In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned against storing up wealth for ourselves “where thieves break in and steal.” Instead, he told us to invest in God’s kingdom. For many of us, that means investing in our church through tithes, offerings, and other gifts and donations. The intent is that what we give to the church, by whatever means, will be used by the church for God’s purposes: helping the needy, spreading the Gospel in our community, teaching others, missions, etc. In other words, we see it as God’s money in God’s house to be used for God’s purposes.
However, the Church is a divine institution in a fallen world. Unless it is a house church or rents a location one or two days a week, it is also a physical place, a building. As such, it is vulnerable to several kinds of crime, including burglary, “where thieves break in and steal.” This why it is a concern for church security.
As a church, we are stewards of what we and others have given to God and His work. As such, we are responsible not only for its use, but for guarding it, taking reasonable precautions against it being stolen and/or misused. We are not exempt from thieves thinking that it is or should be their money, etc.
One online search has numerous news stories about church security and burglary over the past year. They are from all over the country from Worchester to Kansas City and on to Los Angeles.
Churches this author has attended have experienced break-ins. And afterward, these congregations took measures to prevent future burglaries. It would have been far better if these measures had been put into place beforehand.
Why would anyone steal from a church? Temples and temple treasuries have always been targets of robbers and invading armies, including the Temple of the LORD in Jerusalem. Aren’t they afraid of robbing God? Malachi asked that question, “Will a man rob God?” Later, Paul asked some, “Do you rob temples?” Let’s face it. If there is something there that thieves want, they will try to get it. These days there is less fear of God and there is very little deterring criminals from stealing from God and His people.
Sheepdog Church Security can help your church security ministry to protect against burglary. This includes identifying and mitigating the risks. The first step is Church Security Assessment, the first downloadable training packet available on our Security Training page.
Church buildings made before the mid-1990s were not designed for security. Even newer buildings often do not meet all the requirements for making them secure. A Church Security Assessment will reveal how vulnerable your church building is to breaking and entering. This includes doors, windows and lighting, just to name a few.
A security assessment also considers surveillance of the church and its property. The most common component of this is security cameras coupled with closed circuit TV and Internet monitoring. It was the latter which caught a burglar in the church in Worchester. And it is security camera pictures which were used to ask the public to help identify a church burglar in Kansas City.
Measures to be taken include hardening the target. This includes increasing the integrity of doors and windows, installing locks that really work, etc. A small church in Dover, Ohio was burglarized several years ago. They assessed their risks and took several measures to discourage future intrusions, including glass blocks in basement windows, security screens on second story windows, better doors and locks.
To learn more, check out the online Church Safety and Security Guide.
Kim Ring, “Worcester church burglary suspect robbed another in 2007” ( Telegram & Gazette: Wooster, Mass.), http://www.telegram.com/article/20160216/NEWS/160219435, Posted Feb. 16, 2016 at 11:10 AM, Updated Feb 18, 2016 at 7:23 PM. Accessed 4/21/2016 abt. 3 PM.
Kelly Eckerman, “Police seek man caught on camera during church burglary” (Kansas City: KMBC), http://www.kmbc.com/news/police-seek-man-caught-on-camera-during-church-burglary/37107336, UPDATED 6:14 PM CST Dec 23, 2015. Accessed 4/21/2016, 3:28 PM.
Kim Baldonado and Olivia Niland, “Church Members Ask for Public's Help in Solving Burglary” (Los Angeles: NBC4), http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Church-Members-Ask-for-Publics-Help-in-Solving-Burglary--316579251.html, Published at 2:53 AM PDT on Jul 18, 2015. Accessed 4/21/2016, 3:31 PM.