How to Keep Churches Safe, Yet Inviting

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A recent church shooting that resulted in the death of an Illinois pastor has raised concern over church safety.

Officials say the First Baptist Church in Maryville, where Pastor Fred Winters was shot and killed Sunday, had a type of security plan in place, but that it dealt more with responding to an attack rather than preventing one altogether.

Virginia Beach, Va., Pastor Randy Singer says it's important for church leaders to take the safety of their congregation seriously, but to also trust God and make sure security plans keep the church an "open and welcoming place."

"You don't have metal detectors at church [or] the kinds of security programs that you do at airports because that's just not what a church is," he told CBN News.

Click play for CBN News coverage of this story. Also, click here for more of Pastor Randy Singer's comments on church safety.

"God wants us to be smart in the way we plan things... so you should have security plans in place," Singer added. "[But] we're not called to have a spirit of fear. We're called to have a spirit of love."

According to the Christian Security Network crimes against U.S. churches are common.

In fact, there have been more than 130 crimes from arson to burglary committed against Christian churches since the beginning of 2009, including Sunday's attack.

CSN Executive Director Jeffrey Hawkins says church security isn't expensive. The group also offers several online seminars on church safety.

Police are still trying to unfold the chain of events in Sunday's deadly shooting.

An affidavit released Tuesday said that Winters tried to run from his attacker before he was shot.

Gunman Terry Sedlacek carried enough ammunition to kill 30 people, but was only able to fire four rounds before the gun jammed.

The church says they are praying for Sedlacek and a pastor has also met with his family.

*Originally aired March 10, 2009.

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