By Casey Kellogg
How to keep your church safe
Kevin Bullard is asking churches a difficult question: What would they do if the unthinkable happened?
SecureWay, LLC, is a business dedicated to the safety and security of businesses, schools and churches.
As a former Army soldier and military police officer of 35 years, Kevin is familiar with all types of security threats and procedures. And according to him, the majority of churches might be seriously behind when it comes to safety.
“I don’t believe most are secure. Violence with churches seems to have gotten more prevalent lately and I just don’t think the church has caught up with that.”
When asked about what exactly makes a church “secure,” Kevin explained that it all begins with a team of people.
“The first thing I would say is do they have a team of people in place, because you can have all kinds of other things … but if you don’t have people that are trained, ready to handle any kind of situation, then they’re way behind.”
Although he is adamant that team members should be armed during service, he also explains that this requires a special type of person.
“You have to have the intense carry permit per Mississippi law, but you need more than that. You need to be able to do more than just put some holes in a piece of paper. You need to know how to talk to people, you need the right temperament, and the right frame of mind.”
Therefore, SecureWay does not just put weapons into church members’ hands. Instead, they offer in-depth training on how to recognize potential threats and how to safely act upon them. This includes lessons on gun training, pre-assault indicators and even realistic scenarios.
But according to Kevin, active shootings are not the only threat churches should be wary of.
“I like to look at it this way … An active shooter would be the more dangerous thing, so we need to address it, but more likely it’s something like a domestic situation.”
This is what he calls the difference between “security” and “safety and security.”
He says, “Safety takes a holistic approach. It includes things like what would you do in the event of a natural disaster. Are you ready for a person to have a heart attack or stroke in your congregation? Or the estranged husband that’s not supposed to have custody of the kids, coming in to take them.”
Although SecureWay does not necessarily train people for these specific situations, Kevin ensures his clients are aware of these possibilities and encourages them to be ready for any and all safety threats.
But since SecureWay is a Christian company, they want to encourage not just safety and security, but the ministry side of their business as well.
“We are a ministry,” he explains, “so if someone is troubled and they look like they’re ready to cause a disturbance or try to harm somebody, rather than just kicking them out on the street, we would prefer to talk to that person and solve it peacefully. Then if at all possible … we’d even like to help that person. It could be that they need somebody to pray with them or someone to listen to them.”
The company draws inspiration from Nehemiah 4:9, which says, “But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves.”
As Kevin says, “Just like Nehemiah was charged with rebuilding the wall and protecting Jerusalem, I feel like some of us are called to help to protect the flock as well … I think that’s what you get by having a ministry as opposed to just an armed guard.”
Casey Kellogg is an intern at Mississippi Christian Living and a sophomore at Mississippi College, where she is studying English writing with a minor in literature. She hails from Nesbit and enjoys listening to musicals and spending time with her cat, Wishes.