Protecting Staff Members Is a 'Must Do' for Churches

Church security is a broad undertaking. A variety of situations may call the church’s security team to action, but protecting staff members may be one of its chief responsibilities. Staff members can be some of the most vulnerable people to consider when forming a security program.

Minimize Staff Vulnerability

During the week, staff members may spend time alone at the church or working with just a handful of others. To strengthen security for employees, ministries can follow these procedures:

  • Limit the number of entry points and lock the doors when the church is not hosting a ministry program. Consider installing a security system that allows employees to see and talk to visitors remotely before allowing them into the building during off-hours.
  • Place staff inside multiple layers of protection and position key offices behind several layers of security. For example, make it difficult for someone to walk in the door and have easy access to the pastor.
  • Equip staff members with a panic button or silent alarm so they can send for help if they find themselves in threatening situations where they need to discreetly alert authorities.
  • Provide de-escalation training so staff members know how to calm down angry people.
  • Make sure the parking lot is safe and schedule more than one staff member to secure the building before locking up.
  • Secure bank deliveries by making deposits during banking hours and traveling to the bank with another trusted person. Store money in a safe if an immediate bank deposit isn’t possible.

Communication is Key

Churches staff members and the security team should talk regularly, discussing any concerns either group may have. Communication also is important when it comes to security during worship services. For example:

  • The pastor should share worship plans with the security team in advance, so all parties will know when something unexpected occurs.
  • The pastor can establish a code word to alert security when a dangerous situation develops.

When something unexpected occurs during worship services, reaction is often slow because the congregation initially believes it’s part of a skit. The safety and security team can minimize harm by communicating, reacting immediately, and controlling the situation until additional help arrives.