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Learning and Wearing

Reading Resources and Apparel for Church Safety Teams

Knight in Armor

An article in the Sheepdog Church Security series on Gear, Guns, and Weapons Qualification

In the Bible

... Ezra the priest, the scribe, a man learned in matters of the commandments of the Lord and his statutes for Israel (Ezra 7:11).

When you come, bring ... the books ... (2 Timothy 4:13).

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:11).

In the News

On Amazon - Amazon has about 2½ dozen books on church security. The first one listedis Defending the Flock by Kris Moloney.[1] Another listed book by Kris is Active Shooter Mitigation: A Training Guide for Houses of Worship.[2] Also on the list is Evil Invades Sanctuary by Carl Chinn.[3]

Robbins, Illinois. November 11, 2018 - A group of drunken men were asked by security guards to leave a bar. One returned with a gun and began shooting. One of the guards pushed him outside, pinned him down, and held a gun on him. One of the responding police officers shot and killed the security guard. He had "SECURITY" on his black tee shirt, but in small letters and not where the police officer could see it.[4][5]

The Armor of God and Church Safety & Security

The Apostle Paul urged his readers to "Put on the whole armor of God. "He then named several pieces of armor and one weapon:

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:13-17).

Here are the items of armor and their equivalents in a Church Safety Ministry:


-Security belt


-Body armor, vest


-Safety shoes


-Portable protection, identification (the shield bore the emblem of the nation/empire)


-Head protection. Figuratively, learning what we need to know


-Weapons, both lethal and less lethal

We'll cover these, but in an order according to Church Security functions.


Helmets have been used for thousands of years to protect soldiers' heads. We do not expect to use physical helmets in church safety & security work, but we do need to condition our minds. First, members of a Church Security Team must take the Sheepdog Church Security training courses[6]: Security Team Fundamentals, Protecting Children from Abuse, Arson Prevention and Fire Drills for Churches, Severe Weather and Natural Disasters, Dealing with Disruptive Persons using Verbal Deescalation, Protecting Yourself and the Church with Use of Force Laws, and Active Shooter Response. All of these are available together in one bundle, Safety Member Certification.[7]

Besides the courses, there are books on Church Safety and Security, such as Defending the Flock[1] and Active Shooter Mitigation: A Training Guide for Houses of Worship[2] by Kris Moloney, and Evil Invades Sanctuary by Carl Chinn.[3]

On the spiritual side, we need to fill our minds and hearts with God's Word, just as David said, "I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you" (Psalm 119:11).


The Roman soldier usually wore a coat of mail. High-ranking officers and the emperor wore a solid metal breastplate. This protected against slices by swords. A stabbing sword thrust could go partially into chain mail, but an arrow or spear could completely penetrate. It is thus notable that Paul named the breastplate, and not the chain mail.

The modern equivalent to a breastplate is a Kevlar safety vest. Once bulky, there are now lightweight versions which can be worn under ordinary clothing, almost undetectable. You may or may not want to wear a Kevlar vest.

However, Paul calls this piece of our armor "the breastplate of righteousness." This makes it an item of character armor, namely integrity, which exempts us from honest accusations and is a defense against false ones.


A Roman soldier wore two belts. The one around his waist held his dagger and other items, such as a money pouch, a pouch of parched grain, and a skin water bottle. This belt also bound his tunic and his chain mail armor. The belt that held his sword crossed his chest and back, going over his right shoulder (the sword hung on the left side).

For Church Safety Team members, the security belt is a tool belt. This is not the same belt used for the pants. It holds the two-way radio, the mobile phone, and other tools of the profession, such as a pouch of nitrile gloves, a CPR mask, pepper spray and/or stun gun/Taser, knife, handgun (if open-carry) and other items kept handy.


Shoes are often the last safety item considered. However, good footwear is essential. First, we need good traction, no matter the surface we are on. Then we need reasonable protection for our feet. Many workplaces specify shoes which protect against falling objects, especially sharp ones. A Safety Team member should have shoes which will protect his or her feet from broken glass, loose nails, and other incidental hazards. These shoes should also be appropriate for the season. This is especially true in winter, when you want to keep your feet warm if you have to go outside in an emergency.


The shield protected the soldier from all kinds of projectiles. Most were covered with leather, which is not easily ignitable. This blunted the threat of flaming arrows. Police may use shields when controlling riots, but we do not expect to use then in protecting the church.

On the other hand, the emblem of the empire and the army division was painted on the shield. This identified the soldier as to which army he belonged. We need some kind of identification as Church Safety Team members. This is usually lettering on the shirt or jacket or a name tag which also specifies our role.

However, in an incident requiring police response, if there are any weapons used, we do not want the police mistaking us for offenders. The security guard in Rollins, Illinois, was shot because his identification was not immediately apparent to the responding police officer. They were responding to the report of a shooting, and they saw the guard holding a gun.[4]

Fortunately, there is a solution. We do not have to wear a regular uniform to be identified as security during a violent incident. DSM Safety Products sells safety banners for many first responder roles with the goal of preventing friendly fire casualties. These safety banners have bold letters spelling out the user's role. For us it would be "SECURITY"[8] or (for those on a medical response team) "MEDICAL."[9] These "Don't Shoot Me" banners come in 3½" belt pouches and can be put on quickly.

Security banner
Security banner
Medical banner
Medical banner


Our "swords" are weapons, both lethal and non-lethal. These are covered in another article. However, Paul says our sword in spiritual warfare is the Word of God - the Bible. Studying the Bible and applying its teachings in our lives equips us to deal with situations we face, both in the church and in our daily lives. As Safety Team members in churches, we need this spiritual equipping in our lives.


"The whole armor" we put on for a Church Safety Ministry is not only what we wear and carry, but also how we equip our minds and our souls.

There Is More

There are three more articles in this series on Gear, Guns, and Weapons Qualification: "What's on Hand?" (Tools and Supplies), "Get the Message" (Equipped for Communicating), and "On the Defense" (Weapons, Qualification, and Certification).


  1. Kris Moloney and Malene Little, Defending the Flock (ISBN: 978-1981674770), Sheepdog Church Security, Copyright 2017 [].
  2. Kris Moloney and Malene Little, Active Shooter Mitigation: A Training Guide for Houses of Worship (ISBN: 9781791373481), Sheepdog Church Security, Copyright 2018 [].
  3. 3. Carl Chinn, Evil Invades Sanctuary, 1st Edition (ISBN-13: 978-0615657882, ISBN-10: 0615657885 ), Snowfall Press, Copyright 2012 [].
  4. Matthew Walberg. "What's known — and not known — about the police shooting of security guard Jemel Roberson," Chicago Tribune, November 15, 2018 [].
  5. Wikipedia, "Shooting of Jemel Roberson," [].
  6. Kris Moloney and Malene Little, Sheepdog Church Security Training Courses [].
  7. Kris Moloney and Malene Little, "Safety Member Certification" Sheepdog Church Security Training Courses [].
  8. Security Banner, DSM Safety Products [].
  9. Medical Banner, DSM Safety Products [].