Happy New Year. There are so many changes happening here at Trinity Security Allies. Last year we focused on the true meaning of the Watchmen (men and women) who protect the flock. This has taken us a couple of months to really put it all together. So, we want to share with you the paradigm shift that we have taken at Trinity Security Allies.
Church pastors used to cringe when someone talked about having a “church security team.” Our first “security team” was formed because our church was having a fundraiser for our new property and large amounts of offering money was being collected on Sundays. This was making management nervous. So, the church formed its first “security team” just to protect the money and nothing else. It wasn’t till we had one of our members threaten to beat up his ex-in-laws on campus and later that week we found out this member was the primary suspect in a murder case.
This caused the church to reexamine the purpose of a security team. But even in those moments, church leaders whispered that we had “security.” We were told to stand on the wall, don’t say anything and we could only be called to action if something went really bad. We even had a slide in our training, “If you saw something (non-threatening) that needed to be addressed you would contact a minister on duty. Safety (Security) Team Members were not the first point of contact unless the situation was an immediate threat to the church.” Other than that, they kept church security in the shadows.
We have always trained there are three types of people that come into your church, those that are members, those that are hurting, and the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Our training focuses more on the last two types. As a Christian, we need to administer aid to those that are hurting. They come in looking for help and are maybe one step away from doing something they may regret. Sometimes even wolves in sheep clothing can have a change of heart. The shooter in the AME church stated during his interrogation that “he almost didn’t go through with it because everyone was so nice to him.” Nobody paid attention to that statement, if given the possibility of changing the mind of a killer, shouldn’t we lean heavily on the Holy Spirit to change that lost soul? No, we went the other way, security companies added a tab on their website that said they did church security training with the emphasis on active shooter.
Visiting a church in Alabama I witnessed a church safety leader teaching his team how to take a firearm away from an armed suspect. This leader’s expertise was a video he had seen on YouTube. Even if you have hours of training on how to disarm a person, you have to practice it all the time. Having faced that situation as a police officer, I can promise you, if the person pointing the gun at me would have known how to use the weapon, I would not be writing this today and I had been trained on how to take a gun away from someone. Getting a fifteen-minute training on something this serious will get you killed, but that is the mentality we see across the country with church safety, too much emphasis on the gun and not the soul.
We know that having someone come into your church intent on killing someone is a reality and a part of our training focuses on active shooter. Yet in my heart I kept going back to the piece about those that are needing spiritual aid must be attended to. When Jesus Christ commanded us in the Great Commission, Matthew 18:19-20 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” There is no * at the end of this that says, “Except for Safety Team Members”, Christ’s command is “GO.”
Still certain churches continued to push back on our training because it wasn’t macho enough. We run into churches all the time that their safety team members are wannabe police officers or bouncers at a bar. Even pastors started getting into the whole security concept and were encouraging their safety teams to wear golf shirts with “Security” on the back or coming up with cool names for their safety teams like the Critical Response Team, CRT, instead of focusing on what the Watchmen were really supposed to be doing and that is expanding the Kingdom of God. The first time we proposed the idea that we are servants of the church and not the semi-military of the church we took flack. While talking to one safety team leader about the idea that his safety team members needed to be the ambassadors of the church and talking to people about Christ, he told me that half his team would quit if he put that perception in front of his team. So, I turned to God and asked Him for some wisdom.
While going through my Bible I found my answer and a promise that caused me to realize I was on the right path. 1 Peter 5:2-4 says “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” Such beautiful verses with a promise from the Father of a reward that all church safety team members will receive on His return.
So, we at Trinity Security Allies now take a different approach to church safety. We as the watchman must understand that our first responsibility is to expand the Kingdom of God. When we study Ezekiel 33, 1 through 6, God is warning the Watchman of his responsibilities when outside dangers come against the people, but we stop at verse 6. Yet we continue to read on, verses 7 through 9 are quite clear on our other responsibilities as the Watchman. “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from
their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.”, Ezekiel 33:7-9. You who want to claim the title of the Watchman on the Wall have a higher responsibility than just looking for an active shooter, you are an Ambassador for Christ, and this position must not be taken lightly.
The first safety team I presented this concept to was my own. I still have a few members that push back just a little, but the majority of the team see church safety as a ministry, not a position of power. In fact, I have seen the change in our team by the way they interact with first-time guests. They introduce themselves as a member of the church and not a member of the safety team. They will offer aid and assistance. They provide information of the activities of the church, children’s ministry, small groups and will even listen to their story. In this interaction it gives the watchmen the opportunity to assist and also assess if this person they are talking to might be either a threat, in need of spiritual help or, my favorite, a potential safety team member. The biggest change I am now seeing in the pastors, staff, and members of the church is the love and respect they have for the safety team. When they see the ones who would lay down their lives for those they protect, being a genuine Ambassador for Christ, they see a true example of the Chief Shepard in their midst.
Isiah 54:7-8 tells of how important the watchmen on the walls are. Not only do we watch out for the enemy or help those in need, but we also shout the good news that “our God reigns!”
“How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”
Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices;
together they shout for joy.
When the Lord returns to Zion,
they will see it with their own eyes.”
Be safe and be blessed and looking forward to seeing you in 2023.
For more information on church safety / security, contact Jim@TrinitySecurityAllies.com
On February 22nd, 2022, CBN (The Christian Broadcasting Network) published an article titled "Homeland Security Official: Worst Terror Environment in 30+ years, Concern for Houses of Worship". The report quoted statements from John Cohen, the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) coordinator for Counterterrorism and assistant secretary for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention Policy. At a conference, Cohen stated, "The threat environment is probably the most volatile and dynamic that I've experienced in my 35+ year career," he said. "We're at a period of time in this country where we have to be very serious, where we can come together and respond to the threat." Pretty serious, wouldn't you think? Cohen continued with the concerns outlined in a special DHS National Terrorism Advisory System Bulleting (NTASB) that came out on February 07th, 2022. Every church safety/security consultant has passed the CBN document to all their clients and constituents, warning of doom and gloom. When I saw this report, I thought the government was catching up after all the years of warnings we talked about, but then I read the NTASB report, which appears most didn't, but they should have.
The first paragraph of the NTASB document starts planting the seeds of what is about to happen to free speech. "The United States remains in a heightened threat environment fueled by several factors, including an online environment filled with false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories, and other forms of mis- dis- and mal-information (MDM) introduced and/or amplified by foreign and domestic threat actors. These threat actors seek to exacerbate societal friction to sow discord and undermine public trust in government institutions to encourage unrest, which could potentially inspire acts of violence." So far, so good, but go on, these following two sentences we need to dissect just a little. "While the conditions underlying the heightened threat landscape have not significantly changed over the last year, the convergence of the following factors has increased the volatility, unpredictability, and complexity of the threat environment: (1) the proliferation of false or misleading narratives, which sow discord or undermine public trust in U.S. government institutions…."
Reviewing the first statement, "While the conditions underlying the heightened threat landscape have not significantly changed over the last year…", yet the headline read "Worst Terror Environment in 30+ years". That sounds pretty scary. It also points toward Houses of Worship need to be on alert. The second sentence states the number one threat is "the proliferation of false or misleading narratives, which sow discord or undermine public trust in U.S. government institutions….". What does this statement mean to the average person? False and misleading narratives?
DHS continued with, "For example, there is widespread online proliferation of false or misleading narratives regarding unsubstantiated widespread election fraud and COVID-19. Grievances associated with these themes inspired violent extremist attacks during 2021." Please help me here. After January 6th, have you seen any violent extremist attacks during 2021 over the 2020 election? I still feel there are a lot of unanswered questions about the 2020 election that we might never get answers to. I believe that there was election fraud, but I only know of one attack linked back to the 2020 election.
Then the reference to COVID-19 misinformation, is the DHS warning talking about the parents in Virginia? In multiple articles, parents were tired of the mask mandates that public schools were enforcing when the science showed the harm of children wearing masks. A German study of 25,000 children showed that masks harmed children physically, behaviorally, and psychologically.
In this report, the University of Witten/Herdecke created an online registry where parents, doctors, and pediatricians could enter their observations of children wearing masks. Over 25,930 entries were recorded in this study on adverse effects on children wearing masks over 4 hours a day. Even our own American Medical Association (AMA) stated that forcing children to wear face masks has adverse health effects.
On September 29th, 2021, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) sent a letter to the President of the United States asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) to classify parents who were criticizing how the school boards were forcing masks mandates critical race theory as a domestic terrorist. While NSAB was requesting the DOJ to classify parents as domestic terrorists, the National Education Association (NEA) was demanding leaders of Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok to place algorithms that would flag and remove posts that gave "misinformation" of critical race theory (CRT).
In the October 08th, 2021, NEA letter to the three big social media groups, "We're calling on your companies to take this threat (parents stating their concerns on masks and CRT) seriously and prioritize the safety of people over profits – you can help put an end to the stream of propaganda fueling violence against educators in our communities. Your companies have both the power and responsibility to stamp out disinformation and violent trends – for the sake of Public Education and the future of democracy. To that end, we're demanding that your companies make a public pledge to students, educators, and their families to regulate lies and fix your algorithms to put public safety over profits."
Once again, their words sound justified, and the list of examples would put anyone on alert. Still, if you truly understand what they were saying, anyone who speaks against issues like masks on children, CRT, or books that were so vulgar that school boards would not read them out loud, must be flagged or taken down. Again, this is an attack on free speech, and is this what DHS is referring to in their document as a "heightened threat environment?"
Some of you may say, "Facebook is a privately owned company, and they can block who they want," technically yes. But in a 2013 article, the Washington Examiner pointed out that the State Department spent over $600,000.00 on Facebook 'likes'. But that was back in 2013, you may say. Then read the February 4th, 2021, Time Magazine's article "The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election". This article points out there was "an extraordinary shadow effort dedicated not to winning the vote but ensuring it…." It goes on to say, "This is the inside story of the conspiracy to save the 2020 election…" and "a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information." See what I mean by unanswered questions. This Time article admits there was a plot against then President Trump.
So, the number one item of the "current heightened threat environment" in the National Terrorism Advisory System Bulleting list may be a moot point. It appears that the COVID restrictions are all but gone. Most of us have moved on and realized that we have at least three more years of an administration that has an agenda that does not appeal to most conservatives. We can see it in the polls, and those of us old enough have been here before, and we will probably see it again if nothing changes. So, we should just continue with our lives and let God run the show, right? But before we relax and get cozy in our recliners and wait for the next season of "Chosen," let me point out what just came off the press. It might change your thought about getting too comfortable because the war has just begun. You must wait for my next blog to hear about the next shot fired at conservative Christians. Let me just say this, maybe now is the time for a Christian Revolution. See you next month.
Remembering the Reason for the Season
On December 9th, I called my daughter, Jessica, who all of you know is a student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) in Daytona Beach, Florida. We discussed our upcoming Christmas vacation plans, her mid-terms, and me picking her up the following week. During our conversation, we both received a text message from ERAU’s automated alert system that there had been a police incident on campus and that the suspect had been arrested. We joked around about the alert but didn’t think much about it.
It wasn’t until later we found out the ERAU alert was about a student arrested for comments he had made on social media about how he was going to do his own Columbine massacre at ERAU. Daytona Beach Police (DBPD) stated the student made statements on Snapchat about his plans. Several students who were concerned about his online statements notified the DBPD, and they arrested the suspected shooter before he could implement his plans. DBPD’s explained the suspect had a backpack with a folding rifle and several hundred rounds of ammunition when they apprehended him. The suspect discussed how busy the campus would be because of students taking end-of-semester tests. Something as close to home as this causes us, as a parent, to stop and reflect on just how dangerous this world is. We get those morbid thoughts that plague us throughout the day.
Knowing that Jessica was fine, I started to push those thoughts out of my mind. There are too many of them to list, but as they come back into my mind as I write this, I will tell you I thanked God for those students that saw something and said something. I thanked God for the DBPD’s quick action and that I had had that phone call with Jessica that morning. Even though I knew she was safe, I couldn’t shake my thoughts, so I knew that I had to turn to God to help me get through this day and not do something foolish. These thoughts reminded me of a previous phone call I had with Wendy almost nine years ago to the day.
We all have those dates in history where we remember exactly where we were at that moment. I am old enough to remember where I was on November 22, 1963, the day of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Most of us can remember where we were on 9-11, and the shock of watching the Towers go down and the Pentagon on fire. December 14, 2012, I was with the Belleair Police Department. I was at a Christmas luncheon when I got a text from Wendy asking me if I was watching the news. From my phone, I immediately jumped on Fox News and saw the horror unfolding at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
I stepped out of the luncheon and called Wendy. She was crying about how young the victims were. Because of their ages, she told me that she wanted to go and get Jaycee, who was only five at the time, take her out of school, and just hold her. I explained to her that was a rational move and if it made her feel better to go and do it. It took her a minute, and then she stated that all the schools in the area were on lockdown because of the shooting and the girls were in a safe place. I told her that it was only natural to want to go and get the girls, and if she still felt that way in a few minutes, just go and get them. These were the same thoughts I was having on December 9th. I wanted to drive over to ERAU and pick up Jessica so I could protect and hold her.
This Christmas, I want all of you to gather around your loved ones and cherish the moments that you have together. Remember the past celebrations, remember those that have gone before us. Don’t let an angry word stand between you and a loved one. Life on this planet is short, and we need to remember the reason for the season. Christ came to earth to teach us about love and forgiveness. He came here to give us a gift of eternal life, and because of this promise, we know that we will see those not with us again. This is the season for promises and hope. Wendy, Jessica, Jaycee, and I wish you a wonderful Christmas and a safe New Year.
Jim, Wendy, Jessica and Jaycee Howard
Passing the Baton
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Mathew 28:18-20
Saturday, October 16, 2021, we held our 5th Annual Church Safety & Liability Conference. Every year we are blessed with the most outstanding speakers from around the country, and this year was no exception. It was our largest attended conference ever. Thanks to all those that spoke and those that participated in attending the conference.
The reviews are in, and even though most were positive, we know we can do better. I was taken aback by two of the negative thoughts expressed to me during the conference. They commented that most of those attending was over the age of 55. In our church, you would be considered a part of our Prime-Time ministry. I started to ponder as to why this was. Why do we have an older population of safety team members, and who will replace us that are heading into our Prime-Time years. Thinking this through, it dawned on me that we, as the older generation need to start thinking about church safety differently.
One of the things I write about in my policy and procedures is that this position is not a position of power but a position of serving others. I recently attended some training and was surprised at how quickly Team Members resorted to physical reaction instead of verbal de-escalation. It wasn’t that the situation didn’t require some use of force. While you played out the problem, it was apparent it was more reactive instead of proactive. The scenario they played out emphasized the need for more “What If” and “Verbal De-escalation” training. I see it all the time, guys walking around acting like they are security guards at a concert or the ones that have a full-time job as an accountant, but for a couple of hours a week, they are wannabee police officers. Safety Team Leaders, if you know of someone like this in your group, you need to pull them aside and advise them. They are neither one. We need to refocus on who we are and what our assignment acutely is.
In Matthew 28:18-20, Christ gives us the Great Commission, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV). Isn’t this the first job of all Safety Team Members the expansion of the Kingdom of God? So, are we doing that, or are we telling ourselves this is someone else’s job? We, as the Safety Team, are here to protect the flock. As Doctor Mark Jones said at our conference, “This is God’s commandment, not a suggestion.” Doctor Jones went on to say, “Our assignment is all about the glory of God.”
This assignment does not mean we all become preachers and forget about the safety of the church. Doctor Jones also went on to say, “Where there is an assignment, there will always be a threat.” Rest assured your job as a Safety Team Member is safe. There are a lot of threats in this fallen world. But how do we connect to the next generation of Safety Team Members? I will answer the question with a question.
Safety Team Leaders, are you a leader, or are you a mentor? Do you pass out assignments and send your Team on their way or meet and pray over the Team and the church before services? Do you talk to your Team Members about the importance of our assignment of glorifying Christ, or do you talk about what caliber of weapon they carry? I understand that some of you will feel they are both critical questions, but one is for eternity, and the other isn’t. Team Leaders are you making disciples out of your Team Members? If not, then you are not following God’s commandment.
So how do we get the next generation into the Safety Team? Let’s look at three simple steps.
First, we must understand that our assignment is to glorify and expand the Kingdom of God. Matthew 28:18-20 explains it all. Without understanding the importance of this assignment, we are lost sheep ourselves. How can we protect the flock unless we know what the assignment is? Remember, “Where there is an assignment, there will always be a threat.”
The second step is found in Mark 12:30-31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” There is no way to show the Good News unless we love everyone that walks through our church’s doors. That doesn’t mean we let our guard down. We must always be prepared but never assume.
Finally, when Nehemiah saw the danger that was approaching those who were building the wall, he stationed them by families, “Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows.” Nehemiah 4:13. Every person who joins your church is family, and we, as Safety Team Members, must make them feel that way. It is our responsibility to know as many church members as possible and become family with all of them. I know that this sounds like a difficult task, but you have God on your side, and nothing is impossible through Him.
So, if we can follow these three simple steps, you will have members of the church lining up to be a part of the Safety Team because they will see the importance of serving and protecting the flock. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven,” Matthew 5:16.
Every parent will become eyes for the Team to help protect the children. Every greeter will start to watch for possible concerns that walk into the building. The ushers will now begin to see those hurting and serve them better, helping the kingdom grow. Because we have become mentors instead of security in the congregation, younger members of your church will be wanting to join the Safety Ministry because you understand the assignment of expanding the kingdom of God, and in all assignments, there will be threats. Thank you, Doctor Mark Jones.
Most of you heard I recently got certified as a chaplain. I was then asked if I would be interested in becoming a Certified Mental Health Coach (CMHC). I was honored at the offer and am now working through the CMHC class offered by the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC). We are never too old to learn something.
During the Covid-19 lockdown I became aware of the increase of mental health issues. Pubmed did an article “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on suicide rates”. It stated “Multiple lines of evidence indicate that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has profound psychological and social effects. The psychological consequence of the pandemic will probably persist for months and years to come. Studies indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic is associated with distress, anxiety, fear of contagion, depression and insomnia in the general population and among healthcare professionals.” BMJ, a global healthcare knowledge provider stated that “Widely reported studies modelling the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on suicide rates predicted increases ranging from 1% to 145%.” “Trends in suicide during the covid-19 pandemic”.
John Hopkins reported in “COVID-19 and Suicide: A Crisis Within a Crisis”, “From February to March, there was a 45% increase in calls to the Maryland Helpline, the state’s crisis hotline. Compared to March 2019, March 2020 had an 842% increase in texts to the same service.”. When churches re-opened their doors to members I warned about three different types of people that were coming back to the church. There would be those that felt the virus was a government conspiracy. Others, Covid radicals, who accused churches of being super spreaders. Then there would be those that lost a loved one or their business and were looking for answers. We are still feeling the effects of all three in our churches. In fact with all the confusion on the recent facts of Covid-19 the church has been even more divided.
What causes me concern from a church safety provider is the safety teams at the churches will probably be the first contact of persons with mental health concerns. Let me begin with this statement, this is not a safety team issue, it is a whole church issue and everyone from the top-down needs to start paying attention. One case handled the wrong way could cause a church to be sued or even worse someone getting hurt because they were not properly trained on how to deal with a person with mental illness.
In the CMHC course it states how the church is no stranger to helping others with mental health issues. Churches work with the homeless, those with addictions, human trafficking, and prison ministries. Some may say that all of these conditions do not create mental health issues. I would disagree, it has a mental effect on all persons involved in these situations. Don’t believe me sit down and talk with a anyone listed in the ministries above and you will see a mental health issue. Talk to the families of those that are homeless or involved in human trafficking. There will be some hurts, habits and hang ups in everyone you talk with. So if you plan on doing any of these ministries be prepared because it will either break you or bless you. It will truly depend on your relationship with Jesus Christ.
Yet even though, we the church, appear to be ready to help those in need we must first look at some statistics. CMHC states that “Sixty-six percent of pastors say they never talk about mental health issues from the pulpit. Twenty-five percent of pastors say they don’t want to work with the mentally ill because it takes too much time and thirty to forty percent of individuals with a mental illness encounter a negative interaction in a church. They report their illness is over-spiritualized and categorized as a spiritual issue like a personal sin. Yet most mentally ill patients go to the church first to seek help because seeking professional help cost too much”. With statistics like these we need to be better prepared.
So how do we handle the storm that is on the church’s horizon? We train. We teach our staff, safety team members and volunteers that want to learn what to look for and what would be the appropriate response to people that are just looking for help. Isn’t that something we should be doing as Christians, administering to those in need? I think Christ had a story about that. Now I am not saying that we all become Christian Consolers but we need to know what we are looking at so we can get those the proper help they need.
In season one, episode one of “The Chosen”, we meet Mary Madeline. In Dallas Jenkins, the producer’s version of the New Testament, Mary is a troubled person with questionable living habits. Even when a holy man (Nicodemus) shows up to attempt to help her, he decides she is far too gone in her mental illness or as we hear his reaction, she is possessed with demons, and there is no hope for her. Contemplating ending her life she has an encounter with Jesus Christ which you need to watch the series to find out what happened.
In Light University’s course “Introduction to Mental Health Coaching” they teach you the four Rs’ on what to look for when you feel like a person might have a mental health issue. First we must Recognize. If you have been a Safety Team Member long enough you know immediately when you have someone that just doesn’t seem all together. Once you recognize there might be an issue you need to Evaluate. Does this person have a mental health care problem or are they distracted, disorientated, or requiring medical attention? It gets hot here in Florida, someone coming out of the sun might have a medical issue instead of a mental health issue. Once we decide it is a mental health issue we look for possible signs of how serious is the condition. Is this person going to disrupt your church service, we need to start thinking what our next step should be.
During the Recognize phase we also have to assess for the possibility of danger, thoughts of suicide or injuring others. We need to assess for the level of distress which may require the church to contact local law enforcement. Assess for level of functioning. We talked this could be a medical condition or the possibility of a person with dementia that is lost and in the need of professional care beyond that of the Safety Team Member and the church.
The second R is to Refer. Once again Safety Team Member should only be involved in the initial contact. We are not trained as mental health coaches, but if we recognize a mental health issue we need to know who to refer to. Churches need to have a next step of what to do when an issue like this is presented to them. Do they have a list of professionals they can recommend to the person in need. If not a list needs to be developed and updated every so often. Letting someone with issues walk out your door without helping them as much as possible or giving them some sort of hope that we care will one day come back on us. We really need to look at what Christ says about helping other and follow those truths.
The next R is the going to be the hardest for any Safety Team Member and this is to Relate. I can honestly tell you that there are multiple people that come to our church that has some sort of mental health issue. There is a member in our church that the Lord has laid on my heart to be there for him anytime he needs someone to talk to. I have spoken to him candidly about his condition, I know where the boundaries lay and have on several occasions told him this was something that I felt he needed to talk to a professional about because it is beyond my expertise to help him. He knows when I say that to him, he needs to make that call and he always has. I feel that because of God’s guidance and me being honest with him on some of his issues we have a healthy relationship. I have broken bread with this brother, socialized with him and talked the Gospel with him on many occasions. I have always felt that my friend has a special relationship with God that I will never understand. I remind him all the time that he is a son of God and an heir to the throne. His relationship blesses me more than he will ever know. Mental disorders are not the result of personal sin. I look at him as the beautiful creation God made and we as the church need to never forget our brothers, sisters, and their families. They must have the support of the church.
The last thing we must do is Restore. But restore does not only have to do with those with mental health issues. We must be the lighthouse to all. In times of need and we must provide spiritual direction. We must love them, provide a healing environment with grace and reassurance. We need to show how Christ loves all, not just the chosen but all and that there is hope, peace, comfort, and strength in Him.
We need to encourage the church to get back to what Christ said was the greatest commandment of the law, “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”” Matthew 22:36-40. If we follow the greatest commandments, the four Rs’ will fall into place for everyone that walks into your church. You never know, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” Hebrews 13:2. Doing this will make your church a safer place and the rewards will outweigh the time you took to love on those in need.
Jim has many years of law enforcement experience and has run the safety team at his church for several years. TSA was formed after he realized God's calling when multiple churches reached out and asked him to present at their church.