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Protecting Your Church From Acts of Violence: 'We Must Prepare for Events Like This'

Protecting Your Church From Acts of Violence: 'We Must Prepare for Events Like This' Read Transcript

Tim Miller is a former Secret Service agent and 30-year law

enforcement and military professional.

As president and founder of Lionheart International

Services Group, he advises churches

and other organizations on security.

Tim, thanks for joining us.

Mark, thanks for having me.

It's an honor to be here.

First of all, what was your reaction to the church shooting

in Tennessee?

Were you surprised?

You know Mark, I wish I could say I was, but I wasn't.

When you look at all that's going on in the world and now

in our country, unfortunately, this

is something that's not only going to occur more regularly.

It's going to become more and more serious.

And so I think it's a great reminder to the churches

that we must prepare for events like this.

What's your opinion of the young man who

actually stopped the shooter?

Well, I think he's a hero.

I think he clearly did what he needed to do at the time,

and stepped up, and was willing to risk his life

to save others.

And so my thoughts and prayers are

with all of the wounded and the families out there.

But it clearly shows you that it is critical

that people are prepared to act when something like this


When we train churches across the country,

we stress the importance of not trying to figure it out

for the first time when it happens,

but actually training your ushers, greeters, parking lot


Because security's all about making something not happen,

not waiting for it to happen and then responding.

Well, this was not a mega church or a huge organization.

But it brings home that even smaller churches need

to be prepared, doesn't it?

It sure does, Mark.

And that's a great point because when you look statistically

at violence against churches, believe it or not,

more than 50% of the violent incidents at churches

happen during the week.

So it's a reminder that it's not even just about the weekend


It's about having security during the week.

And I believe that the body of Christ

is ready to stand up and address this threat.

They just need good training.

They need some folks that from the leadership perspective,

the pastoral perspective look at it as something

that's really needed.

And I think most pastors by and large do.

Our world's changing, unfortunately.

And I think although we know the end of the story eventually,

we're going to go through some hard times in the in-between.

Well, break it down for us.

How can churches prepare for such an attack?

So Mark, the most important thing any church can do

is to begin the planning process.

That means you get the leadership together.

And I don't care if you're a church of 50.

You need to have conversations about starting with the basics.

What do I do if there's a fire, and then weather emergency?

And then active shooter is obviously

in that training component.

But I found that as churches begin

to address this through the eyes of ministry, that's

when it gets pretty cool.

Because you've got people in your congregation

that maybe have some law enforcement

or some military backgrounds, and they're naturally

going to have some training that's going to help.

And I've heard others that encourage hiring security

guards from the outside.

I don't necessarily ascribe to that,

because I believe the body of Christ can rise up to this.

I tell churches it takes three things to have a great church

security program.

Great-hearted team, great training, and great technology.

And even things like cameras now that used to be exorbitant,

they're very reasonable.

You can get eight-packs at some of the Walmarts

for their HD quality.

So all those things come together.

Any church in the country can do it, and it starts with a plan.

Well you say church security should also be ministry-based.

What does that mean?

Well, Mark, when you look at anything that body of Christ

does, it should be ministry-based.

I often tell churches when I come,

security should be just another ministry,

much like a worship ministry.

Can you imagine if the worship team

didn't have great-hearted people, and training,

and rehearsal, and the technology, the guitars,

how bad it would be?

And church security's just another ministry.

It's an opportunity to serve the Lord with skills.

And I think if you don't have it with a ministry focus,

it can actually compete against what

the church is trying to do.

Because we don't want churches being lockdown centers.

We want to have skilled people that

understand that the hurting, the people that really need help

are coming, because we're a hospital.

And we want to make sure that the ministry focus of what

we do is first and foremost.

But we also stand prepared to stop those in their tracks

that want to hurt us.

What do you say to people, Tim,

who say God will take care of us, so we don't need security?

You know I love that, because I love what my pastor says.

And he says, you pray as if it all depends on God,

but you work as if at all depends on you.

And I think when you look through scripture,

you see time and time again that God

uses people to do what the body of Christ is required to do.

So I think as a shepherd too that you have a responsibility

to protect the flock of God.

And that's also physical.

So I think things like fire drills,

and things like caring for our children,

and things like weather emergencies,

and unfortunately now in the new world

we live, things like active shooters,

we need to have a focus.

Because what I've learned with churches

is if the pastors and the elders don't value it,

it's not going to go well.

All right.

Tim Miller, thanks so much for your time today,

and thanks for your insights.

Important information for the body of Christ.

Thanks Mark, again, for having me.

You bet.


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