Today I’m proud to announce the publication of a new book: PRAYING SAFE — The professional approach to protecting faith communities!
This book is all about helping churches, synagogues, temples — religious institutions of all types — protect themselves from a wide range of threats.
This book came about because my co-author, Joshua Gideon, and I have grown annoyed with the superficial and often misguided responses to attacks on houses of worship. We’ve watched as people have been hurt and killed simply because most religious institutions have no safety/security plan other than “call 911”.
We’ve also tired of the misinformed responses from people in the firearms community to “learn how to shoot”. Without understanding the threats they face, and where their vulnerabilities are, making a blanket recommendation like that isn’t just irresponsible — it’s reckless.
We decided it was time to tackle the problem in a more comprehensive manner. What we’ve come up with is unique and, we hope, revolutionary in faith communities: teaching people how to protect their congregations the way professionals protect VIPs and important institutions.
We took our knowledge of security planning and defensive training, along with both our experiences in heading security initiatives for worship communities, and distilled it all into a handbook that any congregation can use to build their own customized and effective safety/security initiative.
The result is Praying Safe.
Let’s get real
The book starts by acknowledging that houses of worship are, overwhelmingly, ‘soft targets’ — susceptible to crime, manmade accidents, and natural disasters. Whether from the outside or the inside, churches, synagogues, and temples are vulnerable
Which means the people praying in them are vulnerable, too.
Our answer is to show people how to make their house of worship a ‘hard target’ — fortified against attackers, disasters, and criminals. Praying Safe was written specifically to help congregations develop, implement, and maintain their own comprehensive security plans.
Real protection, not just security theater
In Praying Safe, we show people just how to do that. We take the sometimes overwhelming job of risk management and break it down into easy-to-follow steps.
We show people how to determine the dangers their congregation really faces; the most likely, the most plausible dangers.
Taking that information, we show readers how to figure out where their vulnerabilities are — those areas where they’re actually at risk. Once they know that, it’s easy to decide the best ways address those dangers and vulnerabilities to help keep everyone safer.
Along the way, we tackle all kinds of problems unique to securing houses of worship. For instance, how can you get a Security Committee to decide what to do first, or simply agree on what’s important? This sidetracks a lot of security planning, but Praying Safe addresses the issues and helps the readers move past that roadblock.
Another common issue is getting “buy in” from the congregation itself. Let’s face it, in any large group of people there will be a wide range of opinions (and more than a few naysayers who try to derail everything.) We give the readers tips on how to win over those critics and win the support of even the staunchest opponents.
Security is a marathon, not a sprint
I think one of the most important things Praying Safe does is showing congregations how to maintain their security plans over a long period of time. The reality is that too many worship security initiatives get diluted as time passes, and many end up withering away — leaving the community right back where they started. Our systematic approach builds sustainability into the plan, which produces security that is ongoing and ready when the congregation needs it most.
We tackle a lot of topics in this comprehensive manual, including the controversial topic of armed security teams, working with uniformed security, how to develop threat intelligence, and much more. There is nothing else like Praying Safe.
It’s time to make our worship communities safer and more secure. The combination of Praying Safe and a little initiative can do just that!
If you’ve got the initiative (or know someone who does), all you need is the book — and you can get it here:
P.S.: I don’t ask this very often, but this work is so important that I hope you’ll share it with everyone of faith that you know! (If you know someone who works in or runs a religious bookstore, please tell them to order directly from Ingram Distributing!)
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