Building a Strong Church Safety Network: Three Strategies to Find Your Community 

by | Facilities, Security

In today’s world, even our most sacred spaces are not immune to danger. Karen’s story uncovers a pathway to reinforce our churches, both spiritually and in terms of security, emphasizing the power of community.

I first met Karen in 2017, a safety conscious church administrator from the West coast, who faced a profound challenge – to create a robust safety and security program at her church. There were three primary challenges that stood in her way:

  1. A prevalent resistance to establishing a security culture
  2. A deep-seated denial of dangers despite tragedies such as the 2017 mass shooting at the First Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and
  3. An entrenched belief voiced by many “In our church’s 30-year history we have been safe, so why change now?”

Many church leaders echo Karen’s sentiments and perhaps you are one of them. A reluctance to take these hurdles often stems from isolation. Leaders like Karen often lack an external support system, security mentors, and a broader community that shares and understands their unique challenges in church safety.

Engage The Power of Community in Overcoming Obstacles

A supportive church security community can serve as an anchor. Having a network to turn to, to learn from, and to strategize with, provides strength, resilience, and a multitude of perspectives. It can reignite the passion for the mission when spirits wane and provide clarity in confusion. In finding a community, Karen was able to move through her challenges, having the guidance of those that had been where she was. 

Engage with Facebook Groups

This is where platforms like Facebook Groups shine. They offer spaces to connect, share, and grow. The Church Executive Administration and Operations group, steered by Jake Douglas from Church Finance Pro, is a thriving community discussing the church’s business facets. Then there’s the Church Facility Management Solutions, stewarded by Tim and Lee Cool, which provides insights on different facility perspectives, that include security. Lastly, the Worship Security Academy, which I launched several years ago, aims to facilitate discussions on crimes in churches, risk management best practice, provides weekly live training sessions and offers a nurturing environment for individuals like Karen to learn more about how to protect HIS church. 

Join Noteworthy Associations

Broadening your horizons by aligning with reputed associations can be transformative. The Faith Based Security Network (FBSN), founded by Carl Chinn – a pioneer in church safety and security – is invaluable. Carl, who was instrumental in church security long before it became a mainstream concern, has crafted FBSN to be indispensable for church leaders. With its weekly coffee shop style calls, an annual conference, and a member’s forum, it acts as a nexus for leaders to share best practices, seek advice, and, most importantly, find a sense of belonging.

On the other hand, the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (ATAP), established in 1992, is a non-profit focused on promoting threat assessment and management. By joining ATAP, church leaders can equip themselves with knowledge and tools to better understand potential threats, secure their congregations, and foster a safe worship environment.

Attend Specialized Conferences

There are a magnitude of church safety and security conferences that are designed to help grow you as a church leader. Securing your Place of Worship is an online Church Safety Conference being held on September 19th and 20th of this month, focusing on emergency preparedness and crisis intervention.  

Attending specialized conferences like the Church Facilities Expo (CFX) provides a direct, hands-on approach to networking and discovering the latest trends in church security. The expo with 70+ session and 170 exhibitors, has a dedicated security pavilion, being the perfect place to connect with industry experts, discuss innovative security solutions, and further develop your support network. This year it isn’t too late, the conference is being held in Dallas, Texas, from Monday October 9th through Wednesday 11th. You can secure your spot here

So why is community important? 

Karen’s journey underscores the critical role community plays in our mission to safeguard our churches. By actively participating in groups, forging alliances with associations, and immersing yourself in conferences, we give ourselves invaluable resources. But more than that, we gain a community, a support system. A reminder that in unity, there’s monumental strength.

Simon Osamoh is one of the country’s leading experts in securing houses of worship. He is a British American and founder of Kingswood Security Consulting and the Worship Security Academy. Simon spent 14 years as a Detective in England working on serious and organized crime. He moved to the United States to Head Counter Terrorism at Mall of America, Minnesota. Simon is a Christian and has spent over two decades helping non-profits stay safe and secure. He is the author of two bestselling books 10 Powerful Strategies for Conflict De-escalation and Securing Church Operations. Simon is the host of Worship Security Academy – The Podcast. He has served Westwood Community Church, in Excelsior Minnesota as Security Advisor for over a decade. 

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