REMINDER: Carl Chinn will be speaking at an event with LTC. Dave Grossman and Jimmy Meeks in Virginia Beach, VA this week. Go to VA Beach Sheepdogs for Churches Seminar for more information.
An Untimely Message?
I know it is the Easter season – in fact the first day of this post is on Easter day. He is risen – He is risen indeed. With all heads bowed, and no-one looking around – well -- some of us should be looking around.
On any Sunday or event, we focus on the potential bad stuff to allow our pastors and congregation to enjoy worship. Why should Easter Sunday be any different? In fact, we should perhaps be more alert.
Maybe it is a poor day to bring it up, but I am compelled to consider a subject rarely (if ever) addressed in our circles. So brace yourself –cults and the dangers they present are on my mind today.
Perhaps it is because a madman – following one of the most evil cults in history (Nazism) – killed three people around the Jewish Community Center in the Kansas City area last weekend. Or maybe it’s because the long dead ringleader behind that sick and twisted cult was born on April 20th (1889) – which falls on Easter this year. We are reminded that some miscreants (such as 2 especially vile attackers on 4/20/1999 at Columbine High School) like to honor the birthday of that reprobate.
Maybe I give this alert today because we need to be reminded there are more where they came from. The devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour[i]
By definition, a cult is;
A small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous.[ii](underlines are mine)
When it comes to the neo-Nazis and others, the label of “small” would be inaccurate. There is a lot of misinformation on cults, partially because the subject has been hijacked by liberal agendas wanting to make Christian moral standards out to be cults. Visit the big sites on cults or hate groups (worldcultwatch.com, or the infamous Southern Poverty Law Center) and you will find a healthy stream of blasts of the Christian culture and conservative values – completely derailing the value of even having a “cult watchlist”.
But why should we as church security teams be concerned about cults?
No matter what “list” or “definition” you go by, the fact remains that there are many active cults in the U.S. today. Many of those cults see faith-based organizations and educational facilities as target-rich environments. They use open door policies like a Trojan horse, to get in and begin making contacts. They are looking for young people and others who are searching for their identity. There is always someone standing by ready to steal our youth.
While I am always concerned about an active attack, I am more concerned over the subtle ways in which that satanic roaring lion slips into our church silently and carries off the most vulnerable. Call us sheepdogs, watchmen, guards, or any term you like. The fact remains we are to watch for danger. That danger doesn’t always carry a material weapon.
Think About it:
Ø Always be extra vigilant on significant dates. Easter and 4/20 are two significant dates that have the potential for volatility when they fall on the calendar together.
Ø You cannot know what influences are creeping into your church youth program if you are not well connected with the youth. Just as law enforcement have intentional efforts to establish communication with the youth “on their beat” – church security operations should have some good people working specifically with the youth.
Ø Keep your eyes and ears wide open for those DLR’s. Don’t be so focused on searching for weapons that you block out talk or signs of a sub-culture developing around your youth. Signs could be as subtle as multiple arm bands. Arm bands are usually good, but they can be a cover for the new “Emo” cult where youth emulate death and despair (arm bands can cover up a pattern of wrist cutting). Not to focus too much on any one kind of cult danger – but rather to use a very applicable and currently prevalent example of the things to watch for in our youth.
Ø Heads up! I have good information that there is a roaring lion seeking to destroy us.