Prayer and preparation! The bible says to not live in fear, but that we must also use wisdom. Churches are beginning to do that more and more often, as they assemble armed security teams to protect the assembly from anyone who means to do harm. Given today’s society, that could happen at any time. Therefore, more churches are picking up arms and training security teams. They are doing what they feel is necessary to defend the house of the Lord.
Sam Hopkins, on a church safety team in Butler County, stated: “We’ve turned the church from a soft target to a hard target.”
Hopkins and Nick Gibson have been on the safety team at a Butler County church since its inception nearly a decade ago. At the parish’s request, we are not naming the church or its location.
Hopkins continued, “I had never seen so many people come in the church that we didn’t know … that’s because they thought everyone would be in the sanctuary.”
Gibson added on, “If someone shows up to the church to do harm, we will stand in the gap,” he said, “They’re not just going to show up and do whatever they want to do.”
The security team said prayer and preparation have them ready for the worst.
“The safety of the parish is No. 1,” Jim Hardman, from 88 Tactical, said. “It’s not if it’s going to happen, it’s when it’s going to happen.”
Hardman trains the security team. He’s a weapons and law enforcement expert.
“It only makes sense to be trained for the worst and hope you never see it,” Hardman told WLWT. “In this day and age, not having an armed security team, you’re just gonna’ cause more problems down the road. They are a preventer and a deterrent.”
WLWT found 248 violent incidents on religious property nationwide in 2015. Of the people killed, more than half were directly related to the church.
“It’s really become a mindset change,” Hardman said.
Hardman keeps a watchful eye on the trainees. He makes sure they understand the steps they can take legally.
At the church, a law enforcement officer is parked out front and the security team inside is ready — just in case.
“The word says watch and pray, so we consider ourselves the watchmen of the wall,” Gibson said.
Hopkins told WLWT, “If you check Nehemiah, they stood guard at the wall, the sabre and shield. The only difference is we have a different shield and a different sword.”
A different sword, indeed. However, it is still the same concept!