Mid-South houses of worship get lessons on safety at annual ‘Protecting the Flock’ conference

Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 6:20 PM CDT
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SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (WMC) - It’s the one place you should feel the safest, but as it turns out houses of worship can be easy targets for crime.

On Friday, Brown Missionary Baptist Church in Southaven hosted its fourth annual church security conference called “Protecting the Flock.”

“Churches are not immune. Unfortunately, the old days of reverence in churches are gone,” said Brown Baptist executive pastor Derrick Anderson.

Last June, Brown Baptist Church had its own scare when someone called and threatened to shoot people inside the church.

“We had to do all of our lockdown procedures, and thankfully, we had just spent time training our teachers and team walking through what an active shooter looks like,” said Anderson.

Nearly 200 church leaders from across the region came to learn the best practices when keeping parishioners safe in the pews.

Participants heard from many heads of security who have had to deal with active shooter situations in their respective sanctuaries, including Jack Wilson.

Wilson was forced to shoot a gunman during an active shooter situation back in 2019 at his church in Texas.

“As we’ve seen over the last several years, there are no safe havens, whether it be church, school or Walmart,” said Wilson.

According to the non-profit “Faith-Based Security Network,” there have been over 2,100 deadly force incidents in houses of worship here in the United States from 1999 to 2019.

Carl Chinn, president of Faith-Based Security Network, says the biggest mistake churches make when it comes to security is thinking that violence can’t happen in their church.

“Just be intentional about having a few people who are watching and are trained to intervene and capable,” said Chinn.

The conference continues on Saturday morning.

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