The recent explosion in shootings at public places is perhaps the most alarming current development in American society. Schools, universities, malls, theaters, and, yes, even churches are targets for such tragedies. Carl Chinn, the building engineer at Focus on the Family during their hostage situation during the 1990’s and a member of a security response team at a church shooting in Colorado in 2007, compiles an annual report of violent incidents at churches and faith-based organizations. In his most recent report, he describes 2012 as a “bad year” for violence at churches and religious organizations. He documented the following disturbing statistics:

  • 135 deadly force incidents occurred in 2012 at churches or religious organizations.
  • 39 of these incidents resulted in the loss of life.
  • In these 39 incidents, 56 innocent people lost their lives.
  • 19 of the attackers died in these deadly force incidents, raising the death toll to 75 people.
  • These statistics make 2012 the worst year for violent incidents at churches and religious organizations since Carl Chinn starting tracking the data in 1999.

Unfortunately, church violence is something that every pastor and church leader should be concerned about. Does your church have a violence response plan? Has your church weighed the safety and liability risk of not having a church security team? If the answer to these questions is “no”, these alarming statistics are a great reason to quickly and strategically ensure that your church is protected from such tragedy. The Biblical leader Nehemiah’s response to security threats is worth noting. In Nehemiah 4:9, he stated “we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch (posted a guard).”

[1] Chinn, Carl. “Security? In a Church?!” Carl Chinn. 13 Feb 2013.