Mitigation: A Training Guide for Houses of Worship, Sheepdog Church Security, © 2018 [https://www.amazon.com/dp/1791373488/?ref=exp_instructor_moloney_dp_vv_d].
- Carl Chinn, Evil Invades Sanctuary, © 2012 [https://www.amazon.com/Evil-Invades-Sanctuary-Carl-Chinn/dp/0615657885/ref=sr_1_2?].
- Church Security Guide, Sheepdog Church Security [https://sheepdogchurchsecurity.net/church-security-guide/].
- "Articles," News, Sheepdog Church Security [https://sheepdogchurchsecurity.net/church-security-articles/].
- Kris Moloney, Church Security Roll Call (podcasts) [https://soundcloud.com/churchsecurityrollcall].
- Kris Moloney, Church Security Roll Call (videocasts) [https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTrrcSlOn6zG1ySOHYzQkdQ].
- Sheepdog Church Security: Recommended Equipment for Safety Ministries, Amazon [https://www.amazon.com/shop/instructor_moloney].
- Faith Based Security Network [https://fbsnamerica.com/].
- Kris Moloney, Sheepdog Church Security Training Courses [https://sheepdog-church-security.thinkific.com/].
- Kris Moloney, Sheepdog Church Security Training Courses, Instructor Bundles [https://sheepdog-church-security.thinkific.com/collections/training-bundles].
- Kris Moloney, Sheepdog Church Security Training Courses, Individual Training [https://sheepdog-church-security.thinkific.com/collections/individual-training].
- Certified Onsite Instructors, Sheepdog Church Security [https://sheepdogchurchsecurity.net/onsite-instructors].