Preparing For Protestors

With the recent incidents of protests focused on churches, we want to discuss this timely church security issue.  The type of disruptive protests we’ve seen recently is something new in our nation and all indications are that this type of activity will likely increase given the current political and social climate. 

Let’s start with some really good news:  This chaos is not a surprise to our Lord!  He is still in control and is still with His people working in the midst of all things!  You have often heard from SecureChurch that keeping people safe in our churches is a “ministry” not just a volunteer program!  In fact, if there has ever been a time where we need wise and prepared security for our churches it is now! 

So, let’s start with a couple of important things to focus on as we deal with protestors:  prayer and preparation.

Start in Prayer

If you have attended any of our SecureChurch training, you will quickly see that we always start with prayer.  Why is that?  It’s because the only hope we have for our divided nation is the Lord and prayer activates super-natural power to be released into chaos!  

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV) says “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  

Notice that humble prayer must be first, then the healing can follow!  Are your teams praying?  Are you asking God humbly to heal our land?

Remember that if we are prayed up, we likely won’t miss the spiritual part of what is happening in our nation.  It means we are ready to be used by God to perhaps breathe peace into chaos, love into hate, and healing into suffering.

We must never forget the Biblical imperative to love the person more than we love our own position… or dislike theirs.  The good news is that when we show that kind of love, we represent our church and bring glory to our savior far more than a pithy rebuke laced with judgment and anger.  It’s never easy to show that kind of love when someone disrupts something sacred to us.  Jesus modeled this from the cross of all places!


Remember that Security is all about making something not happen rather than waiting for it to happen and then responding!  When we pray and then prepare, we are likely to be able to respond with a solid plan that can help deescalate a situation. 

Let me encourage you to consider the following in terms of preparing: 

  • Many of the protests are coordinated in advance and not just thrown together.  Coordinate with your local police and ask them to notify you immediately if they know that protests are near.


  • Monitor social media for posts that mention your church.  Many protest groups use the internet to organize their protest and that can be detected by a savvy church.  There are tools which can do this for you.  Just search “Social Media Monitoring Tools” and you will find a variety of approaches and applications.    


  • Coordinate with the police to determine their response plan.  If they tell you they will not be unable to respond, make your plan accordingly.


  • If possible, reach out to protest organizers in advance and have a conversation regarding their plans and how you can work with them.  Remember that the church is called to be salt and light and the protestors are not our enemy, the enemy is our enemy! 


  • If the intent of the protest seems questionable and attempts at coordination fail, consider delaying or reschedule church activities.  If your church is on a busy street where a peaceful protest is occurring, you may want to have people gifted in dealing with others positioned in the front of your church where they can hand water out or encouraging people that are angry or hurting.  Perhaps you can minister to those protesting, God loves them too. 


  • If you see the protests turning violent, call the police immediately and seek guidance. Have a plan to lock the church down and, if possible, safely evacuate people.   Remember that circumstances can change dramatically in an instant so always confer with the local police before you take such actions.  They may have intelligence of an approaching mob.  The plan should be tested and should consider how to respond if protesters surround the facility.  This is exactly why not having lots of people in the building is a wiser approach if the protests are questionable.   


  •  You will almost certainly have congregation members, or team members, that wish to stay and defend the building.  This is never a good course of action.   


  • Should protestors show up during services and attempt to disrupt the services, a lock down should be prepared for and implemented before they can gain entrance to your building.  This requires someone observing in the parking lot at all times during services.  


  • If protestors come into the building remember that they are videoing all of the response and looking for a spark to demonstrate their hatred for churches. Don’t give that to them.  Try to establish rapport with them and remind them that you are not their enemies.

 Be Alert and Have a Plan

What are some signs that protesters are planning to disrupt your services?  

  • Several new people arriving in one or more cars and then splitting up
  • Several people arriving in many cars and then meeting up
  • Signs that they may be communicating with each other through texting or other means
  • Signs rolled up under their arms, or a large banner stuffed into a backpack
  • Several people with a similar colored T-shirt peeking out from under their jackets
  • You may see someone armed with a GoPro camera
  • People parking just off campus on a side street instead of in your lot

If they gain entrance to your building without you knowing it, you must be prepared to grapple with the disruption during the service.  This requires the teamwork of your worship, security and leadership teams.

Monitor not only the protesters, but also your congregation.  Individual congregation members will often try to take matters into their own hands and go out to rebuke or threaten the protesters.  We must never let that happen as it is placing that individual in harm’s way and it will likely result in a charged interaction that will go viral on the internet.  We have seen more than once that a congregation member will try to slip out the back to handle things their way.

You must also know your local jurisdiction’s laws about serving a no-trespass notice.  Call your local police today to ask them how to execute one.

Remember that the world is watching how the church responds to this chaos, my hope and prayer is that we respond differently and always with wisdom and discernment.

 Stay safe out there and be blessed!




Thank you!

Your newsletter is on the way!