Current events as of late keep safety and security concerns top-of-mind. How do these concerns affect attendees and guests coming to your church building? We’ve accumulated some statistics that paint a picture. Not only is security important to people attending church services, but it’s also something they are willing to pay to make happen. In this post, we’ll share some statistics and some ways to make sure people’s needs are met.

What Churchgoers are Saying about Church Building Safety

Here are some statistics from a survey conducted by Full Armor Church on church building safety:

  • 86% of congregant attendees feel it’s important for leaders and volunteers to be professionally trained to prepare for an active threat.
  • 73% of churchgoers say that their place of worship is completely unprepared to address a security threat.
  • 45% would go to services more often if they knew security was in place.
  • 63% are willing to make a donation that would help cover costs related to security.

Ways to Address Such Church Security Concerns

What does this mean for church leaders? With the caveat that we are not security experts, but rather church design and construction professionals, here’s what we see in terms of addressing attendees’ security needs.

Begin by conducting a thorough risk assessment of your church design and property. Where are the threats and potential weak points, and how might they be addressed? Also, make certain that each member on your security teams has been through a background check. Keep your security team members visible in obvious places like the foyer, in the parking lot, and at the children’s check-in area. That can go a long way towards defusing or preventing any kind of security incident.

You will also want to have written policies and procedures, make clear assignments and communication protocols, and conduct comprehensive and ongoing training. While many people might have tactical training, like at a shooting range, come to mind, we believe training in CPR, AED (automated external defibrillator), and first aid are much more important. Team members also need to be trained in recognizing the onset of violence and the use of verbal de-escalation tools. By publicizing these preparations, church leaders also help attendees to understand that they are making church building security a priority.

When and How to Consider Bringing in Professionals

One big question for church leaders is whether to recruit security team volunteers or hire a professional security team, especially for a large church complex with multiple buildings. Some churches have chosen to use either on- or off-duty first responders, such as police, firefighters, EMTs, and professional medical staff who are prepared to immediately address any medical incident. Church leaders and these professionals must agree upfront about when to step in and how to determine if they are needed.

Providing effective safety and security in your church building is a challenging task. This is exactly why we share our free i3 webinars on church design and construction—and also bring in issues like church building security.