No weapon required for most threats. Verbal de-escalation and scripture can be key to eliminating a threat
A lot of great things going on at Trinity Security Allies. We just finished filming 25 different church scenarios with Laser Shot Simulations. These scenarios are based on actual situations that have happened in churches across the United States. We are really excited about getting the finished product so we can bring it to you. Thanks goes out again to Laser Shot and the two hard workers Anderson and Christian. This was an incredible week of a lot of hard work. I want to thank all of those that came out to help us film these scenarios along with Generation Christian Church and Faith Baptist Church in New Port Richey for letting us use their facilities. This training is going to help churches and law enforcement across the country seeing scenarios that could happen in their church and learning how to respond when faced with these situations.
We have been working on something that will have a huge impact on Trinity Security Allies, we have started working with James Simmons with Simmons Law Group. I met James through one of our Board Members and the first thing that stuck me about James was his love of the Lord. This is a person that understands “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12 and he is here to protect your church and your families. I am looking forward to working with James not only to help protect those that fight for what is right but also serving with him in sharing the Word. We are ready to work for you, just give us a call.
We also had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Kevin Smith the Director of the DHS Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives. Kevin will be at our November 2, 2019 Church Safety Conference and talk about ways churches can beef up the security of their church with government help. Through a DHS grant churches can apply for monies to purchase items to make their churches safer like good doors with easy to operate locks to lock down, cameras and also safety training. More information is coming soon on these grants.
Wednesday night I had the honor of being on Kevin Haggarty’s Facebook live The Godlogic Project. Kevin and I have been friends since Trinity Security Allies started and now he has a podcast that he does called The Godlogic Project. I would ask everyone that subscribes to our blogs to go out and subscribe to Kevin’s YouTube channel. Kevin talks about a lot of things churches don’t want to because churches don’t want to discuss what is going on in the real world. They want to paint a picture of it won’t happen in our church or to our families but Satan is out there and looking for the unsuspecting sheep. You can go here to listen to our last podcast.
During our talks with both Kevins I started to think about how we are constantly talking about church shootings. I have heard over and over that you have a better chance of getting hit by lighting than having an active shooter at your church. Please understand I could not agree with you more. We call constantly pushing an active shooter in churches “the fear factor” or like watching a train wreck. You can’t turn away from it, we don’t understand why but we have to watch the carnage. Let me say this again if you have a company that does not want to talk about domestic issues, disruptive attendee, children ministry issues in their training be leery of them. There are things that will come into your church that will cause people to feel unsafe and it isn’t always a man with a gun.
We had an intellectually disabled (politically correct) person come into our church and disrupted the church service. He was sitting in the back, raised his hand and asked for prayer while the service was still in progress. He asked for prayers for all of the women he had raped and killed. Read that again, prayers for all the women that he had raped and killed. So was this a threat? People sitting around this person perceived it as a threat and didn’t feel safe while this was going on. So how would you handle this person without becoming physical, do you have a plan in place for a disruptive attendee? Do you know your rights during a situation like this? You will have more of these types of situations than you will have lighting strikes so how do you handle them? Training. Most all situations church safety team members deal will do not require a weapon. We need to keep being reminded of that. Stop arming all your people in your congregation. You are only asking for trouble.
Our training is for churches that want to protect their congregation without force if possible. If you don’t want a firearm in your church that is your prerogative. We are still the ministry that wants to come in and teach you situational awareness and threat profiling so you can get ahead of a possible bad situation. One of the great things Laser Shot did in these church scenarios was include a submission piece in every scenario. That means that if your Safety Team Member verbally de-escalates the situation then the violent person gives up. You want to use the most powerful weapon in the world, the Word of God to handle all situations. You want to become the most powerful weapon against “the powers of this dark world and the forces of evil in the heavenly realms” and “put on the full armor of God…and use the Sword of Spirit” Ephesians 6:10-17. Use His Word as your weapon and let’s see how evil stops coming in your churches’ door because they will know that God is protecting you with a big angel at your door.
Follow me here, the shooting at Chabad of Poway Heroes didn’t have security training yet because people were aware that evil could walk into their synagogue at any time, lives were saved. I am not saying that if they had a safety team it would have had a different outcome but God had placed the right people in that synagogue that day to only have one death when the subject was armed to kill many more. Let’s praise the heroes during this tragic event, let’s lift up their names and pray for their bravery. Lori Gilbert Kaye gave her life shielding the rabbi by jumping between the shooter. She gave the ultimate sacrifice saving the rabbi. Almog Peretz’s who still lives in Israel was visiting his family in California. Almog was wounded but still had the forethought to go to an emergency exit and get all the children near him to run out to safety. We have the Army veteran that was in prayer when he heard the gunshots and ran toward the danger. Oscar Stewart stated because of his training, he didn’t think about it, he just ran toward the threat. It was because of his actions the shooter didn’t kill more people. Oscar didn’t have a weapon, God had been training him all his life for that moment. The last hero was an off-duty border patrol agent. Jonathan Morales had just recently been asked, by Rabbi Goldstein to carry his weapon while he was at the synagogue. Even though Morales actually didn’t confront the shooter while he was in the house of worship he did stop him from leaving and possibly going to another synagogue and kill more innocent people. To read more about these heroes go here.
When we take a look at the mosque shooting in New Zealand the person at the second mosque that halted the shooter from killing more people use his head and a unique weapon to stop the attacker. Abdul Aziz screamed at the shooter trying to distract the shooter away from the mosque so others could get to safety. Using his voice and the only thing he could get his hands on as a weapon, a credit card reader. He threw the credit card reader at the shooter which caused him to drop his weapon and run back toward his car to get another weapon. Abdul grabbed the weapon and realized it was empty but then threw it at the suspect who then drove away. The best weapon Abdul had was his desire to save people and not to die that day.
So let’s land this plane on what are we saying here. You who read this blog should be talking to your friends and family that go to other churches. If you care for them you should be asking them if they have some sort of safety team and procedures in place. If they tell you they don’t because they don’t want a bunch of people running around with guns in their church tell them to call us. The heart and soul of Trinity Security Allies is expanding the Kingdom of God and protecting those doing it. It does not have to be with guns, it can be with their voices, their smarts or a credit card reader but you have to train. You have to know how to protect your perimeter, know what to look for when that person comes into your house of worship and understand that evil comes in all shapes and forms and it might not be carrying a weapon that day but you still have to deal with it.
Do you know how to do that? If not call us.
I have a couple of rights and today I am going to exercise those rights. First, I am getting old so if I say something that offends someone blame it on my old age because the older I get, the more I don’t care if I offend you. Here are my credentials that allow me to exercise the second right. Except for one year in my adult life I have been involved in law enforcement in one capacity or another including military law enforcement, a sworn police officer or working in the private sector involving law enforcement. I can list all my accolades, but won’t. I will just say if you cut me, I bleed blue. I have the right to make a statement about something that I am noticing that really concerns me about my family in blue. I have this right to complain; I have this right to criticize because of my credentials and let’s not forget my old age.
I just got finished doing a church safety/security training in a large metropolitan area. In this training I noticed that there was not one sworn officer there, not one. It wasn’t because we didn’t invite them, in fact, we contacted their PIO (public information officer), made a special invite to them, posted the event all over our social media and there was a news report regarding the training on the local TV station about the event. We even had members of the local InfraGard chapter pushing out this training. InfraGard is a partnership between the FBI and members of the private sector. But yet not one sworn officer showed up, not one. So this blog is not only for our Church Safety Team Members (CSTM) but it is also for you in law enforcement. In fact if you are on a church safety team share this with one of you law enforcement buddies.
I cannot understand law enforcement not showing up for this type of training. First you have someone that comes into your backyard talking about training people to physically protect a church. I, as a law enforcement department, would like to know what this organization is teaching. Hey, you might learn something. They may be teaching something that is illegal, or something that might not be illegal but something that your department might not agree with and maybe you would want to voice your opinion. I have been to a lot of these “church safety/security” training sessions and I shake my head when I hear what is being trained. I have heard of training that teaches CSTM about clearing rooms. I was watching one on the Internet the other day (wished I had saved the video) and they had a room of at least 8 people sitting at a table. The next thing you heard was what sounded like a gun shot in a hallway. Everyone in that room was armed. Everyone jumped up from that table, pulled their weapon and headed for the door. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This was a company that went to that church and was doing church safety training. I got up and left a training where the instructor was showing CSTM how to go after people that have knives and disarm them. They stand up in front of the students who have little or no training and show them a few moves to take a knife away. I can tell you even if you practice that move until it becomes a natural movement, you are probably going to get stabbed (I would even bet you are). Some of you have only seen cuts on hands and fingers from a kitchen or shop accident but until you have seen wounds from a knife attack I can tell you right now, it ain’t pretty. You don’t believe me, do a Google search on knife wounds and look at images, maybe you shouldn’t because as I just said, it ain’t pretty.
I once asked one of my Safety Team Members, who is a martial art expert, has all sorts of belts and titles out his wazoo what he would do if he was confronted by a person with a knife and he told me he would just shoot that person. Okay Indiana Jones, you don’t have a gun at your disposal what would you do? His corrected response was they teach their students to put some distance between them and the assailant. Look for a weapon to be able to defend themselves if they have to confront the person with the knife. He told me that you only go hands on if you have no other choice. Getting to close to a person with a knife you will get cut, I promise you. But there are organizations that want to come out and teach you self-defense or tactical moves knowing that unless you practice you are going to get hurt. In anything, unless you practice whatever it is that you are doing you are not going to be good at it. As I like to say you can’t think of how to react to an attack. By the time you remember if it is “wax on” or “wax off”, you have been waxed.
No police department, no military unit ever goes into harm’s way without practicing how to survive. They train all the time. So how often does your church train? Once a month (rare), once a quarter (good for you), once a year (still ahead of the curve) or you can’t remember the last time you trained (most churches). I will shout this from the tallest steeple; most church volunteers are not SWAT, Rangers, Navy Seals or Force Recon and no offense to my prior military and police brothers and sisters but most of you don’t stay in shape to be able to handle a man with gun or knife. I don’t mean to step on anyone’s toes here but let’s be honest, when was the last time you ran a mile and a half in 12 minutes or less? When was the last time you did 100 push ups or even went to a range? You tracking yet? I will be the first to admit I am not what I used to be even 10 years ago. I know my limitations. When companies come to a church and want to teach safety/security teams how to be Rambo, they really need to have their credentials checked; and the local law enforcement agency needs to be the ones doing the checking. It is bad enough to go into a place where violence has happened and innocent people got hurt but it is heartbreaking when those hurt where hurt from friendly fire. Case in point this last March two police officers responded to a man with a sword in a church, the suspect was shot and killed but both officer were shot. Think about it for a second, man with a sword and both officers got shot. I have been around swords and never saw one that shot bullets (not talking rifles with bayonets or Elgin Cutlass Pistol from 1830’s). Still today, the police department has not said the officers were hit by friendly fire but I bet it was that or they had an overzealous CSTM there. I am going to go with friendly fire on this one.
I will give you another one; the shooting that happened at a country western bar in Thousand Oaks where the shooter walked in and shot 11 people. When the police arrived the Sheriff’s sergeant that was the first on scene was killed by friendly fire. I am not going to take anything away from either of these officers but here is my theory on what happened that night. Two officers from two different agencies were the first to arrive on the scene. I am willing to bet they never trained together at an active shooter training or they trained in their respected jurisdictions and maybe the training was different. But we have two seasoned officers at an active shooter scene and because of different training one accidentally shoots the other. I don’t think the surviving officer will ever get over that. Now let’s look at your church; you accidentally shoot one of your members. I promise you, you will never get over it. I almost shot my paperboy one night (contact me and I will tell you the story). It ended up the paperboy was unarmed but because of the circumstances I would have been justified. God was with both of us that night and I don’t have to live with killing an unarmed person. I still think of that night and shutter.
Back to my brothers and sisters in church safety. When I go into any church and teach safety/security in a house of worship one of the things I stress over and over in my training is to get local law enforcement involved in any training they do. I am out here plugging for the churches to be a law enforcement friendly establishment. I explain to them how important it is to us, our law enforcement brothers and sisters, to have a place where when we can sit and work in peace. A place where we can come and take a break from the chaos of the world. We use to do our paperwork in the stations but now we do most of it in our cars so it is great to have a place to go and be able to sit for an hour and not get complained on. Churches, if you see an officer sitting in a car on your property go out and introduce yourselves to the officers, tell them how much you appreciate them and offer up a cup of coffee or a bottle water (I do not push donuts, too much of a stigma). Offer them a place they can use the restroom in private. Do you know how important that little thing is to us that work the street? It is huge.
This is to my brothers and sisters in law enforcement. We are constantly having to watch our backs and the crazies in this world are not our friends and most of the time want to do us harm, so making friends with a church is not a bad idea. Listen to me very careful here, what I am about to say could save your life for eternity. Every day I read articles where an officer shoots an unarmed person. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could go to a church that you have befriended and get prayers, comfort and peace? Even if you are justified the press is going to hound you and your family. Your own department while investigating the shooting is going to feel like the enemy at times and you are going to need a support team. Christ said bring Him your burdens. He placed churches in your life to go there and lay those burdens down. The churches and law enforcement are in a unique place right now; there are a lot of people out there that would like to see both of us just go away. Why are we not getting together and talking about serving each other?
Now I am not criticizing all law enforcement agencies. In fact I would like to give a shout out to a few that have been great supporters of our ministry. I must first start with the agency that still lets me carry a badge and asks nothing of me; the Port Richey Police Department. I talk about you in every presentation; I do. A special thanks to Pasco and Polk Sheriff’s departments. You trust me and constantly send Deputies out to assist us in our training. You have connected churches to us when they have asked for our type of training; training you aren’t allowed to do. Venice Police Department took a chance with us and asked us to come and do a church safety/security for their town and what an event it was. Because they heavily promoted the training, more than 300 attendees and over 80 churches were represented. Following them was the North Port Police Department. Everyone of these agencies get it. Churches with only 500 to 1500 members are the size of a small town. My church has 3000 members which is larger than the small town of Glen Rose I grew up in. Heck it is almost double of the population when I lived there in 1970. These agencies get that they cannot be at every church service. They would if they could but they understand that if something goes sideways in a church, the church has minutes before they can get there. We understand we must do everything in our power to protect the flock. In an active shooter incident that means barricading doors, getting people out of harm’s way and trying to slow the shooter down till help arrives. It also might mean going against the shooter with force. Those minutes until the professionals get there are going to feel like hours when people are getting hurt. In talking to a survivor at Sutherland Spring Baptist Church, she said it was around 16 minutes before the first 1st responded walked into the church. We have to be prepared and we must work together. If we don’t who has our backs.
Are We Ready?
Happy Easter, Christ has Risen! I found this description of Easter on the internet, “the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” See that, “the most important” of the Christian Church. That means we will be seeing our “Chreasters” soon. You know those that only come to church on Christmas and Easter. Of course we will also have the faithful that understand this is the most important celebration of our lives, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Because of several issues that have happened around the country and the world we are taking a little harder look at the safety for our church on Easter. Why would we do anything different than we would any other weekend, because Satan would love to disrupt or destroy a church during this most Holy celebration. Understand what is said here is only my opinions and my opinions only. The only bases for what I am about to say is my observation of the world and my experience in what we do for churches. These are things I think about as to why Easter is so different and we need to plan differently for it.
June 2018 the U.S. Department of Justice/ Federal Bureau of Investigation put out a publication called A Study Of The Pre-Attack Behaviors Of Active Shooters In The United States Between 2000 And 2013. In this article they looked at over 60 cases of active shooter and found that they were more likely to occur in an educational facility or a house of worship. This tells me there is still a lot of work for us to be doing and we cannot let our guard down at any time. We must be diligent on our walls and make sure that all is safe and our churches are open to those that are coming to worship, those that are hurting and we keep a watchful eye out for those wolves in sheep clothing.
Last week I was having dinner with a good friend that is a retired Norfolk Police Lieutenant. We started talking about the New Zealand Mosque shooting. He stressed to me that one of his greatest fears was that the next big shooting was going to happen at a vacation spot. He said not like at Disney or a big amusement park but like at a beach where on a really busy weekend families are out enjoying themselves when someone comes on the beach with a weapon and starts shooting. As we were sitting there talking I started thinking about how a lot of churches are going to be hosting an Easter egg hunt and a Sunrise Service. Maybe you have never thought about this being a potential target but after the dinner discussion I had with my friend I feel we need to pay more attention to what is going on around us instead of worrying about how many eggs have been found or how nice it is to have a service outside. This is what I am talking about, a habitual place where we feel nothing could happen. We have to be on alert to make sure this is the biggest celebration of the Christian Church and also the safest. Easter weekend make sure that you have Team Members at your doors with your Greeters, listen to your ushers. Make sure that you have at least two rovers in the parking lot because of the large amount of people that you are going to have coming and going at your churches. Remember “15 When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our own work.” Nehemiah 4:15.
Have a great and blessed Easter. Remember He has risen and conquered death so let’s celebrate!
When we started this ministry back in 2015, we were looking at just the education side of protecting houses of worship. As the incidents continue to increase there have been other things that have come to light that I feel, as an adviser to so many of you, need to be brought to your attention. We must review how we protect the flock. If we don’t have a plan in place I am afraid if a violent incident happens at your church, it will cause you to have to close your doors, forever.
Something that crossed my mind after the New Zealand Shooting and the recent suicides from the Parkland shooting is that we don’t talk enough about the aftermath of a tragic incident. Current suicides on church property and shootings at houses of worship bring up conversations we should be discussing if an incident like this happens on campus. There is so much more information that needs to be talked about. We are working on putting an after-incident training together for you. The Department of Homeland Security put out a brochure called “Active Shooter Recovery Guide” that has valuable information on what to do after a tragic event happens on your property but even when looking at this, it does not cover all that is about to happen. Understand we want to address immediate needs, ensure life safety, coordinate medical assistance, set up crisis communications for media response, assist the family reunification process, provide immediate crisis support and other assistance that is needed in such a tragedy.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg of what is going to be coming your way in the event of a tragic incident. Every month or so I see an article on the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church Shooting in Charleston, SC. You would think that after all of what they have been through they wouldn’t have issues like payment of donations and past financial issues. This tragedy is still hanging around for families and friends that have not being administered to. One of the things that DHS also says in their “Active Shooter Recovery Guide” is to be aware of post-incident scams and frauds. “The aftermath of some active shooter incidents has seen the formation of fraudulent charities and other scams that may re-victimize those affected and the general public who wish to contribute to a legitimate charity. In addition to seeking money, some of these solicitations may be “phishing” for personal information. Organizations should ensure that employees are made aware that such scams could occur.” So while trying to deal with deaths of loved ones there are those that are still trying to scam the victims. We do live in a fallen world.
A friend of mine sent me a text message recently asking if I had heard about “Active Shooter Insurance”. I was a little taken back on this because my impression was that most commercial general liability would cover anything that happened on your property. I was like do we really need to go this far and add “Active Shooter Insurance” to the mix? But what I didn’t realize is that most of your insurance companies do not know how to handle an active shooter incident and don’t want to handle this type of event. It is unfortunate that we have to start asking these questions, but it seems that we need to review our insurance policies to make sure in case of an active shooter you are not standing there asking why this is not covered.
Last year, at our conference, we had Barrett Harding Insurance talk about liability insurance for churches. I would rather be poked with a sharp stick than talk about or listen to someone discuss insurance. It appears I am the only one that feels that way because every time I walked by the room that was holding the insurance session, it was packed. When I saw this information on Active Shooter Insurance, I contacted our friend, Jeromy Harding and asked him if this was for real. “Yes, Jim, it is for real”. Jeromy quickly sent me over some brochures and a buyers guide on Active Shooter Insurance. I am still shaking my head that we have come to this point. After a brief history of why this has come about the buyer’s guide states “The Commercial General Liability may not respond unless the insured is deemed to be “liable” for the event. Typically, there are stated exclusions in the policy which may include employee as perpetrator, damage to property, business interruption or terrorism. In general, a policy may not include an event triggered, crisis management component which provides precontracted crisis response, including public relations, coverage for victim counseling services and unfortunately, funeral expenses.” What? Unless the insured is deemed to be “liable” for the event Commercial General Liability may not cover things like precontracted crisis response, including public relations, coverage for victim counseling service and funeral expenses.
This brochure continued with “A variety of organizations have a duty of care to maintain a safe environment for staff and visitors. In the event of an active shooter attack, they could be liable not only for civil action but regulatory action as well. There are significant challenges to organizations in securing their place of business while managing a vast throughput of people. These organizations are particularly at risk from a lone attacker who could enter a business unchallenged. Despite security measures, by design and necessity these places remain very open places. The reality of the needs of these buildings directly oppose much of what the security measures look to achieve.”
Did you notice the first sentence in the statement? “A variety of organizations have a duty of care to maintain a safe environment for staff and visitors.” You may tell me that the church does not fit in that category. I disagree. If you take the word “organization” out of it and put “church” we really do fit in this situation. You may also tell me that we have a better chance of being struck by lightning than to have an active shooter on campus; I agree. Are you sure you want to take that chance? What I am really saying here is in these fallen times we need to take a hard look at how we are protecting the church. Do we still feel that “it will not happen here?” Every survivor I have talked to that was involved in an active shooter or possible active shooter situation said the same thing; they couldn’t believe it was happening to them.
I reached out and contacted a lawyer friend of mine who handles cases like this. Some of his cases have involved physical altercations on school campuses and shootings at social events where security should have been put into place and were not. He said the owner of the business and school board is going to be in litigation for a long time. He went on to say that this litigation is costly and most cannot afford what happens to them and with a little bit of education on prevention and what to do afterward it most likely would have saved thousands of dollars in litigation. One of the things he recommended is that all businesses, churches and organizations that regularly hold meetings or are open for business must have some sort of safety plan in place to limit the liabilities of the policyholder. One of the things recommended in this brochure “Active Shooter Insurance” is to have a “security review audit and vulnerability assessment” with also scenario, workplace violence and awareness training to assist in keeping your place of worship safe. It also talked about having some sort of Crisis Management in place or having someone be on call to handle that if something ever happens to your house of worship”
So where do we go from here? The first thing I need is your help. We NEED a couple of churches that is willing to fill out an active shooter insurance application. (Email Wendy@TrinitySecurityAllies.com). This application will give us an idea of what we are looking at as far as cost goes. Jeromy explained to me that he can’t give us prices until we get a few of the applications filled out. When I asked why we could not just get a price list it was explained to me that this is brand new and they really don’t know what it would cost to provide active shooter insurance to a church. It also has to do with what state you live in and incidents that have happened in your area. Jeromy has promised that no salesperson will be contacting you, this is just so we can get some prices.
If you are still on the fence about a safety team, start looking at putting one together. If it has been a while since you have looked at your policy and procedures get them out, dust them off and look at them again and make sure they are up-to-date. Contact your insurance company and make sure you ask them specific questions about what they would do if you had an active shooter show up at your house of worship. Contact us with any question you may have on this issue and let us reach out to our resources to make sure you are covered.
This is a new issue that churches across the country are going to be facing in the near future. No matter what type of tragic incident you have on your property are you prepared? This is a gut-check situation because we don’t want to not be able to cover all the things that need to be done after such a tragic event. Once the incident is over, and first responders have shown up on your campus, the danger is over and everyone is safe, recovery takes over and it is not for the faint of heart. It will require a lot of work and a lot of faith that God is in control and will never put something in front of you that you can’t handle. As Julie Workman, a survivor from the Sutherland Spring Baptist Church said that God had been training her all her life for this one moment. He is training all of us for what we will face in the future. Let’s be prepared and ready to act when that moment comes.
Ezekiel 33 (NIV)
“33 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, 3 and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, 4 then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head. 5 Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.’”
What a month! God is on the move my brothers and sisters and the question I keep asking myself am I ready for the work? I got to sit down with my good friend Kevin Haggerty. Kevin has started a YouTube page called the Godlogic Project and if you can, go out and subscribe to his page at https://www.youtube.com/godlogicproject. The reason why this was such a big deal to me, Kevin and I met right after we started Trinity Security Allies and he has been a faithful follower and supporter of our ministry. Kevin is with Next Level Church (some people might know it as TN24) and they let us use their church for conceal weapon classes for free. If you have never heard Kevin speak you need to go to his page and click on one of his videos. He speaks the Word and does not sugarcoat it. Kevin interviewed me and we discussed church security and safety. He recorded this interview and will be putting this out on his YouTube page. More to come.
On February 13th, I had the opportunity to talk with Julie Workman. For those that don’t know who Julie Workman is, she is one of the survivors of the Sutherland Springs Baptist Church Shooting. I spent 90 minutes with Julie and all I kept hearing over and over again was about God’s love, strength and presence in such a horrific incident. Julie had two sons with her the day of the shooting. One of her sons was able to get out of the church with a minor injury. The other one who was leading the worship music was shot twice, one hitting his spine and taking away the use of his legs. Julie was also shot that day but God was with her. She said it felt like she was hit by a Mac truck but the bullet did not penetrate her chest. Not only was her testimony inspiring but her message was clear, God prepares us for whatever we may face. He does not put you out there without the knowledge and tools to do what may come our way. You see Julie is a nurse and works in the operation room. Because of her training, she was able to do triage on several of the victims and save lives that day. Without Julie there, her training and the presence of God in such a tragedy more lives would have been lost. I am hoping one day we all get to hear her talk about that day.
Back to the to the opening Bible verses. From the start of our ministry, I am always looking for Bible verses that support our ministry. To give an example we use Nehemiah 4:13-16 for why we do what we do. At a church training, someone asked me a question about hiring private security guards instead of using your own men and women in the church safety team. At that time I was in a study on John and I found John 10:11-13 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.” Please don’t start sending me emails about what is wrong with security guards, nothing if they are members of your church. We hire deputies to help with our traffic and after they are finished they patrol the campus and are a great deterrent but they leave after their time is up. Even if you have hired someone to do your safety, are you prepared if the private security or sworn law enforcement officers cannot show up on your campus? We are the sheepdogs of our church but we have to still be prepared even if we have other help.
So coming across Ezekiel 33 I thought to myself God is telling us that we must protect the church. As I read it, God is quite clear that as the times start to deteriorate and the attacks on the churches continue to grow, we the leaders of the church need to start preparing for the worse. Reading Ezekiel 33 I felt God will hold us accountable if we do not heed His warning and start protecting His Bride. Of course, when I read verses like this and go out and look to see what other scholars are saying about this I start to think I am trying to read something into it. Then I found someone who thinks like me (kind of scary isn’t it, hey Kevin found another guy that thinks like us).
Ken Cayce from Discover Books of the Bible wrote on Ezekiel 33 2 “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman,” Ken states “This message is as much for the ministers of our day, as it is for the people of Israel. The pastor of a church must also, be a watchman. He must look out to the world and warn his people of all danger. The minister is responsible for warning the people of spiritual things. Unfortunately, some ministers preach nothing but love and good times.” Now I don’t know about your pastor but mine is warning our members of the spiritual things but we need to expand this and talk about the physical dangers children of God are facing in our fallen world. We had a man come into our church this last Sunday that even made the deputies uncomfortable. Our pastor was up preaching, he didn’t have time to do what we do while this person was on the campus. This person was on the campus all three services and we finally had to remove him from the Worship Center so people could get back to worship.
Brothers and Sisters, I have said this over and over, we are chosen. This is not a position to be taken lightly. Let’s look at another part of Chapter 33. “3 and he (the watchman) sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, 4 then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head. 5 Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves.” This sounds fairly simple, we warn them, they don’t listen then their blood is on their own head. But then read on, “6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.’”
Follow me on this, Julie Workman said that one of the things she realized after the shooting that day in Sutherland Springs, God had been preparing her for that moment. At that moment when friends and family were dying around her, she stayed calm and worked on saving lives. God had trained her all her life for that one moment. It took 20 minutes before the paramedics got into the building. People with the injuries Julie was dealing with could have died within 5 minutes from their injuries if she had not been there. So if you have been called to take on the responsibility, not from your church, but you feel this calling from God, if you don’t stand up and warn your church of what is out here and it is only a matter of time before something bad is going to happen at your church, “but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.’”. Are we tracking yet?
We have come to a time where it is not a luxury to have a safety team on your campus it is a must. Two people this last month committed suicide inside a church. I am saddened that this happened on any church property but you know what I am glad of (don’t think of me as morbid). I am glad that these people did not take anyone with them. I am glad it wasn’t a suicide by cop where they walked into those churches and started killing members and waited to have a shootout with the cops. Sorry folks we need to wake up and start thinking about these situations.
No, I have not gone off the deep end. I read day after day what is happening around the country to churches and I am afraid of those that bury their heads in the sand and say, “it won’t happen here”. That was the same thing Julie thought on that beautiful November morning in the small town of Sutherland Springs. That was until reality sat in and evil came through the door and she found herself being used for what God had been training her for all her life.
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.