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Time to Gel

Get Organized and Rolling

Security Guard Event Service as a Officer And His Group
Starting a Church Safety Ministry: Steps #4-6

From the Bible

  • Joseph suggested a plan of action for the predicted famine:

    “Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt” (Genesis 41:33).
  • David selected the members of his palace security team:

    [Benaiah] was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not to the first three. And David set him over his guard (2 Samuel 23:23).
  • About 260 years later, the high priest Jehoiada activated the Temple guards:

    [Benaiah] was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not to the first three. And David set him over his guard (2 Samuel 23:23).
  • About 260 years later, the high priest Jehoiada activated the Temple guards:

    And the seventh year Jehoiada sent and fetched the rulers over hundreds, with the captains and the guard, and brought them to him into the house of the Lord (2 Kings 11:4),
  • Nehemiah patrolled the walls of Jerusalem conducting a security assessment. Then he called the leaders to action:

    And I went out by night by the gate of the valley … and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire... Then said I unto them, “Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach” (Nehemiah 2:13 & 17).
  • Introduction

    Vancouver & vicinity, British Columbia, July 2021 - Vandalism and arson of churches in Vancouver and neighboring cities has prompted local law enforcement to visit churches in the area. They work with the churches and other religious entities to prevent further violations. This includes safety measures, such as lighting, surveillance cameras, frequent police patrols, etc. Not mentioned in this story is patrolling by church volunteers and staff, though some churches may have started them.[1]

    Mississippi, date unknown - Under "Ushers Committee" in the Pastor, Staff, & Committee Job Description Book of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, ushers are to "Patrol the church parking lots and facilities as per church policy."[2]

    Austin, Texas, September 1, 2019 - According to State Senate Bill 2065, volunteers who provide certain security services (such as patrols) to places of religious worship are exempt from being licensed as security guards as long as they do not identify themselves as "security" and do not wear uniforms.[3]

    Presumably, the uniforms in the bill are those styled like law enforcement and security guard uniforms, so (depending on interpretation) polo shirts or jackets of the same color might not count.

    Kearney, Nebraska, 2018 - According to a Kearney police sergeant who had been a school resource officer, several churches in the city were "proactive" in setting up security measures following mass killings in churches in Charleston, SC (2015) and Sutherland, TX (2017). These include protection not only from shooters, but also from fire, tornadoes, and other threats. Among protective measures are patrols and access control.[4]

    Special Offers

    We have three special offers: Practical Steps to Start a Safety Ministry (a free resource), the Complete Church Security Training System, and an affiliate membership with U.S. LawShield.


    Practical Steps to Start a Safety Ministry has six steps to begin a church safety ministry. If your church already has one and persons from another congregation ask you how to start one, this will help you tell them how and/or lead them through the process. It also has a do-it-yourself Security Assessment. Click *HERE* to get it.[5]


    The featured training is not just one course, but the whole shebang, the Complete Church Security Training Program. This is designed to get all the Security Team members through all the courses in a short time, an important consideration with several recruits. This program includes all seven SDCS training courses: Security Team Fundamentals v4, Active Shooter Response v4, Deescalating Disruptive Persons v4, Protecting Children from Abuse v4, Basic Use of Force Laws v4, Arson and Fire Safety v4, and Severe Weather and Natural Disasters v3.[6]

    Affiliate Membership

    Almost anything physical you do while interacting with people to keep order or defend others carries a risk of criminal or civil legal liability. You can be charged with unlawful detainment or unjustified citizen's arrest, sued for excessive force in unarmed defense and control moves, and criminally charged and/or sued when using a weapon, even if non-lethal. For instance, if you have discharged a firearm in an incident, you need a lawyer NOW.

    That's where U.S. LawShield comes in. With a membership in this service, a lawyer is on call. If you need consultation, one will be available within three days. If you are involved in a use-of-force incident with a weapon, a lawyer can call you back immediately.

    SDCS has an affiliate relationship with U.S. LawShield, so you can be a Sheepdog Church Security affiliate member.[7]

    Watering Safety & Security

    I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6).

    Now that we've "planted" the seed of a Church Safety Ministry and have the approval of church leadership, we need to put it into action. The success of the Easy Win activity (the patrol) is essential to establishing the ministry in the congregation. Other activities, such as children's area access control, medical response, and fire drills can follow. The last three steps are (4) Recruit and Train Your Team and Launch the Patrol, (5) Conduct a Security Assessment and Start Planning, and (6) Pick a Project and Implement. The security project comes after the patrol.

    #4 Recruit and Train Your Team and Launch the Patrol

    Recruit smart so you can patrol smart. At least two volunteers are needed to patrol the church while classes and/or services are in session. Recruit at least enough Safety team members to make the rounds for each service on a Sunday (or Sabbath) morning. Preferably, this would be one team for each service or one team for Sunday School and the other for the worship service. One team member stays on post in the foyer while the other makes the rounds.

    Character and ability are key criteria for Safety team members. Select carefully. Take applications, screen, follow up on references, and interview. The team members must be members of the congregation or regular attenders.

    Train the team in the basics of church security. Begin with Security Team Fundamentals v4,[8] either alone or as part of the Complete Church Security Training Program. Classroom training is best for starting the team, since they'll all be on the same page at the same time.

    If you're thinking of the cost, the Complete Church Security Training Program costs less than buying all the courses individually. You can also continue the training until they've completed every course. That way they are ready when other programs are added.

    Patrol smart. Have enough team members to have at least one in the front end of the building when another is patrolling. Rotate who is on patrol. Rotate patrols inside and outside. If you have enough team members, have a fresh team for each morning service. The last patrol checks every room in the church.

    #5 Conduct a Security Assessment and Start Planning

    The featured resource (Practical Steps to Start a Safety Ministry) includes the form for a church security assessment. These 28 pages of questions produce a fairly comprehensive view of your church's security strengths and weaknesses. This document will help you in planning for the Church Safety Ministry. Three questions to consider are:

    1. What are the most urgent security needs of the church?
    2. Which of these can be addressed immediately?
    3. Which ones will get immediate support from the congregation?

    One possible project might be so critical it would be worth the effort to win support for it. Plan for more than one project so that you have at least two or three to choose from. Assuming the first project done is successful, you'll have a head start for the next one.

    #6 Pick a Project and Implement

    Choose the project and put it into action. This may mean a little more planning if there have been some changes in support or situation. Get everything needed for the project. Here are a few suggested projects:

    Fire Evacuation Plan and Drill - Plan the routes using the church floor plan. Designate the assembly area. Train all involved, the Safety Team and impacted ministries. Practice the drill with leaders. Evaluate and refine it. Announce the fire drill before carrying it out. Issue handouts telling people in the congregation which way to go (for example, "Those in the back, through Door A; those in the front through Door B."). Advise parents to meet their kids in the assembly area.

    Childcare Access Control - Map out the current configuration of childcare areas. If the hallway going past is a through route (such as from the sanctuary to the restrooms), this complicates it. Put Dutch doors on the nursery, toddler, and pre-school rooms. Post notices that only the parents/guardians who brought the kids in can take them out. Provide logs to check children in and out and train childcare workers to use them. If the children's department is on its own hallway, put a check-in desk and gate at the front end.

    Tornado Drill and Moving to Shelter - A tornado drill is on par with a fire drill in some places, such as Kearney, Nebraska.[4] It is similar to fire evacuation in planning routes, but the destinations are tornado-safe spaces in the building which are designated as shelters. Post directional signage and label doors to the shelters. Use the same practice and execution routine as the fire drill.

    For planning tornado and fire drills, you may seek advice from local emergency services personnel. Law enforcement and social service agencies can advise on childcare access control.


    Start your Church Safety Ministry right. Success leads to success. Prepare for the first project after the initial activity with team-building, security assessment, and successful implementation.

    There Is More

    The three other articles in September are "The Nudge" (Sparking Interest), "Bar the Door" (Lockouts and Lockdowns), and "2007 Moscow First Presbyterian Church Shooting" (Lesson Learned).


    1. Agnieszka Ruck, "Police stepping up church patrols after attacks in B.C.," The B.C. Catholic, July 29, 2021 [].
    2. Anon, "Pastor, Staff, & Committee Job Description Book," Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, n/d, p. 47 [].
    3. Staff, "Church Volunteer Security Patrol," Texas Department of Public Safety, Updated September 1, 2019 [].
    4. Mary Jane Skala, "Kearney churches quietly strengthening security," July 15, 2018 [].
    5. Kris Moloney, "Practical Steps to Start a Safety Ministry," Sheepdog Church Security, © 2019 [].
    6. Kris Moloney, "Complete Training Program v4," Sheepdog Church Security Training Courses, Training Bundles (Classroom), © 2020 [].
    7. Sheepdog Church Security affiliate link, U.S. LawShield [].
    8. Kris Moloney, "Security Team Fundamentals v4," Sheepdog Church Security, © 2019 [].