BY: DAVID SHEPHERD, NEWS DIRECTOR / E-MEDIA MANAGING EDITOR
JASPER -- Shiloh United Methodist Church in Jasper is hosting a Church Security Planning and Intruder Response training this week.
It will be Friday, September 13th and Saturday, September 14th at the church on IN 56. The community is invited to attend.
Church leaders point to an increase in church violence nationwide as the reason for the training. They say violent incidents at church have increase more than 2,000 percent since 1999 and 590 percent since 2005.
The course will help churches identify suspicious people, empower church volunteers, choose and train a paid or volunteer security team, lock down a facility, respond to intruders and more.
"The church, just like any other place where people gather in public, is vulnerable, explains pastor Dan Sinkhorn from Shiloh. "I really think it's just a matter of being prepared to protect people so they can be in an environment where they can experience the fullest value of what you have to offer."
Ron Flowers is the operations manager at Shiloh Church; he's also a retired police officer. It was his idea to bring in the Strategos team to help prepare our community churches from the unthinkable. "It's a two-day program. First day is primarily church security and safety planning; which is an element that often gets lost when talking church security," explains Flowers. "Day two is intruder awareness."
Flowers says you can come for one day of training, but you are encouraged to come to both if you can. "
"Jasper, Indiana is not immune from [church violence] just like it's not immune from any other criminal behavior or issue," Flowers adds. "The hope is, we give them the tools they can take back to their home church and do something about it."
WHERE: Shiloh United Methodist Church
1971 IN-56, Jasper, IN 47546
WHO IS INVITED: This is an open-invitation training course - all are invited
HOW DO I REGISTER: Go to strategosintl.com/events to register or call a contact below
Churches have grown accustomed to believing “it could never happen here.” But deadly violence at houses of worship is happening
everywhere and with increasing frequency. Violent incidents at churches have increased by 2500% since 1999 and 590% since
“Behind the statistics are real people who have been killed or injured, with many more experiencing the trauma of having their
house of worship turned into a zone of violence,” said Vaughn Baker, president of Strategos, a Kansas City-based security training
and consulting organization.
What can churches do? Strategos’ Church Security Planning and Intruder Response training equips faith-based organizations to:
1. Identify suspicious people and activities and defuse violence before it starts.
2. Empower church volunteers, such as ushers and greeters, to be on the alert for unusual activity.
3. Choose and train a paid or volunteer security team.
4. Lockdown a facility and respond to intruders.
5. Evaluate their ministry and create a written plan that works specifically in their church and facility.
One size does not fit all churches. Some may opt for armed security while others choose to have an unarmed team.
“The good news is that churches don’t have to compromise on a welcoming environment,” Baker said. “In fact, training volunteers to be alert can have the effect of making them more engaged with people on every level. It allows pastors to be more relaxed and focused, knowing that a team has security in mind.”
Strategos has trained more than 20,000 church personnel representing more than 1,000 churches in the United States and overseas.
In addition to serving churches and schools, Strategos consults with businesses, provides tactical training for law enforcement and personal protection for CEOs and VIPs.