30% of all churches experienced a threat or other emergency in 2008. 75% of churches had no security plan in place.Today’s churches simply must be prepared for a variety of threats and emergencies.
As in any public forum, there will be a variety of people with a variety of problems and agendas. They may attend your services armed with dangerous weapons, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and/or having mental illness issues. Being able to recognize a threat is as important as responding to that threat. Only with proper and frequent training can a security team be truly effective.
A good security team needs to plan and prepare how to deal with the above issues, as well as any potential bomb threats, unruly demonstrators, necessary evacuations or medical emergencies. Dealing with disruptive behavior, such as shouting, cursing or trying to take control of services, must be dealt with quickly and with as little disruption of the service as possible. Earthquake, tornado or fire safety practices and evacuation procedures along with who will implement them needs to be established.
A security team must train and practice in advance for such events. Parking lot security is as important to prepare and train for as inside security. Visitors to your church need to feel confident that their cars and property will be safe and secure while attending your church. The parking lot security person ideally would be the first to observe any potential threats entering the church grounds (possession of weapons, unruly demonstrators, irrational behavior).
Other responsibilities for a security team can include protection and monitoring of any children and youth areas, maintenance of First Aid kits and emergency equipment, as well as providing security for special events.