Important Guidelines for Surviving an Attack on Your Church
By Ken Sloane
On April 18, 2023, I was honored to host a webinar with my colleague Jeff Koch, president and CEO of United Methodist Insurance Company, owned by our General Council on Finance and Administration. In the webinar, entitled “Moving Toward a Safer Church,” Koch walked participants through ways local churches can manage risk and liability. He stressed the importance of paying attention and being proactive for situations and conditions where people in our facilities might get hurt. In his presentation, Koch mentioned “active-shooter training,” which hit close to home for both of us. Just days before, a person had walked into a private day school operated by a church in Nashville and opened fire, killing three children and three adult staff.
It is horrifying how often we hear about mass shootings, and we can remember quite a few that happened in churches.
I was doing some unrelated research on cybersecurity and what churches might do to protect themselves. I came across this document from our U.S. Department of Homeland Security: “MITIGATING ATTACKS ON HOUSES OF WORSHIP: Security Guide.” The resource is a free download, and as I explored it, I found it very helpful. It focused on situations in which churches might come under attack – physically and digitally – and how we might be better prepared. I greatly appreciate the work that went into this security guide. I hope you will download it, share it with your local church leaders, and consider how your church might reduce your chances of being attacked.
Like me, you may grieve that a document like this needed to be created. I’m confident Jesus grieves with us. Yet, we know we are called to be stewards for all that is the church, for all is entrusted to us by God.
Ken Sloane is the Director of Stewardship & Generosity for Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church.