Jun 30, 2015

Should Guns Be Used to Protect Children's Ministries?

The recent horrific church shooting in Charleston, SC causes us once again to ponder the question, "Should guns be used to protect children's ministries?"

Many churches ban concealed weapons.  They say it goes against religious teachings of non-violence and that guns shouldn't be in a place of worship.  They argue that God's response to violence is never greater violence.  And many states specifically ban guns in church.

But a number of states have recently passed laws allowing concealed weapons in churches.  Approximately 25 states now allow concealed carry weapons in churches.

Personally,  I believe it is vital to protect your children's ministry.  Here's what that looks like for us.
  • An armed police officer is present in our children's ministry area during all weekend services.  This person is hired and in uniform.
  • Everyone must present a printed ID badge before being allowed to enter a children's ministry area.
  • Once service begins, all children's ministry areas are locked down. 
  • We have a volunteer security team that patrols all areas.  Many of these are police officers or former police officers who carry a concealed weapon.  
  • For clarity - none of the people mentioned above come into the children's ministry rooms.  They are outside the door or in the hallways.  I would never recommend having someone with a concealed weapon inside the room with the kids. 
Whether you believe guns should be used to protect our children's ministries or not, one thing we do agree on.  Safety and security must be a top priority.  Why?  First and foremost to protect our children and volunteers.  Secondly, parents want to know that their kids are safe at church.  I honestly think a parent seeing a uniformed officer in the children's area is a factor in them returning.  It shows you take the security of the children very seriously and value them.

What do you believe?  Should guns be used to protect children's ministries?  Do you have people who are armed present in your children's ministry areas?  Weigh in and share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

3 comments:

Very well said. Agree completely.

I don't disagree, but this is a truly terrifying decision to have to make as a Church.

I have been involved with children's ministry for over 30 years. About 6 months ago, I started carrying a concealed firearm whenever I am involved in something at our church building. If I have taken the responsibility of teaching and caring for the most precious individuals in our congregation, then I feel I also have a responsibility to protect them should something really awful happen. Having the right tools to do so only makes sense, at least for me.

I have carried while working with 3 year olds up through junior high students. (Indeed, we just finished 5 days of Vacation Bible School). Activities have involved not only teaching, but lots of energetic games both inside and out, and even an occasional child-initiated hug. I have never had a parent or child notice that I am carrying. If done properly and safely by the right person, I believe that concealed carry can have a place in children's ministry in the midst of the ever increasing evil in today's world.

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