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Start here: Some first steps for churches


"My hope for those who attended my breakout is that they went back to their churches having their minds around some simple, first steps to launch a security ministry," said Alan Dodson, a regional consultant for the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

Dodson's was one of seven breakout sessions offered during the KBC's recent Church Security Conference at Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort. He offered five steps for church leaders:

Alan Dodson

Step 1—Make some basic commitments. "Before implementing a plan, seek consultation from your local law enforcement agency and your insurance provider," Dodson suggested. Every effort should be made to consider this a ministry, and it should function discretely, he said. In addition to church staff, the ministry should collaborate with the greeting and ushering ministries.

Step 2—Secure a ministry leader and team. "There are likely persons in your congregation for who this ministry would be an opportunity for meaningful service," Dodson noted, emphasizing that the pastor does not need to lead the church's security team. A simple security team could be comprised of three people—a unit leader at the primary entrance and parking and building monitors, he explained.

Step 3—Articulate your security plan. Security volunteers needs to thoroughly describe the plan to the congregation and key leaders in parallel ministries such as greeting and ushering, Dodson said. Among key points to cover are general security, emergency evacuation, medical emergency, extreme weather conditions, and incident reporting.

Step 4—Assess your campus. Conduct a walk-through of the church building, looking for a window in and lock on each door where a small group meets, places where someone could hide, and dangerous areas, he said. "All exterior exits should be equipped with 'panic' hardware and door closers," he suggested, adding that adequate exterior lighting and proper fencing around children's areas should be considered.

Step 5—Provide for ministry needs of the security team. Basic equipment could include two-way radios with ear pieces, access to a phone, flashlights and identification sashes, he said.

All churches, regardless of setting or size, need to take measures to help keep congregants and guests safe. For more information contact your KBC Regional Consultant who is available to bring same type of first step training offered last Saturday directly to your church. (WR)

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