“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come (2 Tim 3:1) . . . Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them (2 Tim 3:12-14).”
“The prudent person sees trouble ahead and hides, but the naive continue on and suffer the consequences (Prov 22:3 ISV).”
Churches are meant to be sanctuaries from all the evil that happens in the outside world. But for many reasons, churches in America today are becoming targets for protests, predators, and maybe even terrorists.
From small country churches to the megachurches that see thousands of worshipers every week, violence in the sanctuary happens far too often.
Of the many churches in Memphis, Tennessee, the largest is Bellevue Baptist Church. Founded in 1903, it has since grown in membership to almost 30,000 people.
Andy Willis, who heads up security at the church, has the monumental job of keeping this large congregation safe.
“Today, churches that speak the truth, that teach and preach true biblical principles, they draw a lot of attention because there are a lot of components of society today that don’t want to hear that,” Willis told CBN News.
“As a church security team, we have to be prepared for those kinds of situations, to intervene and to protect the flock,” he said.
“Obviously everyone has issues. Church is the place to bring your issues. In the security department, it’s our job to have discernment to determine which of those issues are dangerous to others,” Willis said.
“And if we make that determination, we try to do intervention in a meaningful way, to point them at the right resources to help them,” he continued.
Rising Global Threat
One of the resources that helps Bellevue prepare is church security consultant Tim Miller, a former Secret Service agent. Miller said the threat against churches is rising worldwide.
“Violence against Christians is rampant around the world,” Miller told CBN News. “It hasn’t necessarily touched us at the level it has other places, but if we think we’re immune from that, we’re sadly mistaken.”
“We will begin as a nation to experience that same level of violence,” he warned. “And actually the methodology we’re seeing today, that same methodology is coming to the United States. The question for us is, are we prepared to address it?”
Trust God, But Be Prepared
Willis said Christians need to trust God, but be prepared.
“The biggest thing that makes me cringe when I talk to other churches about security is they will say, ‘We don’t have security; we’re just praying that nothing happens,” Willis told CBN News.
“So when I hear that, I think, it’s like my son saying to me, ‘Hey I’ve got a big test tomorrow, but God already knows the grade I’m going to get, so I’m just going to leave it up to Him,'” he continued.
“It’s important for us to understand that while we are to trust God, God has a big part for us to play in His plan,” he said.
“At the end of the day they need to marry faith with wisdom and action,” he said. “It’s time for Christians to become educated about what’s going on in the world, to be prayerful, and then to be prepared. And those things will make a difference.”