I have found that most churches don’t take church security seriously enough. Often, churches mistakenly have a mentality that “it won’t happen here.” Unfortunately, it very well may. While statistics show that church related crimes are relatively low in number when compared to overall crime, church related crimes occur every week across the country.
Unfortunately, we are typically reactive with security measures than proactive. It often takes an incident to occur to us before we take security steps. Instead, we should be prepared for the worst and prayerful for the best. We often know the need but don’t know where to start.
Here are six very simple areas to help you start improving your church security:
- Lock Doors– It is important to limit access to and in your building. As I walk through churches as a church consultant, I nearly always find obscure exterior doors open that should be locked to limit access. Most churches I have “spied” in leave office doors unlocked, exposing expensive office equipment to theft.
- Make Contact – Make sure to make contact with any suspicious people. In an effort to minister to people who come through the church doors, you should be making contact anyway. I am rarely stopped in churches I’ve had the opportunity to consult when I roam the hallways, offices, and parking lots during service times (even when I try to look suspicious).
- Secure Money – We hear the pulpit exhortation to give our tithes and offerings generously, but the church doesn’t always do well protecting “God’s money.” Every church should have an active security plan for the offering each week. Churches should also invest in a drop safe to secure the money. Even small churches often have thousands of dollars in giving each week. Having extra people involved in the security of the money also provides added accountability.
- Monitor Activity – Have people watching the hallways and parking lots. Service hours are the best time for criminals to take advantage of the vulnerable offices and plentiful cars. Monitors can also greet and assist those late-comers or visitors who had a hard time finding a parking spot.
- Plan Ahead – Have a plan for instances such as an outburst in the middle of the service, or a hallway quarrel or fist fight. Know how you and your leadership should respond if someone brandishes a weapon. It is important to train your leaders for possible incidents. I have found that even most church leaders (deacons, Sunday school teachers, ushers, etc) couldn’t give the church’s address if they had to call 911 for an emergency.
- Document Incidents – Document any medical or security issue that occurs at the church. Documentation helps protect the church and everyone involved in an incident.
I pray that through your security efforts and God’s faithfulness, you will be “delivered from wicked and evil people” (2 Thess. 3:2-3).