I Never Thought…
When I began in ministry over 40 years ago, I never thought that I would ever write a column like this! Now don’t let your minds go in the wrong direction. There is nothing going on, nor has anything happened. So, what am I talking about? I am talking about security matters. I am writing this sitting in the airport in Charleston, SC waiting for my return to Dothan. Interestingly as I was going through airport security, I was pulled out and patted down… what’s new? And listen to this, it was my knee that didn’t pass? And at that, it was the knee that hasn’t had surgery??? Go figure. But the good news is, I’ve got my luggage with me!
But that is not the kind of security that I want to talk with you about. It is rather sad to say that we now live in an age where there are no sacred places anymore. We’ve all heard and seen the reports of synagogue, mosque and church shootings in recent years, these have all heightened our senses to the evil that often lurks in lost humanity and reveals itself in ways that we never could have imagined. But, having said that, I also am pleased to tell you that over a decade ago, we decided to be proactive and we began to take these kinds of matters seriously and subsequently formed a security and safety team to help us stay alert to anything out of the ordinary when we gather on our campus. This ministry is headed up by some very competent retired and active law enforcement pros and a number of volunteers. By the way, we can always use more, interested? Let one of our staff know. At any rate, I am grateful for their help.
Recently I had lunch with the heads of our security team to discuss how we can maintain effective security without compromising any elements of our worship and ministries. Now, hear me say this was a meeting to help us stay sharp and always help you feel safe to worship without concern. We have had no threats or even suspicions of anything, and I think God that that is the case. But if something ever does happen, I want to share with you several things that our security heads have asked us to always remember. Should we ever encounter an “active shooter” incident do the following:
- Move away from the threat as quickly as possible. Don't stop moving until you feel there is no longer a threat to you, your family and friends. Call 911!!!
- Stay as low as possible. Remember law enforcement may be trying to engage the suspect and if you are upright you stand a greater risk of being hit with not only the suspect rounds but the law enforcement/security return fire as well.
- Communicate and assist each other. We don't all move at the same pace so remember to try your best to help others as you are retreating to a safer place.
- Try to remember what you saw and heard. What does the suspect look like? What was the suspect wearing? Was it a long gun or a handgun. When did you last see the suspect and which way was he headed. Be a good witness.
- If you are carrying a weapon and are not law enforcement or part of a security detail only use the weapon if you or those in your immediate surroundings' lives are in danger and only as a last resort.
God forbid that we ever find ourselves in that situation, but if ever we do, please keep these key safety principles in mind.
Wow! Another great “Prove the Tithe” day last Sunday… you are going to be blessed as you continue to practice this Biblical command and you will bless God and His work with your obedience. And remember, God is always trying to take us someplace new. I love being your Pastor!
For God’s Glory Alone,