Let me inject a word of caution taking this whole issue to seriously. It is one thing to go to great lengths to make the nursery secure from non-custodial parents kidnapping their own kids or a pedophile molesting a child. it is another thing for churches to put bars on the windows and doors and make people push a button to enter the church. I have never seen a growing church with bars on the windows or buttons to push to enter the church. I have seen churches with security guards. We had one every Friday and Saturday night for our parents day out.
Common sense has to prevail at this point. if our security measures get in the way of being a church where people can walk in off of the streets, then we cease to be a church. We are not living in catacombs or sewers today. If being the church puts our lives in jeopardy, then that is our calling and we should accept it. But to close out the world is not within any calling I have seen in the scriptures. We can refuse to work in that location. We can refuse a calling to that location. But we cant lock up the church of God and call it a church. That’s beyond comprehension. It reveals the fear that permeates the church. It shows our lack of faith in God. It shows how much we value our lives compared to the divine mission entrusted to us.
I worked with a church several years ago with bars everywhere and buttons to push to get in. I asked why. I was told that street people used to show up asking for money and it scared the secretaries. I asked if anyone had ever been hurt. they said no. Right across the street was a Sears store. It didn’t have bars. Down the street was a seven-eleven. it didn’t have bars. Only the church of God had bars.
Wedgewood is still an anomaly and would remain such if the press would leave it alone and we would do more relational evangelism and social justice. when the church begins to plan around anomalies, it is over for that church.
Don’t go overboard with security. If anything, err on the side of lack of security.
- Safe and Secure: The Alban Guide to Protecting Your Congregation by Jeff Hanna, 1-800-486-1318 (not available in bookstores) www.guideonecenter.com
- For background checks on potential employees see Clear Investigative Advantage (CIA) 2003, 1-888-CIA-2503, click here