Our response to safety in our home = Our response to safety at church.
Picture this…It’s the middle of the night. The whole family is sleeping. All the doors and windows are locked. Security system is set to alert you if anyone tries making entry from outside. Suddenly, the alarm goes off. You wake up and respond to the hallway where the stairs lead up to. At the bottom of those stairs is the front door where the alarm has been triggered. The door is wide open and two men are rushing up the stairs with deadly weapons in their hands. The hallway that you’re in is the same hallway which gives access to all the bedrooms, including those of your children. You are obviously afraid for the safety of you and your family.
How do you respond? What actions do you take? Do you retrieve any items to protect you and your family? Think about your response. Now that you have thought of your response, I want you to now change a major detail…the location. It’s no longer in your home, but now a Church building. All your family is still present, and it’s obviously during the day. Same scenario with two men armed with deadly weapons rushing towards you and your family. Before proceeding, quickly think of your response.
How did your response to protect your family change? If it did, why? Did you have any reservations with using force as a reaction now that you’re in a church building? Did you have something in your mind telling you to take the “godly” route since it was church? Did that make you question whether or not your original response in the “Home” scenario was Christian enough? I’m going to guess that you still wouldn’t change your reaction to be any less forceful in the home scenario…and I don’t blame you. However, it’s the response inside the church building that I want to focus on…
Hi, my name is Michael Simmons. I am an intern here at Kensington Church for the 2016/2017 year. The focus for my internship is…Church Security. Yes, Kensington, along with many other churches today, have members of their congregation who assist with the overall safety of the church family and guests…a.k.a. Church Security Teams. If someone told me that I would be working in a church, I would have thought they were nuts. All my life I have had plans on being in Law Enforcement. I based everything on that idea…my behavior, my education, my way of life. Yes, you would think God was enough of a motivator in those departments, but at that time I didn’t allow Him to be. I moved my entire life down south and was a Police Officer down there until last July. Being a Police Officer, I experienced many interesting things: Tactical training, communication skills, physical altercations, verbal de-escalation techniques, perception of body language and facial expressions, life threatening situations…overall, the idea and application of protection and safety of others. One of the biggest things I experienced is the evil that man CAN do. Murders to robberies, sexual crimes to domestic violence. Christians or non-Christians, victims are victims, and the evil of one can affect the physical safety of another. Did you notice what I said? I said “the evil of one can affect the PHYSICAL safety of another”. I think it is important to understand this idea. I’m not talking about the Spiritual safety of someone. If we believe in Jesus and what He did for us, then our Spiritual safety is nothing to be concerned about. I’m referring to the physical safety of people. Just because we’re suddenly inside a church building doesn’t make us less of believers in God if we’re aware of our safety. As Christians we utilize safe practices in all other areas of our lives, so why should our practices be different once we come into the church building, or vice versa. So, the focus for my writings is based on the idea that Church security teams and protocols along with the overall response inside the church building shall be biblical, but as Christians, our response should be the same in all areas of our life. To simplify what I’m saying:
Our response to safety in our home and personal life = Our response to safety at church
“Wait, is he saying that we should act the same at the home as we do at church?” Yes, yes I am. I apply that way of thinking not just in how we speak, what we watch, how we behave, but I also apply that to how we respond and take precautions when it comes to the safety and security of our lives. I don’t believe Christians lack faith in God any less because of taking safety precautions within a church. I say this because we don’t consider it as less faith when we apply safety precautions at home or in our personal lives. We have fire extinguishers in our homes to combat possible fires. Home security systems to protect our homes, people, and contents inside. We lock the doors of our homes, vehicles, lockers, cabinets, etc. Even in the church building itself, we support security precautions even without a security ministry. The doors, walls, the overall structure follows strict codes to adhere to fire regulations. The front entrances to the church building become locked after a certain time. Certain entrances require keycard access-even certain floors are restricted to authorized individuals. We have all these things in place to help secure the building, staff, volunteers, and guests. Everyone is ok with these safety precautions and do not consider it as lacking in faith in God to protect us. However, when it comes to Church Security teams, controversy begins.
Suddenly, Matthew 5:39 gets used, “But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also”. Suddenly, according to one’s interpretation, it’s unbiblical to stop the evil that someone is committing against another because its occurring in a church, on a mission trip, during a Christian event, etc. Even though if a deadly force incident occurred inside your home, you wouldn’t have any issues or doubts whether or not you were acting in a Christian manner. However, because it’s related to church, we think we MUST NOT respond in a way that is defending or protecting ourselves and that we MUST witness to that individual at that very moment. I’m certainly not saying we shouldn’t witness to people because that is our purpose on this earth. The issue is being inconsistent or trying to separate our response depending on where we’re physically standing at that moment. God is working in us at all times and we’re required to be living a life under Him. Therefore, no matter where we’re physically standing, we’re always spiritually standing with Him.
Is being persecuted for one’s faith in Jesus an amazing testimony to the power of Jesus? Yes, it absolutely is. Is this world the end for us? No. It is merely a stepping stone to the Kingdom of God. We are only borrowers of everything in this world-We are Stewards. Our body, the words we speak, the thoughts we think, our actions…. they all belong to God. After all, if we die at the hands of someone wanting to do us harm, whether it’s inside a church or not, we’re just losing something that never belonged to us in the first place and we get to join Jesus for eternity. However, why don’t we apply that type of thinking to everything then, that way we can be consistent? If we’re not supposed to “resist an evil person”, then why have any security measures in place at all? Unlock all doors of your home, vehicles, and businesses. Allow your children to interact with dangerous criminals in the middle of the night while you’re asleep. Of course, logic and protection is now taking over and you wouldn’t be passive about the safety of your loved ones from the evil that lurks. Well, fortunately, we’re not alone in this type of thinking. Jesus wasn’t passive about the physical safety against the harm from evil ones either.
Matthew 5:39, in my opinion, implies an attitude to have the love for God and not seek vengeance. Jesus gives examples with the disciples of being aware of evil, being proactive about personal safety, and taking measures to defend themselves. Matthew 10:16, “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among the wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves”. In Luke 22:36, “And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one!”. Jesus was telling his disciples to be proactive with their safety, therefore, they could continue to live and spread the Good News. That is the purpose for Church security teams, to protect those who are spreading the Good News.
I support Kensington Church and its initiative to protect our church family. That’s why I am focusing on this area for my internship. I believe we must be proactive with our safety and protection, even inside a church. I also believe Kensington’s security teams must be more than just a group inside a church, but an actual ministry. We must be training more than the arts and worship teams, but not just in physical tactics. We must be training in spiritual tactics as well. We must be servants of Christ as well as protectors. That is my goal for the rest of the internship. To join the efforts of the serving members of the security teams and lead the charge to being Warriors for Christ. Please keep the Kensington Church security ministry in your prayers.
For more information in regards to data relating to incidents occurring on church property, please click the link: http://www.carlchinn.com/deadly-force-statistics.html
It happens more often than you think…