Sunday, September 24, 2023
Sunday, September 24, 2023
HomeAll The NewsChurches Becoming Targets: Is Yours Prepared?

Churches Becoming Targets: Is Yours Prepared?

By Larry Page, Executive Director • Ark. Faith & Ethics Council 

I don’t believe I am being an alarmist or engaging in hyperbole when I suggest that attacks on Christians and their churches and institutions may experience an increase in frequency and intensity given the recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions overturning the 1973 Roe abortion ruling and the Kennedy case on prayer that greatly bolstered religious liberty. Consider briefly some recent headlines and article excerpts:

A June 28 Christian Post article is entitled “Abortion Activists Launch ‘Summer of Rage,’ Attack Churches, Pro-life Pregnancy Centers.” That article reports a list of attacks on churches and pregnancy centers in California, Iowa, Oregon, Colorado and Virginia.

An earlier Christian Post article reported that “The FBI is investigating the recent attacks and vandalism of pro-life pregnancy centers and churches as potential acts of domestic violence or extremism.” It cited additional attacks in New York, Wisconsin and Washington.

The June 27 Washington Examiner highlighted attacks in Arizona, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. It stated, “A weekend has passed since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and some protestors opposing the decision have reacted with violence.”

With these recent developments and events uppermost in our minds, it might serve us well to evaluate how we have prepared our churches and institutions for potential problems. It is not unwise for a church to conduct a thorough inventory of what steps have been taken to handle problem scenarios or to give some forethought as to what further preparations might be needed. Rather, it is a prudent approach, good stewardship of all that God has provided and indispensable in efforts to protect worshippers.

It is undeniable that the cultural conditions in which churches and people of faith find themselves are far different from what they were in the not-too-distant past. There is a growing intolerance for and hostility toward our faith, as demonstrated by the recent headlines and news snippets provided above.

Attacks don’t always involve acting out in aggressive and violent ways. There are other ways that involve verbal attacks, harassment, intimidation and even legal attacks. The church’s adversary has an entire arsenal to choose from, and we should anticipate and be ready for any and all of those means at his disposal.

Church shootings or some other kinds of violent attacks on worshippers are becoming more common. While the odds of that happening in any particular church are rather small, it can and does occur. Is your church prepared for such an event in the unlikely chance that it may find itself a target?

The radical and progressive leftists are not shy about their agendas, pursuing their aims to force churches and Christians to surrender their deeply held biblical beliefs and standards and adopt the more “enlightened” notions of limited religious liberty, restricted free speech, fluid human sexuality, indefinite gender and anything-goes marriage. They are using the courts, the legal system, the bureaucracy, academia and the mainstream media to try to exert their will on us. Has your church taken precautions by adopting policies and statements of faith that could serve to thwart attempts to make it kowtow to the cultural bullies?

Our nation grows more secular by the day. Even our numbers in the U.S. are shrinking. The number of people who claim no religion has risen 266% in the last three decades. According to a General Social Survey conducted last year, 23.1 % of the U.S. population claimed no religion compared to 23% who were Catholics and 22.5% who were Evangelicals. Are your members up to the task of defending the faith and responding to the criticisms of agnostics and contrarians?

The principle of “separation of church and state” has been misconstrued and its meaning contorted to posit the proposition that government should adopt an adversarial position against religion. And as if that weren’t enough, audacious attempts are being made to revise history to cast doubts on our nation’s Christian heritage.

In efforts to help Arkansas churches and Christians be more culturally savvy about the often-unkind environs we find ourselves in today and to be better prepared for the kinds of attacks — physical and otherwise — that are on the upswing, we are offering several PowerPoint conferences.

These conferences can be held on an individual basis or in a series of two or more. They can be held in conjunction with a message, suitable to the subject of a particular conference topic for Sunday a.m. or p.m. time slots. A single conference can be completed in 30-60 minutes and include discussion and Q & A segments. Flexibility allows fitting the desired presentation into a number of formats. We can work with you in achieving your desired results. Those conferences and a brief description of each follow.

• Church Security — Know the current law regarding the issue of guns in churches. Learn about common sense recommendations regarding the best practices designed to assist in keeping your congregation safe in the event of an active-shooter scenario or another violent event, to help guard against unnecessary liability and still present a winsome appearance of the church to the world.

• Preservation of Religious Liberty — Learn how you can help preserve religious freedoms for churches, pastors and staff members, as well as for Christian ministries and businesses. Practical guidelines to put the right policies and standards in place to protect against the ever-increasing attacks on religious liberties, worship and practices are provided.

• Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse and Other Threats — Discover the best practices, policies and standards that safety experts, insurance companies and law enforcement professionals recommend for protecting a church’s children and youth from sexual predators and other bad actors who target children. The goal is to provide the safest and most nurturing environment for leading the young to Christ, discipling them and nurturing their walks with our Lord. 

• Defending the Faith — Christians should be able to meet the mandate in I Peter 3:15 and “. . . always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” This can prepare believers to explain Christian apologetics to a skeptical world and more effectively propagate the gospel.

• Separation of Church and State — Does it really mean what the courts and progressive left have said it means? What was the origin of the phrase? Is it found anywhere in the U.S. Constitution? How has the concept been misconstrued and applied in such a way as to threaten our religious liberty? Know the truth.

Responding to Attacks on Christianity from Nonbelievers — Learn how to answer the criticisms of our faith posed by atheists, agnostics and progressive leftists designed to make Christianity appear to be foolish, illogical, superstitious and utterly meaningless.

There are no set fees for these conferences. Gifts and help with expenses are accepted, but not required. If you may be interested in having your church or group host one or a combination of these conferences, please contact us at (501) 837-1688 or