It’s simple math and common sense: the larger the crowd and the more online participants, the greater the chance that something could go wrong. Unfortunately, large church gatherings can be considered “soft targets” for domestic terrorists and criminal elements often because they are perceived as having fewer security measures in place. Additionally, online services with open comment sections open up opportunities for slanderous accusations and disruption.
Does your church have an updated security plan in place for your events this spring?
The Easter Season Means More People on Campus and Your Livestream.
The Easter season is an exciting time of year for churches, celebrating the Christian faith’s highlight. Of course, churches host events and services that are out of the ordinary and bring new people to your services. Ensure that you have beefed up basic security measures for all of these larger gatherings—the kids’ Easter egg hunt, the Passion play performance, and even Easter morning worship services.
Here are a few basic security measures to consider:
- Implement a plan: Make sure you have a plan for addressing security concerns. Enlisting the help of a security expert can give you a valuable third-party viewpoint. Work together with staff and professionals to delegate responsibilities, institute preventative measures, and determine the proper response during a crisis. A working plan will be the foundation from which you build a strong security policy.
- Role-play responses during a “trigger event:” It’s helpful to think through possible threat scenarios before they occur so that everyone is prepared to act accordingly should something happen. Define several “trigger events” and communicate with staff, volunteers, and security personnel the appropriate response. It should cover the range of possibilities from someone leaves a hateful comment on a livestream to tornado alert sounds to a person enters the building with a visible weapon. Knowing what to do in each type of situation means a safer outcome for all in the event of an emergency.
- Stay alert: During events, ensure all security personnel (church members, staff, or law enforcement) are trained and communicating with one another. Everyone should be on high alert and should communicate any suspicious activity immediately.
- Know your property inside and out: All entrances and exits should be monitored and/or locked (one way in and one way out is ideal). Beware of any back or side entrances and propped-open doors. Any of these can give easy access to someone who may otherwise be questioned if they entered through the front door. Have online volunteers understand where people hold discussions and comments to monitor activity and quickly delete or block any harmful participation. Bonus, they can help foster healthy conversation and full engagement online!
- Screen all volunteers and staff: Everyone working in your church—whether employees or volunteers—should be thoroughly background checked. You want to make sure that those entrusted with the care of the people in your congregation are safe and do not pose any risk for harm.
You can easily perform all types of background checks with Realm. We have partnered with Verified First to provide your church with the most comprehensive background checks available. This service integrates seamlessly into Realm and makes it super simple to run thorough background checks on anyone in your church directory or anyone you may be considering for your staff.
You choose the types of checks to run, including national criminal records, sex offender registries, Interpol, terrorist, FBI watch lists, driving records, and more.
With basic security planning and solid security measures in place, your church’s spring activities—online and in-person—should be safe and fun for everyone.