When I was first handed a security matter at a faith-based organization (FBO) in 1991, it wasn’t a welcome thing. There were so many more important things to do. It was a distraction to deal with.
I had no intentions of security becoming a priority in my life. But since the topic first interrupted my day, it became progressively important.
Up to the end of the 20th century, the prevailing issue regarding American FBO security was denial and indifference. There were things happening in church, but few saw it, acknowledged it, or did anything about it.
As the 20th century began to slip to the 21st, prominent faith leaders were exposed for moral failure and fraud. Violence occurred more frequently at churches. Sexual child abuse became headline news. Scams and scandals were common.
The violence struck large city and small rural congregations. The abuse was at catholic and protestant congregations. Scams and scandals were with famous TV preachers and local pastors. Congregants across the country recognized it could happen in their church, to their friends, their family, their children. They realized a cross on the roof, name above the door, or theological alignment won’t keep evil out of their sanctuary.
Some of those congregants with protection in their DNA moved to the back of their church; not backsliding, just watching. Some moved into the children’s hallways and the parking lot. They prepared themselves with the training and tools needed to mitigate evil.
The church security movement was born.
While there were still pockets of denial, the new issue was disjointedness. Individuals launched and led programs based on their opinions and experiences, with little sharing of information or willingness to learn from others. Silos and stovepipes.
Now a professional membership association of those responsible defenders allows them to connect 24/7/365 with each other. Even seasoned leaders learn from others. Those seasoned leaders have a way to connect with start-ups to help them. Large and small, seasoned and new, the movement has transitioned into an endeavor of similar-minded protectors.
Think About it
The Faith Based Security Network is progressing but not perfect. There’s a lot of work to do. Like the congregations, organizations and nation we serve, we’re a collection of imperfect people aspiring to a more perfect union.
We’re not perfect, but we are better together.