"Not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock."
- 1 Peter 5:3
You may have determined by now that building a Church Safety Ministry (www.churchsafetyministry.com) is not an easy task. The effort requires planning and extensive consideration of choosing volunteers with a "servant's heart and assessing all safety needs, encompassing much more than planning for an armed intruder.
Most importantly it requires a "servant-leader," a person with the passion for accomplishing the mission while working with volunteers and often with limited resources. The "heart" of this leader is "service." He/she leads the team to achieve mission success.
Ensuring the safety of your faith-based organization and the congregants requires an understanding by everyone that you will do so with a "servant's heart" in a way that doesn't interfere with the worship service or make anyone uncomfortable who is coming for peace and comfort.
We must ask ourselves as we build our program do we have the right means to accomplish the mission. For example:
n Have we selected volunteers with "servant's hearts"?
n Does the team have the resources to serve the organization and meet their mission?
n What tools or resources are missing? List and prioritize your needs and get them.
n How can you better train your team?
n Should you use your church training resources or employ outside assistance?
n Do you know your local responders and do they know you and the church facility?
n Are you a servant-leader?
n Do you help the team meet the needs of the church's safety mission, or do you get in the way?
n Who gets the blame and who gets the glory?
That brings us to the fifth of the five dysfunctions of a team, which is the inattention to results. When a team member isn't held accountable, too often, they tend to protect their self-interests and themselves. Without accountability, the results the team hopes to achieve, the right to worship in a safe environment one of peace and comfort, will never come to be.
We should understand that if members of our safety team see themselves as "mall-type security guards," standing in the back of the building in dark glasses and an earphone in their ear, they will not help us achieve these "hoped-for results" and the congregants will not feel comfortable and at ease.
Therefore, I am a believer in two things when it comes to servant-leadership.
One, I must understand myself well enough to know when to lead and when to follow as there are occasions when the best leader is a follower.
Second, if I am the servant-leader of the team, I take responsibility to find Church Safety Ministry programs to emulate, and then I model the "service" behavior I expect from my teammates. I own any failures of my team. However, I always share and reflect any accomplishments and successes to the entire team for their glory. Leaders should congratulate their team members in public and correct them in private.
Servant-leaders help their team members overcome the five team dysfunctions by leading through behavioral example, that is by "walking their talk," always setting a positive, warm, friendly and welcoming tone when dealing with people even when it is challenging to do so.
As servant-leaders, we accomplish a results-oriented culture when we have built team trust, engaged in productive conflict and debate, committed to the mission and held ourselves accountable for results.
We achieve success in our Church Safety Ministry by dedicating ourselves strategically and methodically to overcoming the five dysfunctions of a team.
If you want to download all six articles for use in your planning, or to watch a free webinar on planning your church safety ministry, please go to www.churchsafetyministry.com.
L. Darryl Armstrong, Ph.D. is the principal at L. Darryl ARMSTRONG and Associates LLC, a firm providing crisis communications and consulting training nationwide.