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Church Security Guide

Church Safety Team Basics

Safey Team learning training materials.

In our last post, we introduced why every church needs a Church Safety Team. Here are the basics of safety teams, their mission and important considerations that must be developed.

Background Checks and Appropriate Training

There must be a method for vetting all members of the Church Safety Team. This should include an application, reference check and background check including fingerprints and criminal history. Some churches include a credit check. As protectors of the congregation, team members must be moral and ethical in their practices at all times. Congregants must feel comfortable with those selected to protect them.

We look to 1 Timothy 3:2 for guidance on forming teams. Members must be “above reproach, faithful to his [or her] spouse], temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, [and] able to teach.”

Two Teams, One Ministry

There are two parts of your Church Safety Team. There is the safety team. We recommend seeking volunteers with a background in law enforcement, military service and security for these roles.

There is also the medical team which should include people like doctors, EMTs and nurses. These groups may work in tandem so it’s vital that they understand each other’s roles and protocols. The best way to accomplish this is to cross train the teams.

Ethics and Conduct

One of the basics of any position of trust, but especially when in charge of the safety of others, is having ethics and behaving appropriately at all times. We recommend that the following are part of your Ethics and Code of Conduct for members of all ministries.


All members of the safety team must understand their priorities.

Learn more about this topic and several others with our Certified Safety Member Course. It is available as an online video-based training that can be taken anytime and from anywhere using your own computer. Each section ends with a short test to demonstrate an understanding of the material. Once you've completed all 7 sections, you will be certified for 2-years with Sheepdog Church Security.

Policies & Procedures

Recommended basics for safety team policies and procedures include:


The duties of safety team members vary by shift or even within shifts. Members should not be assigned repeatedly to the same duties. All team members should be assigned equally throughout.

Shifts should start by arriving a few minutes early wearing the appropriate attire including the ID card. It's a good idea to start by reviewing the patrol log so that members can see what needs to be done (issues noted by people on duty earlier) and see if anything unusual has happened of which they should be aware. After greeting other staff and volunteers so that they are aware of who is around to help, team members should collect their equipment (radio, flashlight) and go to their assigned area.

Depending on the number of people in the facility and volunteers working team members can be assigned to high needs areas like the children's area, nursery, classrooms, welcome area or parking lot. Some team members can patrol the entire campus.

Patrolling Campus

This is an important duty but we have found, in our work with Churches, that often times people need more direction than simply "patrol." It can be easy to simply walk around, which can often lead to falling into conversation. Provide team members with a list of duties to do while patrolling to keep your team efficient and your campus safe:

Communications Basics for Safety Teams

Team members should be trained in and required to use common language when speaking over the radio. In an emergency every moment counts.

Radios are regulated and can be heard throughout the campus and beyond. Prohibit casual conversation, profanity, inappropriate remarks and music. Here are some other helpful tips for training members in the use of radios:

In the next section we share what we believe are the only codes that should be used. Plain English is usually the best choice.

Codes for Safety Team Members

Here are the basic codes your safety team members should know and how to use them over the radio.

In addition to these codes, there are color codes safety team members should use. These are universal and also keep people from becoming panicked if they overhear.

Adding 911 to these codes signals that a response is needed quickly and that local law enforcement should be called. For example, "911 Code Orange 911."

If you would like more information on setting up a Church Safety Team beyond these basics, contact us or check out our book.