The Ministry of Defense: Protecting Houses of Worship

Editor’s Note: Regardless of your personal religious beliefs, the issue of church security is one that impacts all our communities, and the solutions apply to a variety of public settings. Whether you attend a place of worship regularly or not, I encourage you to read this article and think about how the ideas within it might affect your own thoughts on personal and family safety.

ministry of defense

Photo: author

I was sitting in my home on June 17, 2015 when a friend called and told me to turn on the local news broadcast. My heart sank as I watched the aftermath of a mass murder in Charleston, South Carolina. But unlike the vast majority of people in the country, the churches as well, I was not at all surprised by the attack. In 2004 I had been motivated to write the first book on protecting houses of worship. It is a comprehensive guide to the when, why and how not only of establishing a security team but also how to manage it. When the book was published in 2006, I started the task of disseminating information to those ministries in need. In this article, I will present my view of the current state of affairs in this arena and maybe even get a little prophetic in the process.

Historical Foundation

community-outreach

Community outreach with active security. Photo: Denneco Pruitt

News networks have bombarded the public with the newest wave of attacks against the ministry, but the question comes to mind: is this new? The church has sustained mayhem, death and destruction since its inception. In the Bible, Aaron, the first priest, established a systemic approach to protection with his instructions to ring the tabernacle in the desert with warriors to prevent worshippers from being attacked. We have seen many types of attacks, including the firebombing of churches and vandalism of mosques, synagogues and temples. It has always been this way throughout history; men have always killed in the name of God. I have to agree with Solomon: there is no new thing upon the earth.

Statistics

No matter who quotes statistics, they must vastly under-report the information because of one very important reason: no agency is required to collect data of attacks against ministries. The agencies that do report do so voluntarily and I would submit to you that most ministries don’t file charges for fear of appearing to the public as “ungodly.” Several years ago, I submitted a copy of my book to the Crystal Cathedral after I discovered they had no security in place to protect their members. To me this was insane, and soon I found out that someone had made their way into the sanctuary and committed suicide. Of the various sources you can review, trends indicate crimes against the ministry increase 15% every year, but this again is based on available information. So more and more we have seen the rise of attacks, and the violence of these attacks has escalated. Which brings us to the next question: why?

What’s Going On?

observational-skills

Larger turnouts require increased observational skills. Photo: Denneco Pruitt

I believe we are seeing an escalation of violence against ministries for several reasons.

  • Scandals: The heavily publicized shortcomings of pastors starting with Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart revealed to the general public that people in the pulpit are human beings. With the removal of this false sense of holiness in the public’s eye and the criminal eye as well, attacks against ministries were no longer taboo.
  • Alternative lifestyles: With the promotion of alternative lifestyles and non-traditional relationships, we see the development of intolerance and sometimes persecution against those who openly express their faith.
  • Radicalism: The expansion of radical Islam has provided us with a firsthand view of the massacre of Christians throughout the world. In many countries, alternative methods of worship are often punishable by death.
  • Indifference: The public is no longer concerned about what occurs in churches because they themselves don’t go.

How Do We Combat the Trend?

MOD security team

Team building through situational awareness training. Photo: Denneco Pruitt

We must examine the various options we have to discourage this current trend. Because of the ferocity of the current attacks, many ministries are pursuing security training, which is good, but is standard training good enough? The unique aspect of the church being a place of spiritual healing dictates that standard security training or guards is not sufficient to assist ministries in making themselves safe. Over my years of providing support in this arena, I have found that to truly make a difference, anyone engaging in security in ministry must have a sound foundation in servant leadership. Things that are permissible in a worldly environment are not permissible within the confines of ministry. A balance of professionalism and love is needed in the execution of duties. The function of the church is to serve those in need, which means a large number of people coming through its doors will have committed a variety of transgressions. It is to be a place of great compassion, and no level of security can be established without taking this into consideration. At all the churches I train, there are several things I suggest they do.

  1. 1. Train: The hardest thing to get a ministry to do is commit to a training program. After years of scandals, they are sensitive to the public view and often err on the side of appearance’s sake. Remind them it is their duty to protect not only the spiritual man and woman of those who come in their doors, but also to be responsible for their physical wellbeing.
  2. 2. Connect: As a Christian, I have been commanded to show kindness and compassion to my fellow man. This is both strong doctrine and good policy. As you make yourself known throughout the community your church is established in, you will make your congregation safer.
  3. 3. Observe: I teach observational psychology to all people who attend my seminars. Learning how to actively see or hear in your environment is a skill that everyone must have to avoid danger.
  4. 4. Prepare: Present real-world scenarios to those who undertake this task. It is impossible to react effectively to something you have never anticipated.
  5. 5. Plan: If you have not prepared an effective plan, you can expect chaos and major damage within your ministry in the event of an attack.
  6. 6. Public Relations: Establish a communications protocol and an official spokesperson to handle inquiries from the media. The public view must be managed carefully after an incident.
  7. 7. Consider: At the very least, review the possibility of an armed option within your ministry. Establish a training program that emphasizes the physical aspects of removing an intruder/trespasser from your ministry grounds.

What is MOD?

deescalate violence

Using communication and direction to de-escalate volatile situations. Photo: Denneco Pruitt

The program I train ministries with is called MOD, which stands for Ministry of Defense. I chose the name because it establishes ministry first. The most important aspect of ministry is to serve — to serve the public as well as the church. To work effectively with the leadership of any church, you must have an understanding not only of its function but also tactical skill. Many schools can provide the tactical training you require to be effective, but where do you develop the understanding of being a minister in conjunction with being an effective protector? You must learn how to blend into your environment and not discourage the people who need to be ministered to the most from entering the sanctuary for fear of falling under the eyes of an overzealous security ministry.

We actively train in the areas of observational psychology, servant leadership, hand-to-hand combat, crowd control, CPR/AED, communications, and crisis management. We also train other things that are specific to our ministry and, for those who request it, I provide firearms training. I also determine the level of service based on the needs of the people attending the church. I have female team members to interact with the female members and visitors of our church. They provide a level of coverage and can enter women’s restrooms and assist in other ways that make them less conspicuous than the male team members. I have a team member who is a member of our deaf ministry. His sole function is to provide information and crowd control to those visitors with impaired hearing. In addition, I have trained non-team members to be my eyes within the ministry, to see potential problems before they develop and to understand how to communicate their concerns to the team.

What Does the Future Hold?

ministry instruction

Author teaches foundation of Ministry of Defense and emphasizes need for a balanced response. Photo: Denneco Pruitt

As this country moves away from traditional values, we will see an even more dramatic increase in attacks. I believe the indifference of the public will make it more acceptable to attack ministries. Recent rhetoric from our politicians is becoming increasingly intolerant to those who believe in Christian values. The establishment of so-called “hate speech” classification to those who disagree threatens the First Amendment rights of the church, and recent SCOTUS rulings suggest more lawsuits and less separation between church and state are coming. As the oppression and persecution of the church escalates, so will the need for security. To those who believe, the Book of Revelation has become a blueprint for what the future holds for houses of worship in this country as well as the rest of the world.

Protecting a ministry is much like protecting anything else. It requires a lot of thought and consideration before attempting to undertake it. You must learn how to negotiate your position with those who will never fully understand their need to tolerate you in the first place. You must develop the ability to be both a warrior and a priest. You must be invisible as to be unobtrusive to those who are passing through the church doors. It is important for you to be the ever-vigilant sheepdog of the shepherd, because wolves are out there.

Discussion
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83 Responses to “The Ministry of Defense: Protecting Houses of Worship”
  1. Kae Shaw

    Wow! I have never looked at the church needing protection and security until all of the recent events that have transpired. This article is so powerful and informative that I feel everyone should read it and have a serious discussion. Thank you so much for putting the context in layman’s terms that everyone can understand. Great job. I’ll be looking forward to reading more of your articles.

    Reply
    • Customer Service Techs

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  2. LaCrue

    Wow! This is what the ministry needs in this day and time. After reeding your article, it seems as though you had a premonition of modern says tragic events. Can you explain what insight you had, that led to writing your book/articles?

    Reply
    • Pablo Birriel

      Thanks for your comment LaCrue to be honest I never anticipated writing a book on this subject. I was approached by a team member that was familiar with my background. We had new team members joining and it was supposed to be a just a booklet. Also, I had lost my vision, which made this extra difficult. I didn’t realize what I had until I did a page count. Nobody does a “booklet” with over 90 pages. I then let God use me to get the message he desired from me.

      Reply
  3. Ree Ree

    First, let me say that I have been enlighten by your article. I would like to know more about implementing MOD in churches. Also, is this program flexible enough to be implemented within other organizations, such as supermarkets, movie theaters, colleges, etc.? I look forward to your reply.

    Reply
    • Pablo Birriel

      Hello Ree thanks for your support and comments. I have two books out in the MOD series. Ministry Of Defense: Executive Protection For The Ministry and 7 Elements Of Combat both of which are available at Amazon or my Publishers (Kingdom Rule) this would be a good place to start. It will educate you on which questions to ask to get the answers you want. As for the other part of the question, many of the things I cover in these books can be taken away from the atmosphere of the ministry and implemented in other environments. The information is good as are the principles so you could adapt them to other venues.

      Reply
  4. Debra Jefferson

    WOW!!! is right Kae Shaw – we have to be aware of our surroundings every where – even in church – as people of GOD or not – we would never think something like this would happen in a church – house of GOD – there are people out there who have no feelings – if they feel they can get away with it – they will – Yes we must put a stop to this – Thank you cuz for bringing in this kind of Defense for us or anyone – STOP the MADNESS

    Reply
  5. Shelvin B

    What timing! This is just what the churches need. I often wondered how would churches react to trading in self defense. Your article is very informative to say the least. I’m a deacon in the church and have been looking to touch base with someone of your expertise. Please keep the articles coming and know that God is blessing you as you write.

    Reply
    • Pablo Birriel

      Thanks Shelvin for your comment. I have been an active member of the security ministry for over 12 years. My book was published in 2006 and was the first to concentrate on securing houses of worship. I will continue to provide covering for houses of worship not just because of financial gain but because it is my calling and my ministry. Please share with your friends and thanks for reading.

      Reply
    • Pablo Birriel

      Thanks for reading the article and for your encouragement. I believe that it is not only sound ministry doctrine but common sense to secure houses of worship. Based on the information that I have compiled, I don’t think it is likely that this trend towards attacks on ministry will diminish any time soon.

      Reply
      • Bill M.

        Glad you posted this article on the PDN site, Pablo. I’ve had your book for several years and encouraged our congregation to follow your advice and plan. Not being prepared for the ugly possibility of an attack is simply asking for disaster. Prepare, train and equip for this necessary ministry.

        Reply
        • Pablo Birriel

          Thanks Bill. I have always advocated intelligence as the most important part of security for houses of worship. Education, preparation and diligence are the keys to keeping your ministry safe. Keep sounding the alarm because this is our calling and purpose. Thanks for being a supporter. God bless you, your ministry and your family.

          Reply
      • Ron

        Thank you, Sir! I have encouraged ministry protection for many years, my warnings usually dismissed. I have forwarded your advice to friends, family and church members. You said it better than I could.

        Reply
        • Pablo Birriel

          Thanks Ron for your comment. It’s not easy to get ministries to see that there is a need for protection. It is the reason why I do two things in particular. Emphasize ministry and the word. If they only read it in the word and meditate on it they will come to the conclusion that it is in perfect order to have a security team in place. Aaron did.

          Reply
        • Pablo Birriel

          Thanks for responding Brad. A good place to start would be to get my book Ministry Of Defense: Executive Protection For The Ministry. This book will give you a good foundation to work from. It will at least give you the wisdom to ask the correct questions to solve your ministries issues. You can also email me at ministerofdefense07@gmail.com with questions you may have, yes I answer emails. You can also keep track of where I will be by joining my Ministry of Defense page on facebook. I am getting ready to start booking seminars for the fall and as dates become booked I will post them on the page. If I am in your city please stop by and speak. I can not serve if not for people such as you. I will also post other articles on this network as well. Make sure you are a member and you can get all of the info that I post but articles from the other experts on this site as well.

          Reply
    • Pablo Birriel

      Hi Tom the first book is titled Ministry Of Defense: Executive Protection For The Ministry and the second book is titled 7 Elements Of Combat. They can both be purchased from my publisher Kingdom Rule (www.kingdomrule.com) or at Amazon (http://tinyurl.com/nmtykzw). Thanks for your support.

      Reply
    • Pablo Birriel

      It is sad that we must do so but make sure your are aware of the laws of your state and city. In the area that we live in it is not enough to have a valid CCW to carry on church grounds. If you don’t have permission from the ministry leadership you could be inviting a felony charge. Do your research and always insure that you remain in order.

      Reply
  6. Jason

    Very good piece. As head of my church security team, this is another excellent perspective from the christain side, not the standard sheepdog side! Thanks

    Reply
    • Pablo Birriel

      Jason thanks for your comment. I will be writing many more articles for PDN this is just the first of many. Remain diligent as a watchman on the walls.

      Reply
  7. Mark Bartholomew

    I’ve had level 3 and level 4 training at “Gatekeepers” in Frisco Texas, and serve at my local Church. We have a number of undercover officers on staff at all times. We have training throughout the year at a local outdoor range. More Churches BETTER get on board. These terrorists are looking for soft, easy targets…i.e. Churches.

    Reply
    • Pablo Birriel

      Thanks Mark I know of your organization Chuck Chadwick is a former graduate of ESI just as I am. I have been actively teaching MOD for over 10 yrs, before the book, and I have found that the church is more concerned with what the public thinks of their actions than doing the prudent thing. Most crimes against ministries go under reported. I can remember a ministry in a state, which will remain unnamed, was robbed on consecutive Sundays. The news report said that they prayed for the robbers and no attempt was made to stop them. I could only wonder what would have happened if they started to fire on the congregation. The ministry that I am speaking of is situated in a state that doesn’t respect the rights of it’s citizens to protect themselves so I predict there will be a ton more robberies just like those.

      Reply
  8. Paul Foreman

    I was involved in setting up a security ministry in two large churches over a 5 year period. Only a small portion of the administration was in favor, we got so much rejection to the “idea” that a church needed “security” that I finally gave up in disgust and left. Now i am in a new church that has just started a security team, BUT a total rejection of the idea that anybody would need to be armed or to defend themselves or the church.
    Good luck you will have a tough row to hoe!

    Reply
    • Pablo Birriel

      Thanks Paul for your reply. I find you a highly intelligent gentleman who shares a name with my youngest son and my grandson as well. I understand your feeling about this issue. Since undertaking this mission I have been called everything you can imagine. My faith has been questioned and now I am saddened to be proven right. Stick to your guns, pun intended, and you will be vindicated as well. It’s a hard job but someone has to do it.

      Reply
    • Pablo Birriel

      Thanks Aaron for your kind words. I am a simple guy. I only do or say that which I believe the spirit leads me to reveal. I run my organization as a ministry which means God first. It is very important that we understand that we are here for ministry first. It is a very thin line we must walk in the commission of our duties. This is the reason why training is so important. Remember, the Bible said in Proverbs 4:7 wisdom is the principle thing, so get wisdom but in all of your getting get understanding. (that is my preachy word for the day). Stay tuned I will be writing more articles just stay tuned and thanks for your support.

      Reply
  9. Jim Bates

    What a great read. Highly recommended for all. I may just sign up…if I can remove the “spend lock” on my wallet.

    Reply
    • Pablo Birriel

      Thanks for your kind words Jim. I’ve been married for over 30 years and there is only one way to get that “lock” removed. I’ll say it one simple word…..ssssssshhhhhoooooooeeeeesssssssss! Have a great day and you be blessed.

      Reply
  10. Ron

    As a Christian in a well known church in so ca with a pastor known here & abroad and a ccw holder, I see the importance of protecting our ministry. We have security and my goal serving within the church is to be involved and part of that security. For those that think it shouldn’t be in a church or home……..WAKE UP!

    Reply
    • Pablo Birriel

      Ron thanks for commenting. I have people in Los Angeles and we are developing a program even as we speak. I understand your desire because it something we both share. I will tell anyone that will listen that if you are a member of the security team for any ministry you are among its greatest supporters. The Bible said there is no greater love than a man that lays down his life for a friend. Every Sunday and for every other event on assignment or not this is what you do. I welcome you to this great fraternity brother you have my respect.

      Reply
  11. Baron

    At my old house of worship, I was able to concealed-carry, and did so. I still do when I go to the church for weekly activities. I now work & worship at a church plant which meets on a college campus which is, of course, a “gun-free zone”- actually weapons-free where a knife with a blade over 1″ is not legal. As an older person with some physical infirmities, anything but a damaging one-blow strike, a carotid cut with my wee knife, or an eye strike with a pen- tactical or not- is beyond my capability, and even this would require getting close, or being serendipitously close, to an attacker. Any ideas on how I could better serve as a protector would be appreciated.

    Reply
    • Pablo Birriel

      Baron thanks for your comment and believe me I understand how you feel. A little over a year ago I had a femoral pop surgery done on my left leg and I am still recovering from it. I walk a little slower and a lot cooler now so I see your point. What you want to do is develop a different mindset. The Bible always speaks of renewing the mind. One of the things I train my teams on is improvised weapons. My last book in the MOD series is almost done and it deals specifically with this type of preparation. I teach a unique cataloging method to my students that will enable you to be “armed” in any environment to find yourself in. I have found myself in a similar situation in the past and found that I could carry a Gerber multitool without so much as a peep from anyone but that tool in my hand could be used to strike vital spots or to literally pinch an opponent, it really hurts trust me, into submission. If your mind is properly trained you can not be disarmed because you are the weapon. While we recognize that there are some weapons that are better suited to the role of self defense than others it doesn’t mean that you go unarmed because your state or local doesn’t trust you enough to let you go armed.

      Reply
  12. Byron Hunt

    I am looking for scripture that supports concealed carrying a weapon. Can anybody help? Thank you and May our Lord Bless and Protect our Churches. B. Hunt

    Reply
    • Pablo Birriel

      Thanks Byron for commenting. The first scripture that comes to mind is Luke 22:36. It was in this scripture that Jesus told his disciples to sell what they had to purchase a sword. It is also to be noted that it was illegal for a Jew to have a Roman sword so you had better believe it was concealed. Have a great day and be blessed.

      Reply
  13. Miles Stoneman

    We have a security ministry at our church and I am an armed member. I work as an armed security guard for a large retail corporation. I am also a firearms instructor who believes that everyone is responsible for their own security. I dislike the paradigm of a few protecting the many. When this nation was still only a group of colonies, every adult male was required to be armed for protection. The church should reestablish that today.

    Reply
    • Pablo Birriel

      Miles thanks for your response and you make a valid point but we have to ask is this country really ready for a fully armed church body? You have to understand that just by you having this dialog to many in this country the combination of church and 2nd amendment rights equates to domestic terrorism. As crazy as this may seem to right minded individuals it would not take you long to find out which organizations feel this way in this country. It would make my job a lot easier if everyone could go armed but I take into consideration that while being licensed to carry is good. Being highly trained and skilled is another thing but the issue is this, I can train you to shoot but can you live with the consequences. You can be so right in using your firearm to defend yourself and your loved ones but are you prepared to go through the psychological and spiritual consequences of your actions.

      Reply
  14. Douglas C, Dalton

    Thank you for your timely message of the Ministry of Defense. Churches need to think about this and have some plan to handle the “wolves” that disagree with the Love of Christ that makes us all brothers in Christ.

    Reply
    • Pablo Birriel

      Hi Douglas thank you for your comment. We were warned by Jesus that the time would come when wolves would come dressed in sheep’s clothing and now we see it actively. People have revealed the true nature of their hearts by displaying a double minded spirit. We are living in a time of spiritual schizophrenia. People display their faith only when it is convenient. It causes issues for those that chose to follow diligently. This is unfortunate but true.

      Reply
  15. Stephen

    I’m so happy that someone is doing something. God had called me about seven years ago to do the same and so I have trained with the Israelis for about 5 years on and off and I’m getting ready to disseminate information that will allow an open arms model of love, respect etc while maintaining a total security perspective as it relates to the body, the ministry and especially the children they generally take custody of every service. If anyone has any question, I would be happy to share my knowledge in counter terror, good protocols and other related subjects like armed reaction teams, etc.

    Stephen
    Sachrobak@Gmail.com

    Reply
    • Butch Kauihimalaihi Helemano

      Aloha, I never thought as a Christian I would see the attacks that our belief in our savior is getting from all sides of our modern culture, it seems that our nation has lost it roots in common sense and decent lifestyles. Fornication and and sin is prevalent everywhere we turn from television sex, to swearing in the movies and total disregard for the human values that made our country the leader that it is. We need a revival of common sense and Christian values to “save” our country, as a firearms instructor I believe in the right for self defense, we have come to that in these days of darkness. God bless and mahalo for this article.

      Reply
      • Pablo Birriel

        Aloha Butch and thank you for commenting. It is unfortunate that in this time we have been exposed to the reprobate mind of this countries current “culture”. I don’t honestly believe that people even know the difference from right and wrong. I saw an extremely well know entertainment icon with an Aliester Crowley T-Shirt on with the quote ” Do whatever Thou Will” on the back of the shirt. These are the people that are influencing our children. The only thing we can do is continue to pray, prepare and have faith. This is nothing new it didn’t catch God by surprise.

        Reply
    • Pablo Birriel

      Thanks for commenting Stephen. I understand your feelings. I have been training in the martial arts since almost an egg. My father was a decorated veteran in the Korean and Viet Nam wars., I have officially been doing just as you suggest for over 10 years and still work actively in ministry. I wish you all the luck in the world because this is not a task that can be undertaken alone, it is simply too big. I welcome you and if there is anything I can help you with just email me. When I had my first book published, the first on ministry security, there was no market and no one to mentor me. I just believe what Jesus said which was the Holy Spirit will instruct you in all things. Thanks again.

      Reply
    • Pablo Birriel

      Thanks for commenting Stephen.The path you have chosen is not an easy one and this is from someone that has been on this path for over 20 years. People will question your faith, question your motives and reject your teaching until you are proven right. You have to have a thick skin and always stay in prayer. As for me, I welcome the company because there is room for others in this task. Just like Pastors, not everyone will receive my teaching so it is true that Gods will provide other teachers to insure the people are prepared. You have my respect and if you have need you can contact me. I will help where I can.

      Reply
    • Pablo Birriel

      Hello Stephen thank you for commenting. I do apologize for not responding to you sooner, it is my habit to do so. I would have bet my good leg that I already did but nevertheless here I go. In making a determination to add an armed element to your security team it is a good idea to first discuss this with leadership because it will ultimately be their responsibility to make such a decision. You would also be wise in consulting your local authorities and finding out what their qualifications are, some areas prohibit carrying on church grounds unless you are in law enforcement. Plan carefully every facet of your training and certification because these are the areas you are most likely to be attacked in the event that a firearm must be used on church grounds. It is very important that we as the protectors of the ministry be within our legal rights whenever we are on duty.

      Reply
  16. Jeff

    Great article, thanks for sharing. It aligns almost perfectly with our Security Ministry at our church, which is a fairly prominent mega-church in the DFW area. I couldn’t agree more that Security is more than just a function or a team; it a multi-faceted ministry that requires so much more than just some volunteers or paid staff with firearms training/certification. Thanks for bringing more light to the growing need for churches to implement their own teams/plans to protect “the house”!!

    Reply
    • Pablo Birriel

      Exactly Jeff. Many times I have seen people market their service to a ministry and then end up leaving a bad taste in their mouths because they have no idea how to operate within the confines of ministry. You then have a house that doesn’t want to get involved in security at all. When operating in a security ministry the first thing I tell my team members is that this is not something that you do it is who you are. My team serves whether they are on assignment or not they always maintain surveillance in whatever position they are in.

      Reply
  17. Paul Foreman

    Someone sent this to me today:
    “Oh, so you’re against having a gun for self defense? I’ll bet you don’t believe in FIRE EXTINGUISHERS either, do you?
    I mean, you can always call the FIRE DEPARTMENT, right?

    Reply
    • Pablo Birriel

      Paul I understand exactly what you mean. The population of this country has no understanding of their own responsibility for self defense. It has been decided in court that the police are not obligated to protect anyone.

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      • Pastor Dave Barton

        As a Pastor, for years our security team was myself and my associate Pastor. We both carried concealed at all times including in the pulpit. Later on as the Church grew it involved others and a more strategic approach. If I can influence anyone in Church leadership, it would be to take a pro-active stance in providing security to the members of your Church Anyone who thinks Churches are immune to violence is simply not in touch with reality. Years ago a Pastor friend was counselling a woman going through a bitter divorce when the estranged Husband burst into the office and shot her.

        Reply
        • Pablo Birriel

          Thanks for your comments Pastor. The reality of providing security in houses of worship is that a ministry is just like a hospital. There are many different types of people that come to church and consider it a place of healing. The real issue is that when they come in they bring their problems with them. Also when you are dealing with domestic violence, it is a horse of a different color. Domestic situations are fueled by emotion and are just as unstable as nitro.

          Reply
    • Pablo Birriel

      Thanks for commenting Paul. It is amazing to me that people in this country believe that inanimate objects possess human qualities. I have never met and evil knife, gun or hammer for that matter. They are simply tools and can be abused by anyone that desires to do so. If you would ask people they will point out that murder never existed before Sam Colt. Hey go figure.

      Reply
  18. Ralph Thornburgh

    This is a great article. It is surprising to me to learn that so many people don’t realize that in today’s environment that a church needs security just as a business.

    I’ve been the Security Director for my church since ’08, and now, in our county we have a group of churches that have formed an Inter-faith task force with the local PD and county Sheriff and we meet once per quarter to discuss issues, questions, and concerns regarding church security.

    We share best practices and intel that we may have gathered over time. This keeps us up close and personal with our LEOs. They know us and we know them.

    As well as being a member here, our church is also a member of Church Security Alliance. They also offer programs on how to get a security team started and offer training as well.

    I believe that the more we put this kind of info out there for people to read and become aware the safer all of our houses of worship will become.

    Reply
    • Pablo Birriel

      Thanks for your comment Ralph it is great what your ministry is doing. I applaud you for your effort and if you look at my book, you are implementing a lot of the things I have written. There is still a long way to go because most ministries don’t have a budget but still have a need. My book presents a solid strategy for those ministries to insure that everyone is covered. It is a step by step process to get ministries to take the proper steps to insure their safety. Continue to spread the word and know that I am available to assist you wherever and whenever I can.

      Reply
  19. Martin

    I am a certified instructor for the TX concealed handgun program and have recently trained some members of my church who subsequently became licensed to carry. We have already discussed with our pastor of having a plan whereby these folks can be involved in responding to any threats that could come our way. This necessitates more training and so I’m inquiring if you offer any videos for the M.O.D. program you have developed? The narrative presented above certainly attests to the thought and planning you have put into the program, so I hope we can avail ourselves of your training.
    Any suggestions to achieving this goal will be greatly appreciated.
    Martin Hendrix

    Reply
      • Pablo Birriel

        Thanks for your response Ralph. I believe that the scope of the Ministry Of Defense is too large for one man/group to handle. I can’t be everywhere but I will continue to present information through this website and my MOD seminars.

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  20. Terry-NC

    A good introductory overview. Anything that disrupts the ministry, from a tornado to a malevolent intruder, should be the focus of a church’s Security/Safety team. To include youth retreats out of town, background checks on anyone working with children, large events held during the week– it’s truly a big responsibility. One shortcoming of the article: you mention the importance of planning, but don’t name what plans to have.

    Reply
    • Pablo Birriel

      Thanks for your comment. You are correct this was just an introductory article and because space is limited I was not able to go into every aspect of the MOD training. I conduct seminars throughout the country and in those seminars I have the time to disseminate more detailed information. You can find more information in my book Ministry Of Defense: Executive Protection For The Ministry. But since you asked, when I speak of planning think preparation and assignments. You should make sure that your team has their assignments based on their ability and they should be aware of the proper procedures of the team. You should never find yourself in a critical position trying to figure out what you must do and who needs to do it. This should have been addressed far in advance. Terry if you send me an email at ministerofdefense07@gmail.com I can keep you abreast of when I am in North Carolina, I live in Virginia so I am already your neighbor.

      Reply
  21. popper

    Interesting article.
    I wish that you had footnoted definitions and sources so that we would know what you were including as crimes and attacks against the ministry and where you gathered the info regarding the 15% annual increase of crimes against the ministry.
    Just as we have to verify the statements of anti gunners we also need to verify the statements of pro gunners. Especially when there is a vested interest in the subject involved.

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  22. rodent153

    Pablo, Please put me on your mailing list. For other readers, check out Carl Chinn’s stats on church violence… we are all in this together regardless of denominational differences…… http://www.carlchinn.com
    Ron

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  23. Brian

    About two years ago my pastor asked me to undertake security operations at our church, because I’m an NRA instructor and former LEO. I do this for both services on Sundays and any special functions the church has. But I’m very much alone in my efforts, we have kept the fact that I’m armed between only a select few. Do you have any suggestions on how I can recruit more people to the effort. My wife, also a permit holder who trains regularly takes care of one of the nursery/Sunday school buildings is a big help. But this still leaves the sanctuary, parking lot and another Sunday school building to observe. We do have folks that greet people and direct guests as to where to go with their kids and such. But just try to get some of them to attend a situation training class is next to impossible, and some I could never sign off on them carrying a firearm. I know that there are wolfs out there and we are far from being sheep, but I can’t be everywhere, I’ve approached two fellows who shoot with me and the wife, but again they site time to train as a problem. Any ideas and should I ask the pastor to maybe advise the membership about us carrying firearms, I know he doesn’t want to scare folks away and this would reduce the level of surprise because word will get out, (not that were hiding anything). I look forward to reading more of your articles.

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  24. MICHAEL

    As a growing church in Colorado Springs, not far from New Life, we formed our safety and security team a little over 3 years ago. We actively train, CPR, First Aid, Verbal Judo, Compliance techniques and yes, firearms. We are blessed to have an active FBI agent on our team who uses the FBI field agent firearms proficiency test as our basis for team qualification to carry. As the issue of church security grows and becomes more widely known and accepted, there are more and more training opportunities available. I recently joined PDN to gain access to yet another resource for training and information to help me be better prepared to face the threats in today’s world.

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  25. Jeffery Walke

    I am a personal protectionLLC, I got the book You touched on some areas I hadnt considered. . Thank you.

    Reply
  26. jason.reel44@gmail.com

    I am the lead trainer of our “Eye & Ears” Security Team at our church. You hit the nail on the head when discussing the delicate nature of security & the church. Behavioral recognition is pivotal in being able to decipher is someone needs the attention of the security personnel. Awareness is absolutely paramount in being able to anticipate and recognize things that may be out of the ordinary. Everyone should be trained in de-escalation techniques, hand to hand combat as well as how the body & mind respond to combat. There is also the liability factor that should always be in the forefront of everyone’s mind as well, though it should never be a determining factor in your personal safety. Understanding the psychology of the “bad guy” aka “wolf” is very important in understanding what may motivate them. One cannot defeat their enemy or opponent if they fail to understand them. Likewise, one should know themselves. If we do not know our selves we cannot identify our weakness, which is equally important to knowing our strengths. Anyone wanting to know more or engage in training or discussion please feel free to contact me.

    http://www.phoenixcombattraining.com/

    Reply
  27. Tim Kay

    Pablo, this was an excellent article. People need to realize the threats are real and changing, especially as radical islam intends to spread fear through terrorism. Criminals and Terrorists do not want to confront an armed resistance, as we saw in the San Bernardino attack. The ideas that you put forward in the article
    pertaining to Church security, mimics how Law enforcement is meant to be, protection with compassion. I have been in law enforcement for 27 years in Los Angeles. People are always surprised that I am always armed, even while in Church.

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  28. Rev. Jim

    God Bless you for this.
    Very sad what has been happening.
    I personally found a link to this increase of violence which God willing I have to share with the faith based community. The video documentary which is free on Youtube is called, “PSYCHIATRY’S PRESCRIPTION FOR VIOLENCE” This documentary shows a powerful and graphic video testimony with experts, parents and victims. It includes the actual 911 calls made by family and even by a killer himself. I was amazed to see the underlining evil within the current wave of violence devastating our homes, schools and communities is more diabolic and far more hidden than I ever imagined. I hope this wisdom helps saves lives while I also hope our Churches read your advise to better protect the faithful.

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  29. Kevin

    Churches most definitely need protecting. If you think about it, as Christians, we are to reach the lost. Spiritually, the lost are those that do not know God, which includes the criminals! If your church only reaches out to the believers, you are ignoring the Great Comission to make disciples of ALL men. With this attitude, you will be inviting those most likely to do harm to your church, into your church. You must welcome them, but you must also have a plan for what to do if they plan on bringing harm to your congregation. You must be willing to build God’s kingdom with a hammer in one hand, while being willing to protect it with a sword in the other hand.

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  30. Gary Purvis

    I am an associate pastor and have been concerned about and working on developing a Safety Response Team at our church. After several years of grooming our leadership to the idea and need of such a team, we have launched our training phase for the ministry. I was pleasantly surprised at the response of over 30 individuals who were willing to take the training to become part of the ministry team. Thanks for your article and I wish I had known about your book. Probably would have saved me a lot of leg work. Protect the flock over which you have made overseer.

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  31. Pete

    Pablo,
    I recently established a Safety & Security Ministry for our church so your information is extremely helpful. Also ordered a copy of your book, “Ministry of Defense – Executive Protection for the Ministry”. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and your gift for protecting houses of worship.
    Would be great to correspond with you to compare notes!
    Blessings,
    Pete J.

    Reply
  32. Donny Doyle

    The FBI statistics on church violence, almost 700 killed in the last 20 years is enough alone to strongly address church security. If you attend a large, popular church, historic landmark well, we are the center of attention. My problem is the leadership forbids firearms, period. Those of us that have military/law enforcement backgrounds have to make a tough choice and carry but don’t get caught.

    Reply