Propose and Persuade
In the Bible
With patience a ruler may be persuaded ... (Proverbs 25:15).
This advice pleased the king and the princes, and the king did as Memucan proposed (Esther 1:21).
News and Reports
Reveille United Methodist Church, Richmond, Virginia - A "gift task force" presented a proposal to the Church Council in its monthly meeting in April 2018. They proposed a partnership with the Richmond City Schools' Community in Schools (CIS) program.
Concern for Safety
If anyone wants something done about safety or security in your church, it is because they have at least one safety concern. We may see the need for a team, but other people attending the church or working there have specific concerns. A few of the more common concerns are fire safety, child safety, medical emergencies, vandalism and burglary, disruptive behaviors, and armed attacks. The ad hoc approach (which generates more support) is to address a top safety or security concern before proposing an organized ministry.
A Case in Point
In some cases, the concern is raised in response to events at the church. Let's take one example. A church in a small Ohio city experienced two break-ins in less than a year, with several items of value taken. Not only did this raise concerns about stolen property, but it made those who cleaned the church during the week feel less secure. The congregation decided to harden the building for better access control. First they put gratings (with inside release for fire safety) over second story windows above a rear entry roof (where the burglars gained access). More secure doors were put on all entrances. Basement windows were replaced with impact-resistant glass blocks. Later, surveillance cameras were added. This was all done with the pastor and the Church Board acting like a Security Committee.
Begin with Felt Needs
In the podcast "Starting a Safety Ministry," Kris Moloney, the founder of Sheepdog Church Security, suggests first talking with the people who work in the church. Besides pastoral staff, this would be custodians, office staff, children's teachers, nursery attendants, etc. Let them tell you of their concerns and experiences. Write these down and let them know that their concerns are yours. Put theirs before yours.
Begin with the most serious and/or most widely held safety concern and address that. For instance, what if a church fire has been in the news and people in your congregation are concerned about fire safety? Work with them on checking the fire extinguishers, emergency lights, and the sprinkler system. Check for and clear fire hazards indoors and outdoors. Plan the routes and procedures for fire evacuation. Plan a fire drill (especially for the children). Since fire safety is a recurring or ongoing activity, having people always responsible for this makes sense.
After this, you can help the church address the next safety concern. If a serious injury and a heart attack happened during church activities and no one present knew what to do, church members would likely want someone trained to respond to medical emergencies. You could arrange for First Aid and CPR training for key people and for scheduling one of them for each event. Again, this is a recurring need waiting to be addressed.
You gather support when you gather supporters. The supporters I'm talking about here are co-participants in making your church a safer place. The most likely candidates are active and former law enforcement officers (LEOs), firefighters, EMTs, medical professionals, social workers, etc. - those who have worked with the same safety issues you are addressing in the church. These persons work with you in handling felt safety concerns. Here are a few examples:
- A law enforcement officer and a social worker help implement procedures to protect children from abuse.
- A firefighter helps with fireproofing and fire drills.
- LEOs advise on access control and the legality of deterrent measures.
- A professional counselor coaches the church staff in verbal de-escalation.
- A paramedic finds a First Aid/CPR/AED trainer or does the training.
Preparing the Proposal
Once on board with safety projects, these supporters will be partners in drawing up and proposing the blueprint for a Church Safety Ministry. One of them may become the Safety Director. Some or all of them may be on the Safety Committee, the Safety Team or the Medical Response Team.
The blueprint is only part of the proposal. It also includes the purpose and reasoning for the Safety Ministry. Name specific safety concerns of the congregation and what is being done to address them. The Safety Ministry will continue the work in those areas as well as being there for new concerns. State in the proposal that the purpose for organizing the safety ministry is to make it accountable to the congregation.
Presenting the Proposal
Once the plan for the Church Safety Ministry is ready, it can be presented to the Church Board and the congregation. There should be both a written proposal and a live presentation. It is advisable to personally discuss the proposal with the pastor and members of the board before the presentation, even better to do so before writing the proposal. Their perspectives will help in writing a better plan and proposal, and being willing to listen and take them seriously will go a long way to earning their support for the Safety Ministry.
There are several online sites with advice on proposing a new ministry in a church. We'll consider a few points from three of these sites. The ministry considered in each of these is not a Safety Ministry, yet there are common points in starting them, including the proposals.
On Starting a Prison Ministry
Soulwinning.Info is an online site based on the ministry of Pastor Jack Hyles. It has published online, chapter-by-chapter, You Came Unto Me: A Training Manual For Jail And Prison Ministry (also available in whole at Re-Entry.org, a prison and jail ministry resource center, it was originally produced by Harvestime - now Harvestime International Network). Chapter Three is "Starting a Prison Ministry," apparently written by Argis Hulsey (a former California Highway Patrol officer) and his wife Patricia. It has a four-step outline:
- STEP ONE: Pray
- STEP TWO: Consult your spiritual leader
- STEP THREE: Do an analysis
- STEP FOUR: Prepare a program proposal
The first three steps echo the planning of a security ministry as described in this series, beginning with prayer. Step Four, "Prepare a program proposal," is the subject of this article. It has several questions to answer in the proposal, some of which apply to a safety/security ministry:
- Who will your program be directed towards?
- Who will have responsibility for your program?
- What are the objectives of your program?
- How many people are involved in your program?
- How will they be trained?
One point shared by a prison ministry and a safety ministry is background checks of staff and volunteers.
On Starting a Compassion Ministry
"Starting Compassion Ministry in Your Congregation," is an article in Influence Magazine, a publication of the Assemblies of God. It says, "Effective outreach takes vision, purpose, and planning." The recommendations are in a three-point outline:
- Stage 1: Laying the Foundation
- Stage 2: Unleashing the Vision
- Stage 3: Sustaining the Vision
Each stage has several points, some of which are already covered in other articles in this series. Here are a few notable points:
- Know your congregation.
- Seek God's vision for ministry.
- Share the vision with the congregation.
- Organize for ministry.
- Gather resources and partners.
- Address fears and conflicts.
- Build ongoing accountability.
On Writing a Proposal
"How to Write a Proposal for an Evangelism Ministry" by Jennifer VanBaren on OurEverydayLife has a five point outline for the written proposal:
- Prepare the introduction.
- Describe the ministry.
- Describe the benefits.
- Include a cost breakdown.
- Write the conclusion.
In the introduction, present the specific safety concerns which your team has already addressed and is considering. Briefly tell what has been done or is planned.
In the proposal, be sure to tell what the benefits of a Safety Ministry will be. For one thing, the ministry will continue what has already been started, such as fire safety or medical response. Also state that the Church Safety Committee can initiate responses to other needs as they arise.
A Safety Ministry may differ from an evangelism ministry, but both incur some costs. Frankly, considering just some of the costs, such as basic equipment, a safety ministry costs more initially than most evangelical ministries. Therefore, Point 4 - "Include a cost breakdown" - is more important. The board and the congregation want to know what the money is for, other than saying the Safety Ministry will cost x dollars. Itemize the costs. For example:
- List the number and cost of two-way radios the team starts with, including the headsets and ear pieces.
- Include the cost of application forms.
- Put in the itemized costs of other materials of operation.
- Account for the continuing costs of programs already started.
For some of us, this is the scary part. We know we can do the job. We can plan and organize. We can write a proposal. But to get up in front of all those faces around the big table? Or scarier still, in front of the whole congregation? Somebody has to do it! Someone on your team will stand before the Board, maybe also the congregation, and present the proposal for the Church Safety Ministry, then take questions.
In the live presentation, don't just read the written proposal. You may have notes to guide you, but maintain eye contact with your audience. Be calm and in control of yourself. Be confident. What you say will be shorter than the written document, but include key points. Be ready to give the details in response to questions. Have another team member taking notes of questions and comments. Usually you will hear from persons you have not yet talked with.
Kris includes communication as part of the process of proposing a Church Safety Ministry. He is not alone in this; it is also recommended by Church Fuel in their post "A Step-by-Step Plan to Starting a New Ministry in Your Church." We have already mentioned conversations for input from church members, staff, and leaders, as well as sharing your vision with them.
After the safety ministry blueprint has been drawn up and the presentations are scheduled, use announcements and letters, emails, flyers or bulletin inserts, etc. to inform the congregation of the purpose and work of the Church Safety Ministry. Include the benefits and opportunities for service.
Once a safety ministry has been approved in your congregation, it is time to implement it. That is the topic of another article.
There Is More
The three other articles in this series are "Sanctuary" (Making the Church a Safe Place), "Blueprint" (Plan for Safety), and "Implementation" (Setting Up a Safety Ministry).
- Kris Moloney, "Safety Ministry Proposal and Starter Kit," Sheepdog Church Security [https://sheepdog-church-security.thinkific.com/courses/safety-ministry-proposal-and-starter-kit].
- Anon, "April 2018," Council Column, News from your Church Council, Reveille United Methodist Church [https://reveilleumc.org/].
- Kris Moloney, "Starting a Safety Ministry," ChurchSecurityRollCall, Sheepdog Church Security, July 1, 2019 [https://soundcloud.com/churchsecurityrollcall/csrc161-starting-a-safety-ministry].
- W. Vaughn, "Blueprint: Plan for Safety," Sheepdog Church Security, August 18, 2019 [https://sheepdogchurchsecurity.net/articles/blueprint/].
- Argis and Patricia Hulsey, "You Came Unto Me: A Training Manual For Jail And Prison Ministry," ReEntry.org, n/d [https://www.reentry.org/Workbooks/Prison%20and%20Jail%20Training%20Manuals/HarvestManual.pdf].
- PrisonOutreach, Harvestime International Network [http://harvestime.org/prison/].
- You Came Unto Me: A Training Manual For Jail And Prison Ministry," Soulwinning.Info, n/d [https://www.soulwinning.info/books/prison_ministry/03.htm].
- Heidi Rolland Unruh and Philip N Olson, "Starting Compassion Ministry in Your Congregation," Influence Magazine, February 16, 2017 [https://influencemagazine.com/Practice/Starting-Compassion-Ministry-in-Your-Congregation] (originally published in Enrichment Journal).
- Jennifer VanBaren, "How to Write a Proposal for an Evangelism Ministry," OurEverydayLife, n/d [https://oureverydaylife.com/how-to-write-a-proposal-for-an-evangelism-ministry-12083082.html].
- Anon, "A Step-by-Step Plan to Starting a New Ministry in Your Church," Church Fuel, n/d [https://churchfuel.com/a-step-by-step-plan-to-starting-a-new-ministry-in-your-church/].