Some of the teens in the church youth group were gang members or gang members. The youth group meeting was canceled one afternoon due to a special event that was about to take place.
Many churches operate on tight budgets, but this is no excuse for not having some security procedures in place to protect the building and the people who frequent it.
Here are Korean Jesus tips that can go a long way toward creating a safe environment.
- Train the helpers. Ask helpers to greet anyone who comes to the service and to greet them as they shake hands and look them in the eye. Marshals are to escort visitors unfamiliar with the church building to restrooms, nurseries, etc.
- Know who has the keys to the church. This is especially important if the church building is used by more than one congregation. There should be a policy on who can have access to the keys and what areas of the church they can have access to.
- Be careful when programming. Try to have meetings, activities, etc., after Church service, if possible. Know where the church is located and get an idea of how people travel to and from the church. If something needs to happen during the week, do it early enough so that people don’t go out late at night.
- Have a sufficient number of volunteers to serve, especially for “open door” ministries such as food pantries. The more people available to keep things running smoothly and keep an eye out for unusual incidents, the better.
- If staff are in church during the week, ask those who arrive first in the morning to come through the building and see if there are any windows or front doors open. You should also check for signs of theft and / or vandalism.
- The secretary should follow up on any unusual phone calls or emails. People would be surprised at attempts to buy churches for money and other things. There were also threats to pastors, church staff, and volunteers.
- Have a written contingency plan for emergencies such as fire and make sure that church staff, volunteers, and counselors are familiar with it.
- The pastor should visit the local police station or invite the chief of police to a church meeting to discuss the church presence. Another good idea is to ask the police to walk around the church and give you advice on how to make the building safer.
- If there is a youth ministry, you should try to meet the parents / guardians of the youth who are involved in this ministry.
- Be careful not to allow people to do community service in the church. The pastor was yelled at and threatened by a man who was waiting for the pastor to sign documents indicating that all hours of community service had been completed, which was not the case.