I have a secret that a lot of people don’t know about me. Most people take me as that serious type of guy that is always on the hunt for that person that is lurking in the dark. The one that could hurt my family, my church family and all those around me. Yes, I am that guy, however here is the secret; I am a little boy when it comes to Christmas. I love the season. I love to watch the faces of the little children when we talk about whether they were naughty or nice and did they get to see Santa. I love the lights in the neighborhood. On my morning runs through the neighborhood one of the homes has a Christmas light canopy that covers the sidewalk and I run through it every time I go down that street. I love looking for that perfect gift for my wife and girls. Yes, I am that guy that would love to have a white Christmas and enjoys Christmas carols (while writing this email I am listening to Manheim Steamroller Christmas). I love going to church and hearing the heart felt Merry Christmas wishes from my church family, feeling the warmth of the Spirit when we talk about Christ’s birth and how it is such a special time for the world. Peace and goodwill toward all men. I am reminded of the unofficial ceasefire between the British and German soldiers that took place during World War I. In the trenches on Christmas morning of 1914 carols could be heard between the two enemies and before long soldiers who had been fighting against each other the day before met in no-mans land and traded food, tobacco, cigarettes, drink, badges, buttons and caps. Before long a game of football broke out between enemies that 24 hours earlier had been shooting at each other.
Even though I would love to see the world take a moment and celebrate Christmas I know that we as the watchmen and watchwomen on the wall must be on constant alert for those that would love to make a statement against Christianity during this sacred time. Sutherland Springs has put all churches on alert of the dangers the church faces today in dealing with domestic violence. The more and more we get into this tragedy the more we find this was nothing more than a mentally deranged person with a dangerous grudge against his ex-in-laws. The shooter had sent threating text messages to his ex-mother-in-law who attended First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. I can’t fathom any other reason the shooter to pick that church other than he wanted to kill her. It just so happens she was not there that Sunday. As the investigation goes on there were so many red flags on this shooter that someone somewhere should have been paying more attention to him. I don’t like being a Monday morning quarterback but we in the church safety business have been screaming from the church’s steeples for years that domestic violence and mentally ill people are one of your biggest threats to our church yet we as a church continue to turn a blind eye to this issue. In Carl Chinn’s studies over 46% of your deadly force incidents against churches are from domestic spillover, personal conflicts, mental illness and religious bias (Carl Chinn).
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) reports that nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner and that equates to more than 10 million women and men. Please read that last sentence again, 10 million women and men. We have had two incidents in our church over the last two years where the women of the relationship were violent against their spouses and children to the point that police were called, and restraining orders were placed against the women. In our scenario training we emphasize this fact. Reports across the United States shows this number increases during the holiday season, yet we continue to think that when couples come into our Christmas service all is right in their world. We pray for Christmas miracles in families going through tough times and that the abuse will stop but fail to realize Christmas puts so much pressure on families and can be a catalyst to an increase in domestic violence.
We, the church need to be that beacon of light that helps those that are hurting and one step away from doing something they will regret for the rest of their lives. Remember, we the Safety Team, are not only looking for the wolves in sheep’s clothing, but we are also looking those in need. Our ministry is to expand the Kingdom of God, and not keep those out that need help. From our training we need to point out those that come up on our radar needing special attention to our ministers. If we, as the ones on the walls of our church, don’t point out the hurting to those that can help we have failed as the watchmen/watchwomen of the church. Ours is not a position of power or war but a position of love and serving those we protect. Remember Christ came to this world to bring peace and goodwill to all men and we must do what we have been called to do and protect those that come into our churches looking for that peace and goodwill.
So, this is my wish to all of you that have been called to this most important ministry. Do not forget what this season is all about. Remember this is the celebration of our Savior’s birth, shout it to the mountain tops, sorry forgot this is Florida, shout it to the beaches that in the little town of Bethlehem our Savior was born to bring the promise of everlasting life to all mankind. He came to bring peace and goodwill to all and we the sheepdog of our churches must keep an eye out for the wolves and those hurting and protect the flock.
Merry Christmas and God bless,
PS: **Save the Date**January 21, 2018 5 pm – 7 pm: Trinity Security Allies 2-year Celebration.
Register at: http://www.trinitysecurityallies.com/events.html
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.