Your Church’s Security

I’ve been thinking about church security since the 1990s. I distinctly remember when it  became a major item on my radar.

It was a Wednesday night when we heard of a church shooting in Fort Worth, Texas. It was a Baptist church whose Wednesday night service seemed very similar to what we did at that time on a Wednesday night. Several people, including teenagers, were killed or wounded.

It became very clear to me how vulnerable a church is, particularly on times like Wednesday nights.

That prompted the church where I serve to begin immediately putting together security plans. Through the years our plans and our security have been become more extensive and more sophisticated. I can’t foresee anything that would change our situation over the next several years.

What should your church do about security?

First, you should establish a security team. As Tom Rainer recently said this should be looked on as a ministry of the church. The safety of worshipers, especially children, should be at the forefront of our thoughts, prayers, and considerations. Jesus told his disciples‘s to be “Wise as serpents and harmless as doves“ (Matthew 10:16).

This verse means that we cannot be naïve. We must be watchful, thoughtful, prayerful, and careful. While being kind and gentle as doves, we must be as shrewd as snakes.

We have found tremendous help from our members who are part of law enforcement. They understand the threats, and they understand the needs. I would encourage you to include them in your planning and thinking.

Second, any discussion of security should include every aspect of your children’s ministry. Our children are our most vulnerable worshipers. Security includes doing background checks and being vigilant about who is allowed to work with preschoolers and children and who is allowed to enter the areas where children are being taught and cared for.

Security should also involve transportation. For this reason we gave up our church van many years ago. We felt that we would be better off hiring professional drivers with well-maintained equipment.

Third, church security should be under the direction of the senior pastor. By that I mean that it should be on his radar all the time. I am thankful to have excellent administrators to directly oversee security, but security still has to be near the top of the pastor’s list of duties.

Fourth, get your people to buy in on the necessity of doing things differently than we have in the past. While this should not be difficult, churches function better when we know what we need to do and why it should be done.

Finally, make church security a matter of intense and diligent prayer. Ask for God‘s protection from the evil one. Seek God and His Guidance in all things, especially the care of his children.


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About Waylon

I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.” — Psalm 40:8 (NIV)