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The Routines of Safety and Security

Consistency and Reliability in Safety Ministry

A businessman searches through stacks of paper documents in a messy office, organizing unfinished paperwork and accounting reports amidst the busy workload.

An article based primarily on the Safety Member Certification training module "Safety Team Fundamentals."[1]

From the Bible

And I took unto me faithful [reliable] witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah (Isaiah 8:2).

Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2).

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful [reliable] men, who shall be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2).


As used in the Bible, faithfulness includes consistency and reliability, and a faithful person is reliable, consistently dependable.

Any business and organization, including church safety ministries, needs persons who are reliable, who can be depended on to do what should be done, and to be consistent (always to the same standards).

Being Reliable and Consistent

A key to being reliable and consistent is establishing and following routines. A routine does not have to be rigid, but provides a framework within which we can be alert and respond to situations as they arise. The training module "Safety Team Fundamentals" identifies and describes ways in which a church safety team member will be reliable and specifies some routines.


Members of a church safety & security ministry are deacons. They do hands-on work in the church, freeing those in spiritual leadership (preaching, teaching, guiding, and counseling) to focus on their roles and responsibilities (Acts 6:2, 4). The Apostles in Jerusalem specified qualifications for the first seven deacons (Acts 6:3), and the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy (1 Timothy 3:2-13) and Titus (Titus 1:6-9; 2:6-8) the qualifications needed for church leaders in general, including deacons.

Qualifications for deacons:

Acts 6:3

1 Timothy 3:1-13

Titus 1:6-9; 2:6-8

Good reputation

Above reproach (blameless)



One-woman man (faithful to spouse)

Faithful to spouse


Sound-minded (sober-minded, sane)

Spiritual leader to children at home


Not wild or disobedient


Not overbearing

Hospitable (welcoming)

Sober (not a drunkard)

Able to teach, coach, mentor

Honest, not greedy

Not addicted to alcohol (or drugs)


Not violent



Devout (holy)

Not greedy


Manages the home well

True to biblical teachings

Not conceited


Have a clear conscience

Example of sound speech

Not a new convert

(have some spiritual maturity)

The "Security Team Fundamentals" class specifies four qualifications specific to the roles of a safety team member:

There are also ethical and conduct standards (the six Be's):


A church safety team is just that, a team. Each member has a role in fulfilling the mission of the team. In order to do this, there are priorities to follow:

Note that some of these seem to conflict, to compete for the member's time. The Safety Director tries to strike a balance by scheduling when and where team members serve. The members then spend time with their families and attending classes and services when they are not scheduled for security and training. This means that the safety team needs enough members so that each member can achieve this balance. Ideally, this could be twice the number that will be on duty at any one time. More realistically, in most churches this would be half-again the number, meaning that a member would serve two out of every three services. However, with twice the number, it is easier for the safety director to schedule for special events and to cover for family vacations.

Attend church services (and classes)

Safety team members need spiritual nourishment too. It is important to focus on worship and learning. This means time on a pew and in a classroom with other church members. Of course, you will be conditioned to be alert for any sign of trouble or need.

Spend time with families

Family time is important for everyone. We want emotionally healthy safety team members. They should not have to sacrifice their families. Go with the family on vacation and to family events (like weddings, graduations, funerals, and reunions). Try to strike a balance with church safety.

Participate in training

Training is essential to the safety team. Set aside time to take classes with SDCS's Self-Paced Online Training. Also participate in drills and in-person training (such as First Aid, CPR, and unarmed self-defense). If you are armed, spend time on the range. Again, this has to be balanced with family time.

Serve during services

That's what the team is for. Take your turn on duty with the safety team. Serve when and where you are placed, whether in the foyer/lobby, in the children's area, on the parking lot, incognito in the sanctuary. etc.

Serve at large events

Safety and security are needed at large events, such as weddings, fairs, concerts, etc., so someone should be there. Some churches rent their grounds to organizations for outdoor events, such as a craft fair or an auto show. Security is needed at these events, even though they are not put on by the church. Security should extend to the street, and volunteers are needed to serve there.

A few examples of security problems outside the church building are the 2014 shooting at Word Tabernacle in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, during a neighborhood pick-up basketball game, the 2012 shooting in the parking lot of Victory for the World Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia, following a funeral, and the 2017 shooting outside the gate of a carnival on the grounds of the Cathedral of the Cross in Center Point, Alabama.[2][3][4]

Routines That Matter

Routines are not always stifling. They should free us to focus on what we need to see and respond to.


The Safety Director (or the designated safety team lead person) makes out a schedule on a regular basis, such as monthly or bi-monthly. The schedule includes who works, when, and where, including already known special duties, training sessions, and drills. Coordinate the team schedule with the church's schedule of services, classes and events.

Safety team members then check the schedule to know when to work. On their part, before the schedule is made they inform the director of when they will be unavailable.


Patrols are a regular part of safety and security. However, it is best that they are not in a rigid timeframe, especially outside. Plan the timing of the patrols to make them unpredictable to an outsider. If a criminal casing the church can't predict when the place is not being patrolled, then the regular irregularity is a type of deterrent. In any case, it is important that you can count on the church and its grounds being patrolled.

Make thoroughness routine on your patrols. When patrolling inside, open unlocked closets, peek under stairs, look into "empty" classrooms, check outside doors, be alert for hidden cameras, etc.

Not exactly a patrol is checking the images of surveillance cameras. Ideally, some or all of these should be monitored live.


"The XYZ office runs on paperwork" is an old explanation of how government agencies work. There's something to that.

It is essential for security to know what happened and when, who went in and who left, what was seen, etc. First, a log lets the next person on a post know what is going on and what to expect. Second, log entries will aid an investigation. Third, over time the logs help leadership see what has gone on, how situations have changed, and how to plan for the future. What goes into the log may change, but the log itself is a needed and useful routine.

Record Keeping

Logs are not the only required records. The safety ministry should operate in a businesslike way. A sample of routine records includes:


Letting the team leader and other members know where you are and what is happening should be so routine that you automatically do it. This involves picking up the two-way radio when starting your shift and returning it when getting off. Either the team member or whoever is in the safety team office charges the radios.

Use the standard terms and codes for situations. For instance, "Code Blue" means medical help is needed, and "Code Orange" means there is a suspicious person. There are also standard plain English phrases, such as "Go ahead" (Send your message), "Copy" (The message was received and understood), and "Do you copy?" (Do you understand?). More codes and phrases are in the training module.

Use etiquette when using the radio.

When on patrol, make notes of things that are out of order or suspicious. Pass these notes on to the team leader and/or put them into the log. If whatever it is demands immediate attention, call the leader for that shift.

Brief a team member taking over your position on anything that member needs to know from your rotation.


The congregation depends on our reliability and consistency for safety and security. Establishing and using the right routines is part of this, since they enable us to be ready to respond to non-routine incidents.

Training Resources

"Safety Team Fundamentals" is the first of eight Safety Member Certification training modules. The others are Active Shooter Response, Deescalating Disruptive Persons, Protecting Children from Abuse, Basic Use of Force Laws, Arson and Fire Safety, Storms and Disasters, and Mass Trauma Emergencies.[1]

The Church Security Guide has ten articles which are not for credit, but are a helpful overview of church safety and security topics. They cover all the training modules except Mass Trauma Emergencies. These articles are also posted under the tab Church Security Guide in the Safety Ministry Training Articles on the Sheepdog Church Security training website.[5][6]

Special Free Download

We have a free download for you related to this article: Reports and Forms Bundle. It contains five printable forms:

Click *HERE* to get it.[7]


  1. Kris Moloney, "Safety Team Fundamentals," Safety Member Certification, Sheepdog Church Security, © 2020 [].
  2. WGV, "2014 Word Tabernacle Church Shooting," Sheepdog Church Security, July 10, 2023 [].
  3. WGV, "2012 Victory for the World Church Shooting," Sheepdog Church Security, February 28, 2023 [].
  4. WGV, "2017 Cathedral of the Cross Shooting," Sheepdog Church Security, December 26, 2023 [].
  5. Kris Moloney, Church Security Guide, Sheepdog Church Security, © Copyright 2018 [].
  6. Kris Moloney, Safety Ministry Training Articles, Sheepdog Church Security, 2024 [].
  7. Kris Moloney, "Reports and Forms Bundle," Sheepdog Church Security, 2016-2017 [].