Church Safety in the Twenty-First Century

by Ben Crawshaw

The headlines are out there …

“FBI Issues Warning to U.S. Churches After ISIS Calls for Terror Attacks”
The Blaze, December 23, 2016

“Lagrange Police Officer Talk to Members of the Faith Community about How to Protect Themselves and Survive During an Incident Involving an Active Shooter”
Lagrange Daily News, January 18, 2017

“Lawmaker Aims to Lower the Cost for Churches That Want Security Officers”
KXAN (NBC Affiliate) January 16, 2017

“Church Treasurer, Husband Accused of Embezzlement”
Pierce County Herald, December 27, 2016

And here’s one more for you …

“Playground Safety in Mid-Missouri Becomes Federal Case”
Dale Singer, January 3 2017

What do all these headlines have in common? They sit atop stories (and you’ll notice recent ones at that) which have to do with church safety.

And here’s one thing I find most amazing in those headlines. The Lagrange Daily News article goes on to talk about how the information shared by the local police officer was part of a Church Safety Summit that was sponsored by a local organization.

In an increasingly violent world, people care about church safety. So much so that they’re organizing community awareness and education events addressing the subject.

Kinda makes you think, doesn’t it? As a church leader, what do I not know that could hurt me or my church?

Because what you don’t know about church safety, let’s face it, can hurt you.

I’ve spent the past several months researching this very subject. I’ve interviewed leaders at a church that employs 450 staff members. I’ve pulled data from one of the safety experts serving churches today. And I’ve determined that there are SIX areas that most churches fall short (in knowledge or practice or both) when it comes to ensuring their members’ safety.

AREA 1 – Background Checks.

AREA 2 – Human Resources.

AREA 3 – Facility Safety.

AREA 4 – Child Safety.

AREA 5 – Insurance.

AREA 6 – Safety Procedures.

So why is this, why are these areas of concern for most churches.

Simply put … when it comes to church safety, most church LEADERS are under-informed and overwhelmed.

They don’t know what they don’t know. And what’s worse is, as organized bodies, these churches fail to have the right systems, checklists, and best practices in place to prevent an otherwise preventable disaster.

Unless you’re one of the 4% of the churches out there who have robust safety systems and proper protocols, chances are, you need help.

I’m working on something to help you.

Stay tuned.