What’s the difference between Law Enforcement Agencies and current Church Safety Teams? The answer shouldn’t surprise you; Law enforcement agencies actually communicate to keep the public safe.
Recently a suspicious looking man that our safety team had been observing approached one of our pastors to inform him of how he hurt people, was dishonorably discharged from the military and how sometimes you need to be the villain in order to make your point. To make matters worse, it was discovered through the conversation, that this person is a “church hopper” and described in detail local churches in our community. As you can imagine, it made the pastor’s hair on the back of his neck stand up.
Based on how openly and candid this person was, most likely other pastors have had the same conversation. Unfortunately, church safety teams do not communicate. This incident was so disconcerting, that a report was just filed with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.
While reaching out to a church that this person had attended, their staff member reminded me of another person that was asked to leave our church a few months back; another “church hopper”. One that preys on single women with children; a convicted child molester. The church staff member stated he had been to their church after being asked to leave ours and began stalking several of the children at their church.
Today, while in my men’s small group, two members of a neighboring church shared a recent story of a lady coming into their church seeking financial assistance. Out of kindness, one of the staff members offered the lady a gift card. Several days later the lady returned asking for additional financial help. The pastor explained that the church policy was to only give financial aid to members of the church and advised her of other local outreaches that could help her. After she left the building her son came to the church and started arguing with the pastor for not helping his mother.
Situations such as the ones described are just the beginning of threats facing our churches today. Most churches are aware of these threats and have created their own safety teams. The problem is the church safety teams do not communicate with neighboring church safety teams.
Law enforcement agencies collaborate across jurisdictions with one another to solve crimes and to protect the people. It’s time the church safety teams’ step up their game; to keep their congregations and other congregations safe by sharing information. We are all God’s people.
We are in the Christmas season, where many churches will see multiple new guests. While we all want to bring people to Christ, we need to be informed to keep the flock safe.
Join us Saturday December 12, 2015 at 8 am for our first church safety/security networking group in Trinity, FL.
To register for this free event, click here or visit our Events page.
12/4/2015 04:24:19 am
Thank you so much for for putting this together. Me and my team have encountered several incidents at our church. We need all the help and information we can get.
1/13/2016 07:18:38 pm
Jim you are spot there no communication between chuches and very little between churches and LEO'S, Carl Chinn as some good ideas on how bridge that gap and get the communications better. I hope he will have time to talk about that this Saturday at the Sheepdog Seminar at Bethel Baptist Church in Lakeland, fl.
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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.