Jacksonville church hosts Safe and Secure Church Seminar

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With the tragic events in Parkland still heavy on everyone’s hearts and minds, one Florida Baptist church was already thinking about how to ensure the safety of its congregation.

First Baptist Church Jacksonville’s south campus, in conjunction with the Florida Baptist Convention, will host the Safe and Secure Church Seminar on Saturday, February 17 at 9:30 a.m. at its offices at 3055 County Road 210 West.

Security specialist Stacy Ettel will present topics such as handling disturbances, medical response, dealing with protests, concealed firearm issues, dignitary visits and active shooter response. Ettel can also evaluate the design and operation of your facility to help you recognize areas of weakness or concern.

Already a Christian for many years, Ettel joined the military and then law enforcement. After the Columbine High shootings, Ettel said law enforcement officials realized they had to change the way they were responding to active shooter situations. Ettel was trained with new procedures as a result and began training other law enforcement officers and civilians alike. As he did so, he began to see the value he could bring to churches, helping them to have a plan in place in case the unthinkable happens.

Ettel said without a plan, people freeze as they try to process a situation with which they have no frame of reference. Sometimes waiting for law enforcement to arrive before acting can cost lives.

“When seconds count the police are minutes away,” he said.

What Ettel wants churches to understand is that security training is not just for the ushers, deacons and staff but for every member of the congregation. Everyone needs to understand the role they play and think through what that looks like before an emergency occurs. Ettel believes its valuable for a church to have an outsider assess the security it has in place and the security plan it would execute because someone unfamiliar with your church can be more objective.

While many companies offer security training seminars, many are unaffordable for churches and therefore out of reach. Yet we learned from the tragedy at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX last November that security isn’t just for big churches.

Craig Culbreth, Florida Baptist Convention catalyst for East Florida, said he is grateful for the opportunity to make the seminar affordable for churches through the generous gifts given through the Cooperative Program.

The other thing that makes Ettel’s seminar different is that it talks about security through a biblical lens.

“Our class uses the Bible for motivation,” he said. “There are many Bible verses that challenge us to watch our flock and to give our lives for someone else.”

To find out more about the Safe and Secure Church Seminar or to find out how you can attend tomorrow’s event at the FBC Jax South offices, contact Stacy Ettel at 352-494-8606 or email him at stacyettel@yahoo.com. You can also find him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CourageousLeadershipTrainerEttel/.

By Nicole Kalil, Florida Baptist Convention, February 16, 2018

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