Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Ministry of Church Security

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Last Sunday afternoon while riding with a pastor to his church, we got to talking about ministers hiring security personnel for protection. My friend told me of a Messianic pastor he knows who has bodyguards because of death threats. Little did we know a mass shooting had just taken place at a church in Texas. A lone gunman killed twenty-six people plus wounded twenty others at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. Two men then chased after the killer who was eventually killed himself.

Ever since 9/11, many places in America have implemented increased security including churches. Occasionally, I’ve been asked to have my backpack examined, which I use to carry my laptop for taking notes during services. This used to annoy me. Then last year at a church leadership conference, I attended a workshop taught by the man in charge of security there. The information he shared gave me a greater appreciation for what they do. One thing he pointed out was his team look at their jobs as a ministry.

After learning of the attack in Sutherland Springs, I thought of what Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, “…and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” The Body of Christ should never cower in fear but stay on the offensive by fulfilling the Great Commission. Don’t forget we also have God’s angels for protection (see Psalm 91:11). Once I heard John Hagee talk about a time when a gunman came up to him during a service and fired six shots point blank. Not a single bullet hit Pastor Hagee. Nevertheless, John has security men stationed near him while he preaches to discourage future assailants. 

One shouldn’t be critical of First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs for not doing enough to prevent this tragedy. A generation ago, something like this would have been unthinkable in America. Satan is now exerting great wrath knowing he has a short time left (Revelation 12:12). Two years ago, a white supremacist killed nine African-American worshipers at a Bible study in Charleston, South Carolina. Eight years before that, a megachurch in Colorado Springs was attacked by a gunman who killed two people. That death toll might have been higher if a member of the church’s safety team hadn’t carried a licensed firearm. 

In these last days, every believer needs to be alert naturally and spiritually. Pastors can do their part by keeping their congregations covered in prayer and (if the Lord leads them to) step up security at their church.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” - 1 Peter 5:8

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