This is not just for pastors, rather any church leader – elder, deacon, board member and really any church member for that matter. It’s an uncomfortable question: How will you protect your congregation when evil and gunfire invades, or, more to the point, how will you prevent having blood-stained pews in your church?
I pulled this article out of my file from a month ago. I had drafted it following the Vegas shooting, but never published it because I wondered who would have read it. Unfortunately, I’m facing another life lesson that when I feel prompted to speak I need to speak – because I wish someone from the church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, had been able to read it. Now there are too many blood-stained pews in America.
On Oct. 1, country hit-maker Jason Aldean was the lead man on the mic in Las Vegas Village before 22,000 people when shots rang out from the Mandalay Bay Resort window. He took cover. And I don’t blame him. Reports indicate that shots were ripping through the stage. He had the right to protect himself. But 22,000 people came on behalf of those country music stars and the festival promoters. In a sense that crowd entrusted their lives to those in charge, and to be fair, many of the stars performing that night have shared that sentiment. It is tragic for them as well.
I’m sure festival organizers did all they knew to do in providing top-notch security. Who would have thought someone would open fire from the hotel window? Unfortunately, in America today there is not an evil that is impossible.
As I read report after report of the shooting, I was overwhelmed the most by the fact that no announcement of guidance was given from the stage. Those thousands in the crowd were left like sheep for the slaughter. I don’t know what could have been said. I doubt anything could have been said to prevent the death of those killed – but as a pastor who stands on the stage each week with the care of that congregation as my responsibility, I can’t help but feel that someone should have stepped up to help those who were in that crowd.
This Vegas massacre is just the first of more to come. Until a transcendent solution is provided, Pandora’s box will remain open. More shooters will come and especially Islamic extremists. And pastor or church leader, those extremists already have you and your church members’ pictures on a wanted-dead poster. They have sworn to kill Christians who will not be converted. So, on top of the general evil manifest with the Las Vegas shooting, and in the Texas shooting, there is an extra target on the back of Christians at the hands of Islamic jihadists. And let’s face it, as Devin Kelley proved this past Sunday, our churches are open shooting galleries. And pastor, you are not off the hook; you are responsible for ensuring the safety of that flock.
Each Sunday, faithful followers of Christ gather to worship and are sitting ducks. Few churches have planned security measures. Most have no security guards or a security team. Many safety features have been bypassed so that buildings can be built cheaper. And we pride ourselves that just anyone can come in for the service. This is a dangerous situation.
I get it. I have been there as a pastor. Talking security measures is not fun nor easy, but we must recognize the prophetic times and the reality of the world around us. And pastor, you must protect your flock. Please form a plan. And while you are forming a plan go ahead and take measures. Maybe hire an off-duty law enforcement officer until a plan has been put in place.
We are past the time of inaction. There are a lot of resources available for church security. I want to give a few. There are two WND Books resources that argue for the need of security measures, my book “Spiritual Prepper” and my friend Carl Gallup’s book “Be Thou Prepared.” Also, I have utilized resources from church insurance company Brotherhood Mutual, which leading the way in church security coverage and advice. Other companies I have worked with are Strategos International and Sheep Dog Church Security. Please make a plan for your church.
The major obstacle for church security is that we want unbelievers and seekers to be able to easily enter our worship service and hear the Truth. The message of salvation is far more important than church security, but let me encourage you that it’s really a new phenomenon for Christianity that the worship service would be a main mode of evangelism. Throughout history and in most places in the world, the worship gathering is for the church members. Guests do come by invitation, but the service is designed to encourage those who are already part of the church. Then the evangelism occurs the rest of the week, outside the church doors. That is the whole idea of underground churches. They meet in secret for the security of each member, and precautions are made to protect the flock, but in nations where the church is underground, evangelism flourishes.
Pastor or church leader, I hope you never encounter such an event. I hope you are never a Jason Aldean on stage when shots ring out, but we each could be. Please make a decision to protect your flock. Stopping meeting together is not an option, but we can be wiser about how we do it. And pastor, you have to take the lead.
Would you be prepared to defend yourself and other innocents in a surprise attack? Find out what one courageous churchgoer did to protect others in the film and book “Shooting Back: The Right and Duty of Self-Defense”