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Praying Safe: The professional approach to protecting faith communities

The news is horrific: another deadly attack on a house of worship. It seems to be happening more often, and more people are dying.

And there seems to be no end in sight.

It’s not just active killers, either. Our churches, synagogues, and temples are ‘soft targets’ — vulnerable to many different kinds of criminal activity, not to mention accidents and disasters, both natural and man-made.

Whether the attack comes from without or within, our houses of worship are vulnerable.

Which means the worshippers themselves are vulnerable.

The trouble is that the people who peddle alarm systems, firearms, and dubious training give us the same old sales pitches and made-up solutions. And that just isn’t working.

We don’t need more sales presentations. What we need is to make our worship communities into hard targets — secure from attacks, criminals, and disasters of all kinds.

But where to find this life-saving information?

I wrote PRAYING SAFE: The professional approach to protecting faith communities with my co-author, Joshua Gideon, specifically to help concerned congregants and their leaders develop, implement, and maintain security plans that are tailor-made for the unique issues of their communities.

We take the technique of target-based threat management — the method professionals use to protect dignitaries and important institutions — and break it down into easy-to-follow steps. Our understandable approach brings this powerful technique down to earth where it can be used by anyone with a desire to keep others safe!

PRAYING SAFE starts with analysis: what are the realistic dangers your congregation faces? How are you vulnerable to those dangers? The answers to those questions reveal the best ways to address those dangers and vulnerabilities. We’ll show you how and why.

One big problem a lot of congregations have — and a problem that very few people in the security business will even talk about — is what do you do first?

How do you decide what’s most important? When priorities conflict, how do you choose where to start? These issues stall too many security plans, but PRAYING SAFE shows you how to make those decisions easier.

An even bigger problem is often found in the congregation itself: getting people to support their own safety and security. With the suggestions in the book, you’ll be able to address the objections of even the most ardent opponents of change (and let’s face it: every worship community has a few of them!)

Great plans, though, are useless if they run out of steam. That’s why PRAYING SAFE also shows you ways you can maintain your safety and security plans over the long haul. The reality is that a lot — perhaps even most — security plans seem to diminish as time goes on, which leaves the community unprotected once more.

Adopting the systematic approach in this book helps, because we build sustainability into the process itself. The result is a long-term security plan that will be there when future members really need it.

You’ll learn:

  • What risk management is, and why it’s important to understand
  • How to develop plans for all plausible contingencies
  • Why intelligence gathering isn’t just for the CIA
  • What kinds of incidents are important to prepare for
  • How to form and train a First Responder team
  • When uniformed security is useful — and why it may not be
  • How to decide if armed responders should be part of your planning
  • Why getting ‘buy-in’ from the congregation is critical to success
  • When your clergy needs special protection
  • The unique needs of religious schools
  • …and much, much more!

At the risk of sounding immodest, there is no other book like PRAYING SAFE. Start making your worship community a harder target — get a copy, read it, and share it with others!