POINT PLEASANT — A local church welcomed 48 fellow churches under their roof to partake in a class that could one day save the lives of those in their congregations.
Grace Baptist Church in Point Pleasant hosted a church security and active shooter training class from 6-9 p.m. this past Tuesday. Sergeant Jim Mitchell of the West Virginia State Police lead the program.
“We were blessed to have 210 people present,” said Grace Baptist Pastor Jonathon Pinson. “This goes to show that church leadership is aware of the need and is also committed to the task of providing safety to their church attendees.”
Pinson expressed evil has always been present, but nowadays it is more prevalent. He shared that because of the increase of mass shootings and killings, it has come time to educate members of the community and churches.
Mitchell begin his lecture by explaining to the class that places of worship are no longer off limits for violent acts. Mitchell expressed that a church can have a security plan while still providing a warm and welcoming environment. He continued to explain various mental blocks towards violence churches can possess and how they can unblock their minds to see evil when it encroaches on their congregation.
According to Mitchell, three types of people exist: the sheep, the wolves, and the sheep dogs. The sheep are a passive, gentle, and smart type that are preyed upon by the wolves. Sheep dogs are a kind, yet hardened type and will defend their sheep with justifiable violence. Mitchell referenced David’s triumph over Goliath and highlighted ways for individuals to be like David.
“A person never rises to the occasion,” said Mitchell, “they sink to the highest level of their training.”
Mitchell provided his class with ways to detect violent attackers and how to understand them, so the situation can be diffused. He explained The Three R’s of faith based security and safety as being recognize, report, and respond. Mitchell advised his listeners to have their church form a security committee and for those individuals to create a Crisis Plan for the congregation. He provided his class with knowledge and strategies to defend their areas of worship.
Erin Perkins is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.