Time To Serve

Qualifications for Safety and Security Team Members

Man standing by woman shaking hands

Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. ~ Matthew 24:46

Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. ~ 1 Corinthians 4:2

So we built the wall … for the people had a mind to work. ~ Nehemiah 4:6

Do these statements sound familiar? Have you yourself ever said or thought something like these?

None of us likes to have to depend on the undependable. We want the car to start, the ladder to be steady, the chair to hold us. Isaiah referred to this when he called Egypt an unreliable ally, "that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it" (Isaiah 36:6). People who depend on us want us there when we are expected, doing what we're expected to do.

As members of church security teams, the congregation depends on us. As said in Measuring Up, we are deacons, and one of the qualifications of being a deacon is being trustworthy, faithful, reliable, and that includes being present and available. A deacon is a server, a servant of the others. As is stated by the quoted verse from Matthew, we should be doing our job.

This is also a question of stewardship. When we joined the Church Safety/Security Team, we became stewards of the safety and security of the congregation as well as others who attend classes, services and events at the church. As Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, we are required to be faithful.

Having security personnel there when needed can make a difference in how safe the attendees of the church are and how safe they feel. For instance, fifty years ago the crime that happened most often in churches was the sneak thief who came in during a service, choir practice, or an event, and rifled through coats and bags on the coat rack. This is why some churches started having coats, hats and bags checked in at a counter. Very few churches have coat-check counters today. However, coat rack thieves may be deterred if they know they are being watched by church security.

But what if there are not enough team members assigned to a service or event to keep an eye on the foyer (including the coat rack) and the side entrance at the same time. Then a thief, who probably knows how to spot security, just watches for his opportunity.

The same principle applies to guarding against other crimes, as well as watching out for safety hazards. What would have happened in Colorado Springs at the New Life Church in 2007 if Jeanne Assam had not been there when scheduled? How many more would have been killed before the shooter was stopped? And look at what happened in a church in Charleston with no one responsible for security - nine people died.

Not only does the church depend on us, security team members depend on each other. If we have enough safety/security persons, we can rotate regular services and classes so that (1) all needed locations are covered, and (2) no one person has to miss out actually attending a service or class and spending key time with family. Then there are seasonal and special events, and the security burden for them should be spread fairly.

The Church Safety Team Academy lists five Team Priorities: (1) attend church services, (2) spend time with families, (3) participate in training, (4) serve during services, and (5) serve at large events. Notice how time with families and attendance in services are part of this list. If some of us don't serve during services or events, then someone else may be hindered from meeting all of their priorities. Remember, these times are when security is most needed.

The Academy article goes on to point out that we should accept assignments for regular events, and also volunteer (sign up) for our share of special events, so that others do not bear an undue share of the burden. Then it is vitally important to show up and be on time. Not just on time, but be early enough to debrief those we are relieving, receive instructions, and familiarize ourselves with what is there. In 2 Samuel 20:5, Amasa was late reporting back to the king on an issue of security. It first cost him his job, then his life.

It may not cost you your life, but not being where you should be when you should be there has the potential of resulting in property loss or damage, kidnapping, child abuse, injuries, or even someone's death - not the kinds of things we want to be responsible for. And not being there may result in losing one's place on the team.

It has always been critical to be there when it is time to serve, to be there on time, and to do our job.

Sheepdog Church Security has more information on this and other issues related to church safety and security, including the Church Security Guide, articles, podcasts, and downloadable training packets.

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