Security Team Fundamentals
In the Bible
Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel ... and to teach them ... (Daniel 1:3-4).
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).
Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them (Psalm 111:2).
Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance (Proverbs 1:5).
I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me (Psalm 119:102).
Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths (Psalm 25:4).
A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher (Luke 6:40).
The Object Lesson
The Super Bowl trophy bears the name of Vince Lombardi, the winningest coach in the NFL. He has a .750 career average and is very quotable. Lombardi’s best-known quote is from 1961. He started his third training camp with the Green Bay Packers by holding up a pigskin and saying, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” This statement is widely quoted to emphasize, as Lombardi did, the importance of the basics, the fundamentals. Not surprisingly, the first and basic Sheepdog Church Security training course is Security Team Fundamentals v4.
In the News
Troy, Alabama, February 29, 2020 - The police chief of the City of Troy reviewed videos of the White Settlement church shooting. He was concerned about what responding law enforcement officers would find as they arrived. People were leaving the building, and several congregants had drawn their guns. The Chief said, "Officers are going in not knowing who's the good guy, who's the bad guy."
The chief and the police chiefs of the local university and a nearby town set up an active shooter response training course for churches.
Henrico County, Virginia - The Henrico County Police Department has posted a PDF titled Church Safety and Security. The areas it covers are Getting Started, Having a Plan, Forming a Team, and Understanding Active Shooter and Violence. Throughout the document, they outline several fundamentals in starting and operating a church safety ministry.
New Jersey, 2017 - In Circuit, a magazine for security & protection specialists, Dr. Andrew P Surace wrote "Church Security: The New Frontier," a two-part article which outlines several fundamentals for making the church a safe place.
Krugerville, Texas, 2020 - Church volunteers are being trained by NOCSSM in responding to active shooters. Other, more fundamental, aspects of church safety & security are also involved, but the shootings in Sutherland Springs and White Settlement have spurred interest in the training.
Dallas, Texas, January 3, 2020 - An interview by Hady Mawajdeh with places-of-worship security experts Jimmy Meeks, David Riggall, and Brad Orsini, originating from radio station KERA in Dallas, aired on NPR's Morning Edition. They emphasized a "layered approach" to church security, which includes training in prevention, detection, and response. The immediate concern was defense against armed assailants - this was right after the White Settlement church shooting - and the response included medical attention. However, a layered response applies generally in all areas of church safety, including fire safety, child protection, medical emergencies, severe weather readiness, and theft prevention.
Learning the Fundamentals
Learning the fundamentals is fundamental to almost every organization:
- When a person enlists in the military, their first assignment is Boot Camp.
- A new player in a professional sport goes to Rookie Camp, and each year after that starts with Training Camp. The fundamentals of that sport are emphasized in Rookie Camp and reinforced in Training Camp.
- Most colleges and universities have an Orientation Week for first-time students. They learn the fundamentals of higher education in general and the institution in particular.
- New employees in a company have an orientation to introduce them to the company and its operations, procedures, and expectations. If this is a new company, the orientation is for everybody.
Fundamentals in Church Security
It is the same for a Church Safety Ministry. In starting the ministry, we get to the point where we have these people willing to serve. They may have backgrounds in law enforcement, the military, or security. They may be firefighters, educators or medical professionals. They may be lawyers. They might not have experience in any of the above fields. It is obvious the last group needs to learn the basics of safety and security. However, all need the fundamentals of church safety & security.
First of all, this is a ministry, not just a security service or a medical response unit. The goal of a Church Safety Ministry, besides protecting the Flock and the assets of God's place, is enabling the church's other ministries to operate effectively without disruption.
Additionally, as deacons (those whose work in the church is hands-on service), they - like the first deacons in Acts 6 - also have a role in encouraging, guiding, and teaching. If, like some congregations, the safety ministry includes the greeters, this part of the role is more visible.
There are also special considerations for promoting safety and security in a place of worship. Some of these are legal. The laws of different states address church security in different ways. This means that, no matter what your experience is, you need to know how this works out in the setting of a church or other religious institution. One example is Texas and how changes in its laws impact volunteer safety teams in churches. Just compare Sutherland Springs in 2017 to White Settlement in 2019.
Liability is a serious issue for churches. While a Church Safety Ministry plays a role in limiting liability, it can also be a liability risk if something is not done properly.
The Church Safety & Security version of Boot Camp is the SDCS training course Security Team Fundamentals v4: "This Training Bundle contains everything you need to teach this course. It contains downloadable files which include the unlocked PowerPoint presentation and Instructor Guide. You also get access to the online course's Streaming Video."
The training materials in this packet are intended for classroom training, which makes it ideal for instructing the entire starting group of Church Safety Ministry members, whether they are on the Church Safety Committee or the Church Safety Team (including, of course, the Church Safety Director). Classroom training has the advantage of interpersonal interaction and questions & answers with the instructor. This makes it ideal for a new team.
The online course is individual training intended for new recruits joining an established team, those who cannot attend a class, and as a refresher course.
What Are the Fundamentals?
Briefly, the fundamental of church safety in the Security Team Fundamentals training course are:
- Why Churches Need Security Teams,
- Getting the Safety Team Up & Running,
- Selecting & Training the Safety Team,
- Safety Team Operations, and
- Reports and Forms.
A few of the topics covered are
- Organization and Duties of the Safety Team
- Working with Other Ministries
- Qualifications for Membership on the Safety Team
- Application, References and Background Check
- Discipline and Dismissal
- Introducing Safety Team Members to the Church
- Team Membership and Communication
- Creating Procedure Manuals
- Emergency Response Plans
- Staffing and Scheduling
- Safety Equipment
- Medical Equipment
- Other Equipment
Obviously, some of these topics apply to the Safety Ministry leadership, but it pays for everyone to know what this entails. Some of these topics will be covered in more detail in other articles.
"Brothers and sisters, this is Church Safety & Security." When it comes to protecting the church and the flock, remember the fundamentals.
There Is More
In this five-part series, the other four articles are "See the Need" (Why start a Safety Ministry?), "Of a Like Mind" (Bringing a Team Together), "The First Moves" (Get Easy Wins), and "How Secure Are We?" (Conduct a Church Security Assessment).
- Kris Moloney, "Practical Steps to Start a Safety Ministry and a DIY Security Assessment," Sheepdog Church Security, © 2019 [https://sheepdog-church-security.ck.page/9c5f2d32cc].
- Kris Moloney," Practical Steps to Start a Safety Ministry," Sheepdog Church Security, May 9, 2019 [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pDaoe-wV0w].
- Kris Moloney and Malene Little, "Security Team Fundamentals v4," Sheepdog Church Security Courses, Training Bundles for Classes [https://sheepdog-church-security.thinkific.com/courses/church-safety-and-security-volunteer-academy-training-bundle].
- Jake Bleiberg and Jamie Stengle, "Firearms instructor took out gunman at Texas church service," Associated Press, December 30, 2019 [https://apnews.com/de8a2aebc6d95b9131a08975a5d881f9].
- Jacob Holmes, "SAFETY SUMMIT: Law enforcement to host training for church security teams Feb. 29," The Troy Messenger, February 5, 2020 [https://www.troymessenger.com/2020/02/05/safety-summit-law-enforcement-to-host-training-for-church-security-teams-feb-29/].
- Police Department, "Church Safety and Security," Henrico County, Virginia, undated [https://henrico.us/assets/Police_Church_Security-Steps-to-Prevention-sm-2.pdf].
- Andrew P Surace, "Church Security: The New Frontier," Circuit, about 2017, Part 1 [https://circuit-magazine.com/church-security/], Part 2 [https://circuit-magazine.com/church-security-the-new-frontier-part-2/].
- Stacy Fernández, "Meet the Texas-based church security business training worshippers to fight back in mass shootings," The Texas Tribune, January 21, 2020 [https://www.texastribune.org/2020/01/21/texas-churches-arming-volunteer-security-after-white-settlement/].
- Steve Inskeep (Host of Morning Edition) and Hady Mawajdeh (Interviewer at KERA Radio), "Experts Encourage Layered Approach To Church Security Protocols," National Public Radio, January 3, 2020 [https://www.npr.org/2020/01/03/793257393/experts-encourage-layered-approach-to-church-security-protocols].
- W. Vaughn, "Are You Covered?" Sheepdog Church Security, Articles, July 27, 2020 [https://sheepdogchurchsecurity.net/church-security-articles/].
- Kris Moloney, "Are You Covered?" Sheepdog Church Security, Videocasts, July 27, 2020 [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldW-owHz-GY].
- Kris Moloney and Malene Little, "Security Team Fundamentals v4," Sheepdog Church Security Courses, Individual Online Training [https://sheepdog-church-security.thinkific.com/courses/church-safety-and-security-volunteer-academy].