"Do you not find it a bit interesting that one of the very first orders God gave to man was to act as a Sheepdog?"
The recent shooting in the historic church in Charleston, South Carolina is a reminder of how vulnerable our houses of worship can be. The reports out of South Carolina are telling us that the gunman sat in the church for about an hour before he opened fire. This is tragic and heartbreaking. The members of this church will be haunted by for years to come.
Many people are not aware of the threat of violence at our houses of worship. They do not know that over 560 people have died a violent death while on church or faith-based property since 1999. That number is close to, if not ahead of, the number of violent deaths at out schools during that time period. The threat is real.
In addition to these violent deaths, there are about 20 reports of a sex crime occurring in a church related scenario every day of the week. A church in Oklahoma learned in the past two weeks that a sexual predator was in their midst. He was caught molesting a child – in the very act. Then, as the investigation unfolded, they would learn that there were a total of 9 victims (so far). Two of the victims were the pastor's children.
We must be vigilant about guarding our houses of worship.
Here are three things we must do:
1. Form a safety team at your church. This is a must! You must have a group of men and women who's responsibility is the well-being of the flock when they gather at the church.
2. The team must be stationed strategically when church members are present. This means that someone has to be assigned "parking lot patrol." All threats are initially in the parking lot. Your team must have someone watching people as they arrive for worship.
Someone must be in the foyer throughout the service, paying attention to enters, who leaves, etc.
You must have a team member stationed in the area of the children's ministry. A church in East Texas reportedly caught a man running the hallways of its church, with a machete in both hands. He was near the children's area.
3. Assign someone to stay with your pastor. Pastors around the world are being victimized by the hate from heart of those who hate.
It was 35 years ago this week – June 22, 1980 – when a lone gunman entered the sanctuary of First Baptist Church in Daingerfield, Texas. After shouting "This is War," he opened fire on the more than 350 worshipers. When the smoke cleared, 10 were injured – 5 dead. I was married in this church. The Daingerfield community still suffers from this horrible event.
I also want to invite you to our Sheepdog Seminars we host around the country. Lt Colonel Dave Grossman is our featured speaker. All information can be located at: www.sheepdogseminars.com
May God have mercy on our country…
Jimmy Meeks has been a police officer for more than 34 years and a minister for 41. He has served as a hostage negotiator, field training officer, school resource officer, detective, supervisor, and crime prevention officer. He has accumulated over 4500 hours of TCOLE training. He has also been a certified crime prevention specialist. He was pastor of a church in the Ft. Worth (Tx.) area for more than 11 years, while also serving as a police officer. Jimmy has a B.A. in Religion from Oklahoma Baptist University and a Certificate of Ministry from Emmaus Road Ministry School. He has conducted over 100 church safety seminars since 2009, at which over a thousand churches have attended. Meeks will speak on the subject of scriptural justification for safety practices at church. It has been said of his presentation, "…there has never been a stronger call to action…" Meeks and his wife of 35 years, Julie, were married at the First Baptist Church of Daingerfield (Tx.), the sight of the June 22, 1980 shooting that killed five and injured 10.