We hear stories of shootings, child abusers, and natural disasters, but what should we do when they come to church? ACTIVE Faith has a free ebook exploring some practical steps.
We need to approach this with biblical wisdom. We cannot and should not ever underestimate the power of prayer. We must pray against opposition from both spiritual warfare and mankind’s sinfulness. I believe prayer thwarts harm more often than we realize.
We agree on prayer for safety, but what is our responsibility to prepare for safety?
The story of Nehemiah is one of prayer, pragmatism, and faith. In Nehemiah 4:7-20, foreign nations despised the Israelites and planned to harm them, but the Israelites sought God in prayer, posted guards, and rebuilt the city walls while trusting God to fight for them if trouble came.
(8) And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it. (9) And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.
(15) When our enemies heard that it was known to us and that God had frustrated their plan, we all returned to the wall, each to his work. 16 From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah, (17) who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other. (18) And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built. The man who sounded the trumpet was beside me. (19) And I said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “The work is great and widely spread, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another. (20) In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”
I love that Nehemiah and the Israelites sandwiched their responsibility between prayer and faith. They asked God, did what they could, and trusted God to do they rest. They weren’t lazy. They didn’t invite trouble. And they certainly did not have a false sense of security. Instead, they realized that God was the key to safety.
Pastors need to spiritually and physically protect the congregation just like a shepherd protects his flock.
This doesn’t mean that we go to an extreme by shutting ourselves off from the world in order to be safer. We are called to be in the world but not of it, and that comes with risks and sometimes violent persecution. At that same time, we shouldn’t wrecklessly go out looking for trouble. We must be Spirit-led in our outreach and in protecting the flock.
7 Critical Areas for Church Security
ACTIVE Faith’s free ebook covers 7 critical areas for modern church security.
- Background Checks
- Check-in System
- Disarming Friendliness
- Emergency Action Plan
- Triage Teams
- Emergency Response Team Kits
- Emergency Communications
The larger a church body becomes, the more important is to have systems in place to discourage wrong doing, prevent evil, and respond well to crisis. But in whatever you do, be sure you do it with much prayer and faith in God.