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Starting the New Year Right

Tips for Church Security in 2024

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This article is based on "Safety Team Fundamentals," a Safety Member Certification training module, and two Worship Facility articles by Simon Osamoh.[1][2][3]

From the Bible

The Bible recommends and describes preparation.

Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house (Proverbs 24:27).

And Solomon's builders and Hiram's builders did hew them, and the stonesquarers: so they prepared timber and stones to build the house (1 Kings 5:18).


New Year's Day is associated with new beginnings and renewals. It's not too late to resolve what our Church Safety Ministry will do throughout the year.

For centuries, people have made resolutions for the New Year. This is what they decide to do or not do and how to improve their performance. These resolutions may be grand or simple, easy or hard, frivolous or serious.

Most resolutions fail, some within the first day, some after weeks or months, but some persons do fulfill their resolutions and are better for it. Fulfilling a New Year's resolution depends on commitment and discipline. It also depends on being practical and doable. An old question is, "How can you eat an elephant?" the answer is, "One bite at a time." For a Church Safety Ministry, this means improving our church's safety and security one step at a time.

Resolved: To Make the Church a Safer Place in 2024

Making the church safer involves four major steps, which have smaller steps in them. Let's use the acronym APPA: Assess - Plan - Prepare - Apply.


Begin improving church safety & security by seeing what needs to be done.

  1. First, review your church's safety record. Take note of past improvements - knowing this will encourage you to go on. Also note where the church has let down, has not done as well as before.
  2. Analyze the successes and failures to find out why you succeeded or failed. Don't be afraid to look in the mirror while doing this. You may need an outsider's perspective to develop a clearer picture.
  3. Now assess the current situation especially changes and trends within the congregation, the denomination, and the community (national, state, and local).
    1. How have local demographics shifted?
    2. Which way has the local social climate moved?
    3. How have the laws and regulations changed?
    4. How has the economy changed?

Steps of Assessment

  1. Assess the church itself:
    1. The congregation -
      1. Age groups,
      2. Regular and seasonal activities,
      3. Outside activities (such as trips, picnics, etc.).
    2. The building and campus.
      1. Access control,
      2. Lighting and surveillance,
      3. Sensors and alarms,
      4. Landscaping,
      5. Outside walks and parking lot(s),
      6. Maintenance, physical hazards,
      7. Fire prevention and control.
    3. Pastors, Staff, and Volunteers.
      1. Have all been properly screened?
      2. Has the screening been updated?
      3. What has been their record at the church?
        1. Have there been reports or complaints of immoral, unethical, or abusive behavior?
        2. How have they followed policies and procedures?
      4. Have they been trained in safety/security as related to their positions (such as active shooter response and fire evacuation for greeters and ushers)?
  2. Assess the Safety Ministry:
    1. Are all Safety Team members properly vetted?
    2. Have all been trained and certified (or are they training)?
    3. How well did the Safety Team work last year?


Plan to continue and improve on what is right. Good planning begins with good goals. In his article "Strategic Security: Setting SMART Goals for Safer Worship in the New Year," Simon Osamoh outlines five characteristics of SMART goals:

SMART Goal Setting

Two examples could be "Install door and window alarms" and "Remove shrubbery from under windows."

Find a way to objectively measure the success of a goal, for example by how many staff and volunteers working with children have been trained in child protection.

Ask, "Can this goal really be done?"

Does this really help the church's mission or make the church safer?

Set deadlines or milestones to measure progress and spur action.

Simon continues with examples of SMART goals.


Good goals also include ways to implement them. This involves preparation. Examples include;


Put your plans into action. Keep records to track your progress. Everyone is accountable.

An Encouraging Example

Published on the same day as "Setting SMART Goals" was Simon's interview with Eric Williams, who is the COO of Brown Missionary Baptist Church in Mississippi (just south of Memphis). Considering the location, security for any business or institution is a tall order. This article is in the Expert Insights series - conversations with security team leaders in houses of worship. Included in this interview are:


Here in January, it is a good time to plan for the rest of the year to make the church a safer place for everyone.

Training Notes

Sheepdog Church Security's aim is to train persons in keeping the church and its members safe. This includes several means: Safety Member Certification, Church Security Guide, Sheepdog Training Academy Articles, Sheepdog Church Security Academy (podcasts and videocasts), and Sheepdog Affiliate Worship Security Academy.

Safety Member Certification

In planning for training, ensure that all Safety Team members who are not yet certified enroll in the Safety Member Certification program. If you are training or recertifying the entire team, use Team Certification (church-hosted classes). Single members can train through Individual Certification (self-paced internet instruction) or Online Events (live Zoom classes).[1]

Church Security Guide

Another Sheepdog Church Security training resource is the Church Security Guide. It has nine articles covering basic church security issues:

  1. Introduction to Church Safety and Security
  2. How to Conduct a Risk Assessment
  3. Church Safety Team Basics
  4. Fire Safety in the Church
  5. Preparing Your Church for Natural Disasters
  6. Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults in the Church
  7. Self Defense Laws, Your Rights and Use of Force
  8. Disruptive Individuals: How to De-escalate the Situation
  9. Church Safety Teams and Active Shooter Training [6]

Sheepdog Training Academy Articles

New to SDCS is the News tab on the Safety Member Certification site. It has a mix of Church Security Guide articles and selected weekly articles.[7]

Sheepdog Church Security Acticles News Page

Sheepdog Church Security Academy

Kris shares his insights in videocasts on the YouTube channel Sheepdog Church Security Academy (the audios are in Church Security Roll Call podcasts). Here he covers articles (especially Lessons Learned from Church Shootings - and other deadly-force attacks) and special topics, and conducts interviews.[8][9]

Sheepdog Affiliate Worship Security Academy

There are a number of Sheepdog Church Security affiliates. One of them, Worship Security Academy, focuses on training. It was started and is led by Simon Osamoh, a security specialist with extensive experience in law enforcement, financial and corporate security, and church security. You can learn a lot just by listening to Kris's interview with Simon.[10][11][12]

Also from Simon are his Security Connection articles on Worship Facility. These are not replacements for training classes, but they do provide more depth and breadth to your knowledge, especially bringing it up-to-date.[13]


  1. Kris Moloney, "Safety Team Fundamentals," Safety Member Certification, Sheepdog Church Security, © 2020 [].
  2. Simon Osamoh, "Strategic Security: Setting SMART Goals for Safer Worship in the New Year," Security Connections, Worship Facility, December 5, 2023 [].
  3. Simon Osamoh, "Expert Insights: Eric Williams, COO Brown Missionary Baptist," Security Connections, Worship Facility, December 5, 2023 [].
  4. Kris Moloney, "Reports and Forms Bundle," Sheepdog Church Security, © 2020 [].
  5. Kris Moloney, "Safety Member Training Record," Sheepdog Church Security, © 2020 [].
  6. Kris Moloney, Church Security Guide, Sheepdog Church Security, © 2018 [].
  7. Kris Moloney, Sheepdog Articles, Sheepdog Church Security Academy [].
  8. Kris Moloney, Sheepdog Church Security Academy channel, YouTube [].
  9. Kris Moloney, Church Security Roll Call channel, SoundCloud [].
  10. Sheepdog Church Security affiliate link to Worship Security Association [].
  11. Simon Osamoh, "About," Worship Security Association, n.d. [].
  12. Kris Moloney, Sheepdog Church Security Academy, YouTube [].
  13. Simon Osamoh (Editor), Security Connections, Worship Facility [].