The Federal Government has issued a report advising that churches increase security measures in order to help protect against shootings during church services. Gunmen can target a pastor, someone in the congregation, or believers as a whole, and it is wise for someone to be on guard and equipped to handle a deadly situation.
Church services are meant to be a time of worship with the Lord, where many come to find rest and peace for their hurting hearts. It is uncommon for congregants to be aware of their surroundings during the service –many close their eyes while praying and listen attentively to the sermon. Unfortunately, shooters have taken advantage of worship gatherings.
Shootings have occurred all over the United States, and have been increasingly common in recent years. In June, a man was shot in the back of the head at a Catholic church in Salt Lake City. A few years ago in Colorado Springs, an armed female security guard took down the gunman at her church after he had killed two people in the church parking lot.
A well-known church in Dallas, Texas, has also had its share of security incidences. One member who serves on the welcome team told her story of an alarming incident at the church - “[A man] came into connections central wanting to know if we had a prison ministry. He was very aggressive, so I passed him off to a pastor,” she said. The man belligerently questioned the pastor’s credentials, and then later walked up to the stage during the service and emptied his pockets of some change. “Apparently, he did not like the [pastor’s] message,” she said. He proceeded to walk into the foyer of the church, yelling loudly until the police intervened. There was also another incident where a woman dressed in a long black robe came into the church, claiming to be a witch. Thankfully, these incidents were resolved and no one was harmed.
Security personnel are increasingly common in churches, many of whom dress in civilian clothing. Opaque Security offers training for laymen and for pastors to help protect their flock in case of an emergency.