Propose and Persuade
In the Bible
And David organized them in divisions corresponding to the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari (1 Chronicles 23:6).
And they set the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their divisions, for the service of God at Jerusalem, as it is written in the Book of Moses (Ezra 6:18).
And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work (Nehemiah 2:18).
The Growth of Church Safety Ministries
Since the 2007 shootings at a YWAM training center and the New Life Church in Colorado, churches in North America have been organizing teams of volunteers to protect members and guests during services and events. From a few congregations in 2007, the number of places of worship with safety teams has grown to more than a thousand. These include churches, synagogues, mosques, and at least one Sikh temple. This is in response to an increased number of attacks, including the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, which left 26 victims dead.
Since 2007, security concerns in churches have grown to include protecting children from abuse, fire safety, and medical response. These were all added to the perennial issues of theft and vandalism.
During this time, security activity in places of worship has become more organized, better equipped, and trained. In many churches, promoting safety and security has become a ministry. Insurance providers for religious organizations have had a role in these developments with their concern for risk and liability abatement by encouraging safety ministries to become more effective and less liable. Businesses and organizations (such as Sheepdog Church Security) have come into being to aid churches in organization, practices, equipment, and training.
Steps in Setting up a Safety Ministry
It is easy to envision a simplistic view of setting up a safety ministry in a church: A few concerned church members agree that we should work together "to protect our people from an armed intruder" or "to prevent fires and conduct fire drills" or counter some other threat. So they become the Security Team or the Fire Brigade in that church.
In actuality, becoming an effective group with staying power requires some forethought and preparation. First of all, if a group is working in and for the church and taking on some serious responsibility, they need the understanding, approval, and cooperation of the church itself. Secondly, the group should recognize that it is a ministry, and should learn to operate as such, a part of the church's overall mission. After all, what they do does affect other ministries. Thirdly, the church is a body, and every part of the body is accountable to the whole and to the leadership.
Let's look again at how the simplistic view begins with a safety concern. Take that as the starting point, leading to the first of six steps in setting up a safety ministry:
- Propose the Safety Ministry
- Adopt the Charter
- Write the Charter
- Write Governing Policies
- Adopt the Initial Budget
- Install the Church Safety Committee
- Appoint the Church Safety Director
- Recruit the Safety Team
- Train Safety Ministry Members
1. Propose the Safety Ministry
Proposing a Church Safety Ministry is the subject of the other articles in this series. Some members of the congregation, a few or many, see needs which are best met through an organized ministry. They work together with like-minded individuals to meet a specific need, such as fire safety or medical response.
This group decides to organize a safety ministry for the church. They become a Safety Ministry Organizing Committee, which puts together the blueprint and proposal for the ministry. They seek the advice, support, and approval of the governing board and the congregation.
2. Adopt the Charter
Every ministry in the church should have a charter (the actual term will be different in different places, depending on state incorporation laws for non-profits and/or the preferences of a religious tradition or denominational polity). The church has approved the formation of a safety ministry. Now the Safety Ministry Organizing Committee and the congregation's governing body will draw up the charter.
Write the Charter
What is the charter? A charter (by whatever name) is the document which serves both as the authorization of the ministry as part of the church and as the constitution for the ministry. The blueprint used in proposing the safety ministry has a statement of vision and mission (purpose). This statement should be in the charter. If not already written before approval of the ministry, the charter will now be approved by the church governing board.
Write Governing Policies
The Charter of the Safety Ministry of [your] Church has the governing policies of the ministry. These outline the organization (Safety Committee, Safety Director and Safety Team) and state the qualifications roles, and means of selection of its members. Operational policies may be separate from or part of the charter, depending on your church's bylaws.
Adopt the Initial Budget
Face it. If you are on a shoestring budget, you at least need a shoestring. There are a few items the safety team needs to begin functioning. The first two are application forms and two-way radios. Training is also an early priority, beginning with the Sheepdog Church Security training course "Church Safety and Security Volunteer Academy," and the cost of these programs goes into the budget. Other equipment and supplies will follow, depending on which Safety Ministry programs are in place.
Not all items related to safety and security will be in the Safety Ministry budget. For instance, window and door improvements for access control will be part of the maintenance or building budgets.
3. Install the Church Safety Committee
By this time, you already know who many of the Safety Committees members will be - such as members of the Safety Ministry Organizing Committee. Still, the policies and procedures for nominating and approving committee members should be followed, especially applications, interviews, reference checks, and background checks. Whether the Safety Committee is formally installed in the board room or before the congregation is up to your church.
4. Appoint the Church Safety Director
The first item of business for the Safety Committee is to appoint and install the Safety Director. Since the Director is directly involved in the operation of the Safety Team and has budgetary responsibilities, background checks and reference checking are a must.
5. Recruit the Safety Team
Now you can put the team in place. Obviously, some members of the Organizing Committee will want to be on the team. However, they - like the rest of the team - should go through the application, interview, reference, and background process.
6. Train Safety Ministry Members
Now that you have a Church Safety Team, they need orientation and training. Sheepdog Church Security has several training courses available, both as classroom training and as individual online training. The first course is the Church Safety and Security Volunteer Academy . Besides the Safety Academy, there are six other training courses. These are available both for classes and for individuals. Also available is all the classroom courses bundles together in the Complete Church Security Training System.
Table: Sheepdog Church Security Training Courses
If you do not already have a Safety Ministry in your church and you see the need for one, you and other members who are also concerned can work to start one. From this point, there are steps to follow in establishing the ministry: (1) Propose the Safety Ministry, (2) Adopt the Charter, (3) Install the Church Safety Committee, (4) Appoint the Church Safety Director, (5) Recruit the Safety Team, and (6) Train Safety Ministry Members. This is a general outline, and the steps may have to be adjusted for your church.
There Is More
Other articles in this series are "Sanctuary" (Making the Church a Safe Place), "Blueprint" (Plan for Safety), and "Presentation" (Propose and Persuade).
- Kris Moloney, "Safety Ministry Proposal and Starter Kit," Sheepdog Church Security [https://sheepdog-church-security.thinkific.com/courses/safety-ministry-proposal-and-starter-kit].
- Wikipedia, "2007 Colorado YWAM and New Life shootings," n/d [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Colorado_YWAM_and_New_Life_shootings].
- Mary Pflum, "Guns and God: Growing number of churches want armed security," NBC News, Jan. 27, 2019 [https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/guns-god-growing-number-churches-want-armed-security-n963031].
- Thom S. Rainer, "The New Normal for Church Security," ThomRainer.com, January 8, 2018 [https://thomrainer.com/2018/01/new-normal-church-security/].
- Wikipedia, "Sutherland Springs church shooting," n/d [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutherland_Springs_church_shooting].
- W. Vaughn, "Blueprint: Plan for Safety," Sheepdog Church Security, August 12, 2019 [https://sheepdogchurchsecurity.net/articles/blueprint/].
- W. Vaughn, "Presentation: Propose and Persuade," Sheepdog Church Security, August 19, 2019 [https://sheepdogchurchsecurity.net/articles/presentation/].
- Kris Moloney, "Church Safety and Security Volunteer Academy," Sheepdog Church Security Training Courses: Training Materials [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].
- Kris Moloney, Training Courses, Sheepdog Church Security [https://sheepdog-church-security.thinkific.com/].
- Kris Moloney, Training Courses, Sheepdog Church Security,TrainingBundles [https://sheepdog-church-security.thinkific.com/collections/training-bundles].
- Kris Moloney, Training Courses, Sheepdog Church Security,IndividualTraining [https://sheepdog-church-security.thinkific.com/collections/individual-training].
- Kris Moloney, Training Courses, "Complete Church Security Training System," Sheepdog Church Security [https://sheepdog-church-security.thinkific.com/bundles/complete-church-security-training-system].