SECURITY!? IN A CHURCH?

                                                                        What if?

Most of you now know about the e-mailed bomb threats circulated around the U.S. on Thursday, 12/13/18. Most were identical, declaring (in poor English), “My device is inside your building.” 

An unconvincing claim demanding $20,000 deposited into a bitcoin account said if the demand was not met, a recruited mercenary would detonate the device. The threat stated it was a small device, not to bring down a building but to wound many people.

Some few exceptions to the mass threat were phoned in which authorities had not yet connected to the e-mail threats. Since that sort of thing happens every day somewhere, they may have nothing to do with the Bitcoin (BTC) threat.

Unpacking it, we see it occurred in 4 countries on Thursday; Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the U.S.A. On Saturday 12/15, the same BTC threat hit multiple sites in Hong Kong.

Many cities in no less than 25 American states received BTC threats. In Colorado Springs alone (as an example) there were 24 threats. The BTC threats were facilitated by “Guerilla Mail”, an e-mail service that hides the identity of the sender.  

Churches, schools, courthouses, media outlets and big businesses seemed to be the targets.

The FBI released a statement about this on the 13th; "We are aware of the recent bomb threats made in cities around the country.  We remain in contact with our law enforcement partners to provide assistance. As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety.”

Think About it

A terrorist attack of this nature is very rare at churches in the U.S. Since I began tracking attacks in 1999, there has not been anybody killed by such an attack at a church on U.S. soil, nor has any bomb threat resulted in an actual explosion. Not once.

Does that mean we should ignore all such threats? No, that would be idiocy.

By being really good at the small, low impact / high frequency incidents we are better prepared for the big, high impact / less frequent events.

Though such a bombing has not happened, it’s worthy of discussion. As the FBI said, remain vigilant and promptly report.

When you discuss what you might do, discuss how groups of people in threatened environments (e.g. schools) are often bussed to a church while the threat is investigated. 



And last week’s TAI …​        

                                                 Security is an opposite of worry

I wish I didn’t worry but sometimes I do. I worry about finances, benefits to FBSN members, my 95-year-old mother’s ending life, whichever one of our grandchildren happens to be dealing with some crisis at the time.

Following a particularly restless night recently, my early morning devotional took me back to the summer of 1979 and my discovery of a great scripture.

I hauled hay bales in the summer for a living then. 1979 was a special year. Our twin sons were born in February, I gave my life to Christ in May, and by June the 1st cutting of Alfalfa was in full swing. Being 21-years old, I was feeling the Eagles tune of the time, “21 and strong as I can be…”

The field where we were hauling that day was about 25 miles away, where we had left the hay machines the night before. Our 7-man crew piled into the crew cab truck to head there. 3 of us in that truck were brand new Christians and one (Larry Owens) was more seasoned. All 4 of us in the back seat were believers. 

I had thought, when I gave my life to Christ, all my old ways would just be gone. Now, a month down the road I knew it was going to be a journey, not a door. 

I was reading in my brand new NIV bible when I ran across Philippians 4. I thought maybe I had found verses even Larry hadn’t seen. I said, “Larry! Listen to this.” 

Then I eagerly started the 8th verse, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right…” Larry just finished it for me from his memory, “…whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

I loved the way Larry quoted it from his heart. The whole inside of the truck seemed to light up as I heard him quote that verse. Now, 39 years later, it came back to me again but this time in an article from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association titled, “How to Overcome Fear, Anxiety and Worry.” (https://billygraham.org/story/how-to-overcome-fear-anxiety-and-worry).

 

Think About it…

The Christmas season can bring out worries in people. We must be ambassadors of security and hope to those who come in our doors. 

Security is an opposite to worry.

​​This section is updated every Sunday morning to give church security teams some things to think about as they prepare for weekend services. I wish your team the very best and hope you may find occasional things applicable to your operations.

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