You get a phone call from you Pastor, “Jim, we are going to have to suspend our church services due to a terrorist bomb threat”. Crazy you say? UCANews out of Asia reported that the “Philippine bishops vow to put public safety first after foiled plot targeting the US embassy. Masses and other liturgical services in the Philippine capital Manila would be suspended if there is an imminent threat to people’s safety, a Philippine bishops’ conference official said Nov. 29”.
But Jim, that is way over across the water, nothing like that would ever happen here in the United States. Really? It almost did in Memphis last Easter Sunday. In October we saw an extreme Islamic suspect, again in Tennessee, driving around shooting up churches in the Bedford County area. The suspect had shot at least three separate churches in the region only to be caught later by the police in the area of one of the shootings. This suspect stated on his Facebook page “I’m just doing my job as a messenger for my Lord, I owe absolutely everything to Allah because he has set me free from my spiritual cage.”
And if extreme Islamic terrorism is not enough to get your attention, how about the mentally ill, domestic violence or just plain evil. Just this last week a “Florida man was arrested for making Pulse-style massacre threats against church that welcomes ‘sick homosexuals’”. The scary part about this suspect is that he attended the church he threatened to shoot up. This church gave him food and took him to the hospital when he got sick. He even marched with this church in a gay pride parade. Once again, this subject made threats on his Facebook page (noticing a pattern here)? “The Miami Beach Community Church is filled with a bunch of sick homosexuals. Orlando will look small to what is coming to Miami Beach”. He even went on to say that he had found a person that was going to sell him an assault rifle. Now here is the part of the article that I find interesting and I bring it up all the time, when do we say “enough is enough”? This is not the first time they had an issue with this subject. Last year he created a disturbance in the church; as the police were taking him out of the church he threatened the minister, his family and a church staff member. Why was that person allowed back in the church? Understand, I would like to believe everyone we encounter gets saved and is promised the opportunity to go to the Promise Land. I wish I could believe all will go there but even the Bible tells us that is not the case. When are we as a church going to understand this and stop trying to save those that will not listen and those that do not see? We are in changing times brother and sisters and it only takes one incident to bring your church to its knees.
And if this isn’t enough to bring your church leaders together and talk about the safety of your church, I will say this one more time, we are under attack. Churches across the United States are seeing more and more vandalisms against their buildings. Whatever your stance is on same sex marriages, abortion and even your political views, you are a target. One church in Evansville, IN found it members being intimidated by graffiti and threats made to those that attend. This church feeds the needy which requires a multitude of volunteers. What happens if your church members and volunteers don’t feel safe anymore? Will you get that phone call from your church leader saying “we won’t be having church services this weekend because the volunteers and staff are afraid to come to church”?
This last month I was contacted by one of my favorite minister from another church. He told me that recently at a Sunday service they had a situation where a domestic issued happened during their church service. A young woman who had a child with her ex-boyfriend was now afraid of him and didn’t want to be around him. This young man showed up at church and started a scene and was escorted off the property. This minister called me and asked me what they should do and I advised of how they should handle the situation. They were afraid; they were afraid that he might come back with a gun. They have talked to me on several occasions about church safety. At times, I feel like some of the church leaders just don’t get it. My friend does. I could tell he was physically upset over this incident because he no protection during this scary time. What does it take a boyfriend that waits for his ex-girlfriend in the parking lot and then he hurts or even worse kills her? What does it take to get serious about protecting the flock? Are your leader of your church listening, or will I turn on the TV one day and see your church on Fox News? It is not a matter of if it is going to happen it is only a matter of when.
12/6/2016 06:50:18 am
Thanks Bro.Jim for this article. Not having church is exactly what the enemies of the church want, force the church into submission with just a threat and the those that are unprepared will do just that. The words of Prime Minister Winston Churchill come to mind, Never, Never, Never I say Never Give Up. Instead of giving up we must look up and be prayed and practiced up.
Gary W. Tilman
12/6/2016 10:14:14 am
Jim: most thought-provoking! I would hope (but doubt) that all religious institution leadership is as attuned to dangers as is the pastor friend you mentioned. Like in your and my LE experience, domestics are a tremendous risk. We plan for terrorists, but domestics may be more prevalent and hidden in plain sight. I believe often restraining orders assist with cjarges after instead of preventing contact before.
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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.