SIKESTON – Pastors and other church leaders from around the state gathered in the bootheel for the Missouri Baptist Convention’s (MBC) first 2014 church security and intruder awareness training here at Miner Baptist Church, Feb. 15.
During the first decade of the millennium, instances of church violence in the United States increased tenfold, according to one report. And violence can strike anywhere. For this reason, Tim Kile and Erik Baileygaines of Strategos International equipped 61 participants from 22 churches to prevent and respond to such violence in the church during the MBC training. Missouri-based Strategos International has trained more than 7,500 law enforcement, military, church, school, security and business professionals since its establishment in 2002.
“One thing that really stands out about the ‘Church Security and Intruder Response Training’ events is the attention and the intensity of the participants,” MBC support services team leader Jerry Field, who organizes the Strategos event, said. The event involves “four hours of classroom-style” lectures and nearly three more hours of demonstrations. During these demonstrations, participants learn the three principles of responding to church violence: “Get out, lock out, take out.” For instance, Baileygaines showed them how to “lock out” an intruder by securing a door with rope.
“A lot is packed in the training,” Field said. Nevertheless, participants showed “high interest and energy” during the event. “They are eager when they arrive and enthusiastic when they leave.”
Marqie Bradt said the training will help her as she serves as weekday preschool director at Parkway Baptist Church in St. Louis.
“This course will help us make changes to policies, locks and windows that will keep the children and teachers more secure,” Bradt said.
Cindy Timbrook, office administrator at Calvary Baptist Church, Columbia, appreciated “the real world, full information and disclosure – not holding back just because (we serve in) a church.” She also appreciates that “openly Christian men” led the training.
Russ Sanders, safety team leader at First Baptist Church, DeSoto, said that his church will be able to apply what he learned at the training to their own security plan.
“We will be able to bring information back to our church,” Sanders said, “to put a plan into place with the resources and ideas discussed.”
The MBC has organized another church security and intruder awareness training at Calvary Baptist Church in Republic, May 6. Online registration will open during the first week of March. To learn more or to register, visit www.mobaptist.org/church-security.
• Importance of “awareness” in relation to prevention and mitigation
• Biblical authority for church safety and security
• Church lockdown protocols and principles
• Awareness priority matrix for church campus
• Educating ushers, greeters and other first-line reception personnel
• Recognizing traits of suspicious behavior
• Recognizing traits of armed individuals
• Approaching suspicious or armed individuals
• Verbal conflict management