Many church leaders are familiar with the hazards and threats that churches face today. Proactive worship organizations have put in place security measures as a result. However, many are concerned that they may not be doing enough to prepare their church members to respond appropriately to security-related emergencies.
For this reason, every church needs a church security ministry: a group of church members or leaders and a security system aimed at keeping the church safe. Whether your church security ministry is in its early stages or is fully up and running, here are some insights that might be useful to your security operation. We look at the proper structure of a church security ministry and one of the latest access control solutions.
Establishment and Oversight of a Church Security Ministry
When churches operate the security ministry haphazardly, it not only becomes a liability, but also a waste of time and resources that can distract from the overall mission of the church. Security requires proper direction and oversight from church leaders. The following structure ensures that your church security ministry is effective and efficient.
An Oversight Board or Council
This board should play the leading role in the formation and oversight of the church security ministry. Along with an appointed security director and the pastor, the board should develop the procedures and policies that guide the operations of the security ministry. The governing board should meet at least once annually to carry out a risk assessment and review the church's security policy.
A Security Director
The governing board and the pastor should select a security director. Ideally, the director should be a church member that continues to demonstrate spiritual discernment and maturity. Even though military or law enforcement training would be preferable, it shouldn’t be a compulsory requirement for this role. The security director should oversee the security ministry’s overall operations, such as vetting and training volunteer security staff, purchasing security equipment, etc.
A Church Security Team
The security team should consist of church members who are physically capable, qualified to serve and willing to respond to the security needs of the church in the event of a critical incident or security crisis. While church security team members with law enforcement or military training would be ideal, formal security training shouldn’t be the sole criteria for selection.
After selecting a church security team, the security ministry should conduct an orientation that covers the vision, purpose, and protocols for the security ministry. Schedule regular meetings for developing proficiency with the action plans and procedures that the ministry establishes.
Security team members should be fluent in protocols for lock-downs and evacuation and response to disruptive members and medical emergencies. They should be familiar with service time protocols, pre-service checks, and their specific assignments and roles. Membership in the security team should be rotational, with team members being required to participate in worship and services.
Solidify Your Church Security with Cloud-Based Access Control Systems
Church security ministries should own most, if not all, of the essential security tools needed to keep the church safe. Examples include 2-way radios, traffic safety vests, flashlights, training materials, traffic control devices, and surveillance cameras. To further reduce vulnerability to attack, many leading churches today rely on the latest commercial access control systems.
Among these systems is cloud access control, a reliable security system that addresses the top security challenges that churches face. This system lets your church security team use the church WiFi network to remotely manage access to all the church’s access points from a central location. As a result, the security ministry has a leaner and more efficient security team.
Regardless of the size of the church, with cloud-based access control, an administrator can use a smartphone or computer to control all the locks and alarms. Cloud-based access control systems feature electronic components that use sensors and alarms to detect dangers and electric strike or magnetic locks to bar entry. Implementing a cloud-based system requires no construction, which is often expensive and disruptive.
The elegance of a cloud-based access control solution can be the perfect tool to maximize security without disrupting normal church proceedings. The security director can be in charge of the role-based authorizations, providing each security team member with a level of access that matches their role. The security system also gathers data and serves analytics that can give the oversight board with accurate insights for reviewing the church's security policy.