DALLAS – The mass shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs has many pastors across Texas re-evaluating safety and security measures in their own churches.
”I think something like this can definitely crush someone’s faith,” said Pastor Richie Butler of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Dallas.
Butler believes the violence will be the focus of sermons across congregations this week.
”The church is supposed to be a sanctuary, where people can come and feel free to lay their cares,” Butler explained.
The pastor says fine tuning security measures will be an interesting burden on small and mid-size churches. St. Paul United Methodist Church had security experts advise its team on safety measures in the past. Until last week, volunteer law enforcement provides security at the church campus. Now, the church pays for uniformed officers.
Butler explained, ”We’re Downtown. We have homeless in our midst, and we’re in a bustling urban core. So, you know, we’re susceptible to challenges.”
Increasing security measures could be a costly burden on many congregations.
Rev. Dr. Michael Waters said, “Of course, as always, your initial thought is here we go again.”
Waters leads Joy Tabernacle and Agape Temple A.M.E in southern Dallas. He has also been reflecting on the church tragedy.
Dr. Waters said, ”Of course, you can’t eliminate all threats. That’s the reality of the world, that’s just the world in which we live. But you can do some things in order to try to keep church members safe.”
Waters’ church also has security protocols in place. However, the pastor says given the frequency and history of the attacks on some churches, many pastors are constantly concerned.
”The reality is that we are not fully safe,” Dr. Waters said. “Not in our homes, not in our schools, not in our churches. Our nation needs national gun reform.”
Trained security professionals with the American Institute for Management Strategies, in partnership with Cedar Valley College, host regular Church Safety Seminars across Dallas-Fort Worth.
You can register for the classes by visiting their website.
Or by calling: 214-801-7108 or 972-860-8286 for the Church Safety Seminars.