In this heightened era of anxiety about active shooters and other safety concerns, churches are increasingly asking how to design ministry space with security in mind.
Carl Chinn, a church security writer, researcher, and consultant, has been tracking deadly force incidents at churches since 1999. According to his findings, 2017 was the worst year for church violence with 118 violent deaths reported at houses of worship. Though statistically an active shooter is a low security threat for churches, gun violence is what makes the news and creates a ripple effect of fear among churchgoers.
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On March 3, 2019, a tornado outbreak hit the Southeast. Over the course of 6 hours, a total of 41 tornadoes ravaged portions of Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. One violent, long-track tornado killed 23 people, injured 97, and decimated the Alabama town where it first touched down. By the end of May 2019, 500 tornadoes were reported in the U.S., followed by massive rainfall and flooding. Many churches were leveled or severely damaged in these storms, and others have served as shelters for residents during and in the aftermath of devastating storms.
When it comes to designing children’s ministry space, safety and security are the top priorities. “Security is the number one conversation churches want to have with us when we’re discussing a remodel or building project where kids space is addressed,” says Greg Snider, account executive for Aspen Group.