As Judge Rules on Border Wall, American Pastors Network Considers Immigration from a Biblical Perspective

President Donald Trump claimed a victory today in the ongoing goal of a border wall to protect America’s security, tweeting that “Our country must have border security!” and “45 year low on illegal border crossings this year. ICE and Border Patrol Agents are doing a great job for our Country.”

On Tuesday, a judge whom Trump had previously accused of bias ruled against an environmental challenge to the president’s central campaign promise, Fox News reported.

As the ongoing debate about immigration and border security continues, the American Pastors Network  has addressed these topics from a biblical perspective through its daily, live radio ministry “Stand in the Gap Today.”

In a segment titled, “Immigration Revisited: What Does the Bible Say?” APN President Sam Rohrer, co-hosts and guests discussed topics such as “America the Melting Pot,” DACA and the response of church leaders, the increase of Christian refugees coming to America and the opportunity to reach souls from around the world in Christians’ own backyard.

“It’s no secret that President Trump feels strongly about putting America first and protecting her borders,” Rohrer said. “Many have reacted to that policy, including Christians who have criticized the president and claimed that his view is unloving or ungodly. But when we look at the Bible and at biblical history, it is absolutely acceptable to favor and support one’s own country. If we understand God’s view—a biblical worldview—we understand that God forms nations. The Book of Acts talks about God laying out the nations with their geographical borders, from before time, so God established countries because He works through them. That’s also why He instituted civil government, which is explored in Romans 13. 

“Nations have personalities,” Rohrer continued. “Consider Israel, a very distinctive nation. God picked Israel and said, ‘I’m going to make of you, Abraham, a great nation and I am going to bless the nations of the world,’ so God clearly favors nations. With that comes the ability and the right to support nations and to pray for them. When we pray for those in authority, we don’t necessarily pray for everyone in positions of authority everywhere in the world. The idea is that we pray for those in authority over us and in our nation.”

The idea of “our nation first” is indeed biblical, Rohrer added. This concept fits the biblical precedent and the model of what God established with Israel.

“Our president is on solid ground when he says we should favor, protect and support our nation because this is where we are citizens,” Rohrer added. “We’re hopefully citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven first, but we are citizens of the United States, and therefore, we have a loyalty to this nation. Our country was founded on Christian principles, and despite the fact that those principles seem to be eroding, one of the things that makes our nation great is that we are founded upon freedom. The average Muslim-majority country is nowhere near as accepting of foreigners and those from other religions as we are in America. And even with the refugee crisis, we will not see Muslim countries stepping up to do more for Muslim refugees—and certainly not more than America and European countries are already doing.”

Rohrer also added that former President Barack Obama had some of the same ideas as President Trump when it comes to immigration. In fact, the “Stand in the Gap Today” hosts shared a clip of then-Sen. Obama promising comprehensive immigration reform and border security as a top priority in his first year as president. Listen to the program here.

“Barack Obama and Donald Trump both recognized a problem that faces all Americans,” Rohrer said, “and all citizens know it. But the goal was different. Obama’s goal was to fundamentally change America. He wanted to change the mix and the culture of America through immigration. But Obama’s idea of immigration reform was clearly something different from Donald Trump’s. One diminishes the role of America and our culture as we have known it, and the other controls immigration so that we don’t fundamentally forever change the culture of America so that it’s no longer what it used to be.”

APN Remembers Billy Graham

The American Pastors Network’s radio ministry, “Stand in the Gap Today” remembered the life of Billy Graham on the day of his death at the age of 99.

“Dr. Billy Graham made an eternal impact on our world by proclaiming the simple truth of the Gospel,” said APN President Sam Rohrer, who is also one of the co-hosts of “Stand in the Gap Today.” “He will always be remembered for the way God touched people’s hearts and minds through his preaching, which motivated many to give their hearts to Christ.”

Rohrer added that Graham will be remembered for the following:

  • For his preaching: Preaching the Gospel clearly and simply around the world.
  • For his family: His wife, Ruth, and his five children, including ministry leaders in their own right, Franklin and Anne, and how the family has remained true to the faith.
  • For his associated ministries: Organizations that care for the poor around the world and demonstrate the love of Christ.
  • For his message: He called sin as sin and Jesus Christ as the only way to heaven, reminding that no one was ever so sinful that Christ’s power to save and heal couldn’t transform.
  • For preservation of his testimony: He wished to be minimized and Christ to be glorified. He put cautions into place to preserve his testimony and the relationship to his wife. For example, Rohrer said, Graham never went into a hotel room until it was checked first. He also put cautions into place regarding his finances and instituted a separate board to handle all the finances so he could not be accused of wrongdoing.
  • For his balanced role: He was not a troublemaker or a bomb thrower. He was a uniting force and a balm in troubled times.

Rohrer and the other “Stand in the Gap” co-hosts talked further about Graham’s life and how pastors in all pulpits can emulate at least one aspect of his service and ministry. Listen to a clip from yesterday’s show here.

American Pastors Network Keeps Christian Persecution at Forefront Through Radio Show, New Coalition

The American Pastors Network is addressing Christian persecution head-on, both through its radio ministry “Stand in the Gap Today” and as a member of a newly formed coalition called Save the Persecuted Christians.

In recent shows, host and APN President Sam Rohrer has welcomed multiple guests to the show to help raise awareness about numerous worldwide incidents of Christians suffering for their beliefs.

“Christian persecution has reached terrible and alarming heights, yet so little is being done about it, so we were honored and moved to join a large coalition made up of concerned individuals and action-oriented organizations who are working together to ‘Save the Persecuted Christians’ around the world,” Rohrer said. “It will take an all-hands-on deck approach—and now—to address the horrendous persecution worldwide. Specifically, we have discussed the attacks on Christians in Muslim countries, and namely, that the worst persecution happens when the power and the sword of government joins forces with the ‘moral’ imprimatur of a religious ideology.”

APN is a member of the new Save the Persecuted Christians coalition, which has the mission to protect Christians worldwide who are suffering discrimination, torture, rape, slavery, banishment and murder—simply because they believe in Jesus Christ.

The goal of the STPC coalition is to greatly reduce—and to deter—the further, global persecution of Christians. Beyond calling attention to the oppression of Christians worldwide, the immediate task is to disseminate actionable information about ways in which the American people can help those being persecuted.

The initiative was announced Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, by asking faith leaders and houses of worship across America to post banners outside for two reasons: 1) build awareness and 2) encourage engagement by visiting www.SaveThePersecutedChristians.org, where resource kits can be ordered and downloaded. The banners feature the “nun” letter, which has become an international symbol for the oppression of Christians ever since the Islamic State used this first letter of the Arabic word for “Nazarene” to designate homes of followers of Christ targeted for persecution.

A model for the coalition was the Save the Soviet Jewry campaign of the 1970s, which started out with banners and signage outside synagogues and churches across America and turned into a powerful political movement and catalyst for policy changes that ultimately helped free the USSR’s oppressed Jews.

“For far too long, and particularly under the Obama presidency, the plight of persecuted Christians and Jews at the hands of not only Islamic ideology-driven but also the atheistic ideologies of North Korea or China was given little attention,” Rohrer concluded. “This has, in part, contributed to the nearly unrestrained increase in Christian persecution worldwide. It has reached a point where no civil person, certainly no God-fearing or liberty-loving person can any longer sit to the side. We have an obligation biblically to assist where we can those who are persecuted for their faith.”

Listen to the two recent programs on Christian persecution here and here.

“Stand in the Gap Today,” which airs on 425 stations nationwide, can be heard live online from noon to 1 p.m. EST at American Pastors Network.com at the orange “Listen Live” button on the right-hand side of the webpage; find a station here.

Christian Persecution—A Slow-Motion Holocaust

A crucial global problem is that millions of Christians are being persecuted around the world, yet the news rarely makes headlines.

That issue was somewhat alleviated, at least temporarily, with the coverage of the recent World Watch List from Open Doors USA, which annually ranks the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted. The top five, with “extreme persecution,” include North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan and Pakistan.

The American Pastors Network  recently discussed this important topic on its daily, live, one-hour radio program, “Stand in the Gap Today,” heard on more than 425 stations nationwide—namely, what Christians can do about these attacks on their brothers and sisters in Christ.

“Some Christians may have been ridiculed by a classmate, maligned by a co-worker or embarrassed by a teacher for their beliefs,” said APN president Sam Rohrer. “But few of us in America have been beaten, thrown into jail or publicly humiliated at the hands of government officials because of our faith in Jesus Christ. Today, around the world, there is more persecution of people because of their faith in Jesus than in the entire history of the world. Yet, sadly, few people know about it. It’s time for Christians who enjoy their religious freedom to stand for those who are persecuted to both create awareness and take action.”

Recently on “Stand in the Gap Today,” Rohrer, his co-hosts and guests have defined persecution, discussed where it’s happening, identified who is perpetrating it and considered what other believers can do in response. Officially, Rohrer said, persecution is defined as the “the infliction of pain, punishment or death upon others unjustly, particularly for adhering to a religious creed or mode of worship, either by way of penalty or for compelling them to renounce their principles.”

“The very sad fact is that persecution in general and Christian persecution in particular has risen its ugly head around the world,” Rohrer added. “Yet very little news of this ever reaches the people. Over the centuries since the days of Nero and the Christians in the Coliseum, to the era of Stalin and Hitler, to the current days of ISIS, Christians have been persecuted and martyred for their faith. We can compare this to a modern-day, slow-moving genocide, with 255 Christians killed worldwide every month, according to Open Doors.”

Additionally, Open Doors shares, 104 Christians are abducted; 180 Christian women are raped, sexually assaulted or forced into marriage; 160 Christians are detained or imprisoned without trial; and 66 churches are attacked—every month.

“Persecution, while it is observable, serious and growing, is sometimes difficult to ascertain the cause,” Rohrer said on the program. “In the study of Christian persecution, there are certain key drivers. Perhaps the very worst is government because it has the power to imprison and kill and could be the very worst type of driver because there is no one to help in such cases, other than another government stepping in.

“But, there are other drivers of persecution: ethnic group leaders, religious and non-religious leaders at various levels, extended family, organized crime cartels and a host of others that would fall in the broader category of ‘society,’” Rohrer continued. “Yet, I would submit that the worst of all persecutors are those who blend the religious and the governmental through Islam and sharia law.”

Ultimately, Christians who are free to worship as they please must be the ones to come to the aid of their fellow believers, Rohrer said, whether by prayer, raising awareness or urging U.S. government intervention.

Rohrer also shared these concepts on the show:

  • Christians shouldn’t hope for persecution, but should expect it.
  • Christians can be confident because no persecution can separate believers from the love of God.
  • Christians should have the attitude and pre-determined conviction of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
  • Persecution is a result of living as Christ commands, refusing to bow down to the god of government or culture, and refusing to renounce the name of Jesus Christ.
  • Christians must awaken to the reality of the times regarding persecution.

Listen to these audio clips on Christian persecution from “Stand in the Gap Today:”

To listen to the entire program, click HERE.

Photo by Simeon Muller on Unsplash

Separation of Church and State— A Grave Misunderstanding

For decades, society has squabbled over the true meaning of “separation of church and state.” Does it mean no prayer in schools? No nativity scenes at government buildings? No Ten Commandments in courtrooms?

The American Pastors Network recently discussed this long-debated topic on its daily, live, one-hour radio program, “Stand in the Gap Today,” heard on more than 425 stations nationwide.

“We’ve all heard it. You can’t do that. That’s a violation of separation of church and state,” said Dave Kistler, one of the co-hosts of “Stand in the Gap Today.” “From prayer at public school functions to references to the name Jesus in military chaplains’ prayers, if some had their way, they’d end every reference to God, and especially Jesus, claiming that ALL such references are an egregious violation of the ‘separation of church and state’ principle.”

On the program, Kistler, who serves as the president of the North Carolina Pastors Network (NCPN, www.ncpastors.net), a state chapter of APN, and co-host Gary Dull, executive director of the Pennsylvania Pastors Network (PPN, www.papastors.net), welcomed attorney David New, a legal and constitutional expert and Bible scholar. New is the author of “The Separation of Church and State for Beginners,” in which he explores the principle, where it came from and from it really means.

“Separation of church and state is one of the most misunderstood and misapplied concepts in the nation,” said APN president Sam Rohrer. “This idea has been the root cause of religion, faith and God’s presence being pushed out of our culture—and these actions have had detrimental effects on society.”

New told the radio hosts that conservative Christians make three errors when it comes to the separation of church and state:

  1. That separation of church and state appears in the Constitution (that phrase does not).
  2. That only Thomas Jefferson believed in the separation of church and state. (Jefferson had obvious and overt respect, even affection, for religion, though he is often criticized for being irreligious.)
  3. To think that this separation concept is bad for religious liberty (Jefferson assured Baptists during his time that this “wall of separation” would be positive, not to keep God out of government, but rather to keep government out of the affairs of the church.)

Listen to these audio clips for more on the separation of church and state discussion from “Stand in the Gap Today:”

Photo by Sara Silva on Unsplash

American Pastors Network 2018 Challenge: Be Unwavering in Preaching Whole Counsel of God

For now, the 1954 Johnson Amendment is still law, with a repeal of the measure not included in the most recent tax reform bill. But that should not stop pastors from preaching the whole counsel of God or addressing the most pressing societal topics.

“There is perhaps no more crucial time than the present for pastors to preach fervently on the most crucial issues of the day,” says APN President Sam Rohrer. “Many pastors may not choose to address these tough topics for a variety of reasons—fear of the Johnson Amendment, concerns about creating an uncomfortable environment, even resistance from donors or ministry leaders—but God implores those He has called to ministry to inform His people of every matter that may affect their daily lives and their walks with God. That includes the subjects that are perhaps difficult, unsettling or controversial.

“In 2018,” Rohrer continued, “the American Pastors Network is challenging all pastors not to hold back when it comes to the subject matter God is calling them to address from the pulpit. The people in the pews are looking for guidance from their pastors, and in this dark world, they desperately need the light of Scripture and to know what God’s Word says about ALL things.”

Pastors who want to commit to sound, truth-filled preaching in 2018 can sign onto APN’s “We Will Stand” initiative, which invites America’s pastors to intentionally band together and faithfully stand for biblical truth in the public square, and let their congregations and communities know they, too, can be involved.

Pastors who sign the “We Will Stand—Preach, Pray, Encourage, Engage” pledge will commit to the following:

  • I WILL PREACH PASSIONATELY the whole counsel of God, with a biblical worldview that communicates the priority of the Gospel to a fallen, broken humanity. It means exhorting the saints to apply biblical principles to their own lives, the lives of their family, and the culture of their neighborhood, state, and country.
  • I WILL PRAY FERVENTLY with faith, obedience, discipline, fasting.
  • I WILL ENCOURAGE CONGREGATIONS to be salt and light by engaging the culture with truth, practicing good citizenship and voting informed by sound information and biblical principles.
  • I WILL ENGAGE AS A MINISTER TOGETHER with civic leaders through prayer, encouragement and education on critical issues.

For more about “We Will Stand,” click here.

Give the Greatest Gift this Christmas!

Perhaps the greatest gift born again Christians can give at Christmas is to share the same Good News the shepherds did so many centuries ago.

But few Christians are sharing the Gospel, according to a new survey from the American Culture & Faith Institute (ACFI), and it may be having a negative impact on the number of born again believers as a whole—a trend that is concerning to the American Pastors Network.

The research uncovered two alarming facts. First, just one out of every five adults (21 percent) “strongly affirms a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs with people who hold different beliefs than they do.” And second, the proportion of adults who meet the born again criterion has been on a downward trajectory since 2010.

“At a time when Christians should be sharing the Gospel more than ever before, this study is not only discouraging, but the findings also have grave consequences for our culture,” said APN President Sam Rohrer. “Indeed, this is also distressing information for the church, and pastors must take up the charge to reverse these trends in our society by committing to preach the whole counsel of God and remain entrenched in the Word.

“If we believe that Christ can transform lives, bring peace in a storm, replace hate with love, and even reconcile the relationship with our enemies, shouldn’t we now more than ever share this Good News?” Rohrer asked. “If we don’t, no one else will.”

ACFI also reported that for the 15-year period from 1991 through 2005, an average of 40 percent of the adult population qualified as born again. That average rose slightly, to 44 percent, during the five years from 2006 to 2010. Since that time, however, the mean has plummeted to just 36 percent, with 2017 producing the lowest proportion of born again adults since well-known social science researcher George Barna began tracking the trends in 1991. The 2017 average indicates that just 31 percent of adults are born again, he wrote.

“This research also tells us that the outlook is not positive for the numbers of born again Christians to grow,” Rohrer added. “Older Americans are more likely to be born again, with the younger population consisting of much smaller numbers of born again Christians. Likewise, these millennial- and Generation X-aged parents will be raising children who will know less and less about confessing their sins to Jesus, asking Christ for forgiveness and looking forward to eternity with the Savior.”

Rohrer added that one way born again Christians can help spread the Gospel this Christmas season is to simply invite another person to a Christmas church service. A 2015 LifeWay Research survey found that six out of 10 Americans typically attend church at Christmastime. Among those who don’t attend at Christmas, a majority (57 percent) say they would likely attend—if someone they knew invited them.

For the research, Barna developed and continues to use a measure for “born again” that evaluates if a person has confessed their personal sin, asked Jesus Christ to save them, and believes they will live eternally in Heaven only because of His grace toward them. Read the full ACFI study here.

Keeping Churches Safe at Christmas

Much like the stable and the manger kept the Christ child protected, and as the shepherds guarded their flocks in the fields by night, churches must now keep their congregations safe.

Many churches are considering safety measures they previously hadn’t thought about after a deadly shooting at a small Texas church last month rocked both that community and the nation. Suddenly, pastors and church leaders are thinking about safety—no matter the size of the church.

The American Pastors Network, the largest national network dedicated to equipping pastors to be a voice for truth in the public square, has been focusing on church security by guiding pastors in the wake of the Texas tragedy.

In 2015, LifeWay Research conducted a study to learn more about church attendance patterns during Christmastime, reported Christianity Today. Historically, Christmastime attracts more visitors than perhaps any other time of the year. In fact, for the survey, LifeWay found that six out of 10 Americans typically attend church at Christmastime. Among those who don’t attend at Christmas, a majority (57 percent) say they would likely attend if someone they knew invited them.

With these trends in mind, church leaders know they will welcome many visitors through the doors this month. And with church security front and center, some churches need a starting place to keep everyone inside the church safe.

“Over the past several weeks, leaders of the American Pastors Network have had many conversations with pastors who want to make safety a priority in their churches, but don’t know where to start,” said APN President Sam Rohrer. “We live in a time where we now must acknowledge the harsh reality that the church sanctuary does not shield us from the evils of this world. Especially knowing that more people will visit American churches this month perhaps than any other time of year, the American Pastors Network wants to help church leaders as they make plans that will keep churchgoers safe—and so that many visitors will feel welcomed and want to return in the new year.”

After having internal meetings and conference calls on the matter, and while addressing the topic on “Stand in the Gap Today,” the daily radio ministry of APN, leaders developed recommendations for churches to consider when it comes to the important matter of church security.

  1. Understand the biblical and moral responsibility of safety. It is the duty of pastors and church leadership to do all they can to protect the lives of those in the congregation.
  2. Develop and train a security team.Dedicate certain individuals, whether staff or volunteers, to undertake the important issue of security. Train these personnel how to identify potential threats and how to de-escalate potential threat situations. During services or functions, outfit the team in plain clothes.
  3. Perform a risk assessment.Where is the church vulnerable in its facility and grounds? Consider a community threat assessment as well.
  4. Implement security protocols.Consider these suggestions: 1) Lock doors after services begin; 2) Post security team members at entrances; 3) Conduct a regular, annual re-assessment of the security plan.
  5. Install security cameras.Consider video surveillance to document and record potential threats or incidents.
  6. Establish a medical response team.Mobilize medical personnel already within the congregation who can take action if injuries ever occur.
  7. Evaluate the legal parameters for security measures.Research insurance requirements and conduct a liability assessment. Identify state civil laws regarding security measures, which can vary from state to state.
  8. Create an evacuation plan.Be sure the security team knows how to best evacuate churchgoers of all ages and mobility ranges, and consider creating another key team to assist. Practice the plan through drills.
  9. Involve local law enforcement in the security plan.Tell local police departments and other emergency responders about the security plan, perhaps through an evening meeting. They may be able to offer additional suggestions or protocols.
  10. Communicate the new or existing security measures with the congregation.Members will appreciate knowing the church has a plan to keep them safe.

Has Political Correctness Silenced Us?

The Greek poet Euripides was known to say that “Silence is true wisdom’s best reply.”

But when it comes to discussing political views in this sometimes-tempestuous society, many are taking the stance that silence—especially in difficult conversations about politics, religion and other controversial topics—is preferred and safer.

As evidence, the American Pastors Network, the largest national network dedicated to equipping pastors to be a voice for truth in the public square, is pointing to a new Cato Institute study that found 71 percent of Americans say political correctness has silenced some of the discussions society must have, and 58 percent have political views they are afraid to share.

APN President Sam Rohrer says these findings are telling in regards to how Americans interact with each other, the cultural climate and the role of the church in these important conversations.

“The most pressing topics in our society are not being discussed because a culture has been created that silences our voices,” Rohrer said. “This can be due to a variety of reasons, including fear, isolation or ridicule. These are the topics, however, Americans should be discussing, and especially Christians as they hopefully bring the truth of God’s Word to our everyday conversations. Furthermore, how does this translate to the Church? We pray pastors are not silencing themselves as well, but we know that many choose not to address from the pulpit the crucial matters in our culture for whatever reason.

“One of the missional goals of the American Pastors Network is to encourage biblically faithful clergy to take seriously Jesus’ command to be the ‘salt and light’ to the culture, encourage informed Christian thinking about contemporary social issues, examine public policy issues without politicizing their pulpits and engage their congregations in taking part in the political process on a non-partisan basis,” Rohrer added. “We certainly can’t act as salt and light by hiding the light of God’s truth under a bushel, which is exactly what we resort to when we keep silent in an increasingly PC culture.”

The Cato 2017 Free Speech and Tolerance Survey, which polled 2,300 U.S. adults, also found that political party somewhat dictated how people felt about silencing their conversations. For example, a slim majority (53 percent) of Democrats do not feel the need to self-censor. Conversely, strong majorities of Republicans (73 percent) and independents (58 percent) say they keep some political beliefs to themselves.

Cato also reported, “A solid majority (59 percent) of Americans think people should be allowed to express unpopular opinions in public, even those deeply offensive to others. On the other hand, 40 percent think government should prevent hate speech.”

Despite this, the survey also found Americans willing to censor, regulate, or punish a wide variety of speech and expression they personally find offensive:

  • 51 percent of staunch liberals say it’s “morally acceptable” to punch Nazis.
  • 53 percent of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from people who burn the American flag.
  • 51 percent of Democrats support a law that requires Americans use transgender people’s preferred gender pronouns.
  • 65 percent of Republicans say NFL players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the anthem.
  • 58 percent of Democrats say employers should punish employees for offensive Facebook posts.
  • 47 percent of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques.
  • 59 percent of liberals say it’s hate speech to say transgender people have a mental disorder; only 17 percent of conservatives agree.
  • 39 percent of conservatives believe it’s hate speech to say the police are racist; only 17 percent of liberals agree.
  • 80 percent of liberals say it’s hateful or offensive to say illegal immigrants should be deported; only 36 percent of conservatives agree.
  • 87 percent of liberals say it’s hateful or offensive to say women shouldn’t fight in military combat roles, while 47 percent of conservatives agree.
  • 90 percent of liberals say it’s hateful or offensive to say homosexuality is a sin, while 47 percent of conservatives agree.

“These findings, especially the chasms between liberals and conservatives when it comes to moral and biblical issues such as a homosexuality, immigration, religion and gender, are especially important for church leaders,” Rohrer added. “While every pastor must first and foremost preach the whole counsel of God and reveal the Bible’s truth without waver, it is helpful to know where the people in the pews stand and the conversations they are having—or not having—regarding these important matters.”

10 Action Steps Every Church Should Consider Regarding Security

More than a week after the horrific, tragic and frightening shooting at a rural Texas church, many church leaders are thinking seriously about their own church security and what may need to be done to protect their congregations.

Leaders from the American Pastors Network, the largest national network dedicated to equipping pastors to be a voice for truth in the public square, have discussed the tragedy with pastors, held strategic conference calls on the topic and addressed the news on the APN radio ministry, “Stand in the Gap Today” (listen here and here), heard on 425 stations around the country.

“Unfortunately, church security is now a pressing matter in our nation,” said APN President Sam Rohrer. “No longer can we fully count on the peaceful and serene sanctuary of the church. It’s clear that those with evil intentions, whether against the church itself or those inside, have sought to steal and kill and destroy, as we witnessed at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Because of the magnitude of the destruction of lives there through violence, church leaders are now considering demolishing the church building, after the hopes and dreams of 26 lives were demolished on November 5. We live in a culture where our churches must seriously think about how to keep people safe. Just as a shepherd carries a staff to guard his sheep, so must every pastor employ ways to protect his flock.”

After conversations over the past week, Rohrer and other APN leaders developed recommendations for churches to consider when it comes to the important matter of church security.

  1. Understand the biblical and moral responsibility of church safety. It is the duty of pastors and church leadership to do all they can to protect the lives of those in the congregation. Scripture sets forth clear responsibilities for those in positions of authority. They are to lead (II Tim 4:2, Hebrews 13:17); teach (James 3:1, Jeremiah 3:15, Eph. 4:11-12); protect (Ezekiel 34:1-10, I Peter 2:5, Acts 20:28) and serve (I Peter 5:1-4). The Bible also gives examples  of watchmen and gatekeepers who were to guard the temple and the city in Old Testament times (I Chron. 23:5, I Chron. 26:1-19, Neh. 7:1-3, II Sam. 18:26); and shepherds who were to guard the sheep in the New Testament (a type of Christ and the true Church of believers) (John 10:1-3). The church should be a place of both spiritual and physical safety. The Pastor, especially, is to guard the church from false doctrine, and those who would take advantage of the “sheep” both morally and physically, as the churches in Revelation were commended for their watchfulness and condemned for their failure in this area (Rev. 2:2, Rev 2:20). To listen to a Stand in the Gap Radio program with more on  this topic, please click HERE.
  2. Develop and train a security team.Dedicate certain individuals, whether staff or volunteers, to undertake the important issue of security. Train these personnel how to identify potential threats and how to de-escalate potential threat situations. During services or functions, outfit the team in plain clothes.
  3. Perform a risk assessment.Where is the church vulnerable in its facility and grounds? Consider a community threat assessment as well.
  4. Implement security protocols.Consider these suggestions: 1) Lock doors after services begin; 2) Post security team members at entrances; 3) Conduct a regular, annual re-assessment of the security plan.
  5. Install security cameras.Consider video surveillance to document and record potential threats or incidents.
  6. Establish a medical response team.Mobilize medical personnel already within the congregation who can take action if injuries ever occur.
  7. Evaluate the legal parameters for security measures.Research insurance requirements and conduct a liability assessment. Identify state civil laws regarding security measures, which can vary from state to state.
  8. Create an evacuation plan.Be sure the security team knows how to best evacuate churchgoers of all ages and mobility ranges, and consider creating another key team to assist. Practice the plan through drills.
  9. Involve local law enforcement in the security plan.Tell local police departments and other emergency responders about the security plan, perhaps through an evening meeting. They may be able to offer additional suggestions or protocols.10.
  10. Communicate the new or existing security measures with the congregation.Members will appreciate knowing the church has a plan to keep them safe.

Photo by Daniil Kuželev on Unsplash