Dec 17, 2017

Keeping Churches Safe at Christmas

By The American Pastors Network

Washington, D.C. - December 17, 2017 - (The Ponder News) -- Much like the stable and the manger kept the Christ child protected, and as the shepherds guarded their flocks in the fields by night, churches must now keep their congregations safe.

Many churches are considering safety measures they previously hadn’t thought about after a deadly shooting at a small Texas church last month rocked both that community and the nation. Suddenly, pastors and church leaders are thinking about safety—no matter the size of the church.

The American Pastors Network, the largest national network dedicated to equipping pastors to be a voice for truth in the public square, has been focusing on church security by guiding pastors in the wake of the Texas tragedy.

In 2015, LifeWay Research conducted a study to learn more about church attendance patterns during Christmastime, reported Christianity Today. Historically, Christmastime attracts more visitors than perhaps any other time of the year. In fact, for the survey, LifeWay found that six out of 10 Americans typically attend church at Christmastime. Among those who don’t attend at Christmas, a majority (57 percent) say they would likely attend if someone they knew invited them.

With these trends in mind, church leaders know they will welcome many visitors through the doors this month. And with church security front and center, some churches need a starting place to keep everyone inside the church safe.

“Over the past several weeks, leaders of the American Pastors Network have had many conversations with pastors who want to make safety a priority in their churches, but don’t know where to start,” said APN President Sam Rohrer. “We live in a time where we now must acknowledge the harsh reality that the church sanctuary does not shield us from the evils of this world. Especially knowing that more people will visit American churches this month perhaps than any other time of year, the American Pastors Network wants to help church leaders as they make plans that will keep churchgoers safe—and so that many visitors will feel welcomed and want to return in the new year.”

After having internal meetings and conference calls on the matter, and while addressing the topic on “Stand in the Gap Today,” the daily radio ministry of APN, leaders developed recommendations for churches to consider when it comes to the important matter of church security.

1. Understand the biblical and moral responsibility of safety. It is the duty of pastors and church leadership to do all they can to protect the lives of those in the congregation.

2. Develop and train a security team.Dedicate certain individuals, whether staff or volunteers, to undertake the important issue of security. Train these personnel how to identify potential threats and how to de-escalate potential threat situations. During services or functions, outfit the team in plain clothes.

3. Perform a risk assessment.Where is the church vulnerable in its facility and grounds? Consider a community threat assessment as well.

4. Implement security protocols.Consider these suggestions: 1) Lock doors after services begin; 2) Post security team members at entrances; 3) Conduct a regular, annual re-assessment of the security plan.

5. Install security cameras.Consider video surveillance to document and record potential threats or incidents.
Establish a medical response team.Mobilize medical personnel already within the congregation who can take action if injuries ever occur.

6. Evaluate the legal parameters for security measures.Research insurance requirements and conduct a liability assessment. Identify state civil laws regarding security measures, which can vary from state to state.

7. Create an evacuation plan. Be sure the security team knows how to best evacuate churchgoers of all ages and mobility ranges, and

8. consider creating another key team to assist. Practice the plan through drills.

9. Involve local law enforcement in the security plan.Tell local police departments and other emergency responders about the security plan, perhaps through an evening meeting. They may be able to offer additional suggestions or protocols.

10. Communicate the new or existing security measures with the congregation.Members will appreciate knowing the church has a plan to keep them safe.

See more at the God Inspires Web Site

Dec 11, 2017

Back to Basics: What to Learn from America’s Rash of Sex Scandals

By Cornwall Alliance

Washington, D.C. - December 11, 2017 - (The Ponder News) -- Anyone who’s paid even the slightest attention to national news lately knows that the careers of the rich, the famous, the powerful—politicians, entertainers, newscasters, and more—are crashing and burning amid revelations of sexual harassment and rape.

“Shocking as it is, this should be no surprise,” says Dr. E. Calvin Beisner, former seminary ethics professor and now Founder and National Spokesman of The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

“Unlike America’s founders, recent generations of Americans have turned their backs on God and His laws. Rampant sexual infidelity of any sort is just one of many ways, and it reveals even deeper rot: ‘covetousness, which is idolatry’ (Colossians 3:5), because it grows out of discontent with one’s circumstances and, most important, with the God who providentially planned them.”

Long concerned about the decline of morality in America and the social harm it has done, Dr. Beisner, working with Cornwall Alliance’s parent organization The James Partnership and 1Voice Films, has produced a series of video lectures on the Ten Commandments, one of the foundation stones of Western civilization, of American law and culture, and of Jewish and Christian faith.

Theologian Dr. Wayne Grudem calls the lectures “fascinating, challenging, life-changing, reverent, and God-centered.” Rev. Jim Garlow says “people who listen to Dr. Beisner’s brilliant messages … will learn to see the law as a wonderful blessing and, even more important, to know and love Christ better.”

The lectures are designed for presentation in either 23 or 13 sessions, suitable for either a quarter or a semester in Christian schools, home schools, Sunday schools, and other settings. An online study guide will assist viewers to dive deeper into the Ten Commandments.

Dr. Michael Milton, President of the D. James Kennedy Institute and professor of missions and evangelism at Erskine Theological Seminary, says, “We need a right teaching on the Law now more than ever. … Dr. Cal Beisner’s teaching strikes a Biblical, Christ-centered, and historically orthodox balance in presenting God’s Law. Christian families and churches will be blessed by the teaching.”

Jeffery Ventrella, Senior Vice President for the Alliance Defending Freedom and a featured speaker for a History Channel documentary on the Ten Commandments, calls the lectures “crucial” and “succinct, yet not simplistic; solid, yet not sectarian; timely, yet not trendy; detailed, yet still doxological … [an] excellent, and edifying, project.”

“I am pleased to recommend this new lecture series by Cal Beisner as a resource for churches, schools, and small groups,” says Dr. Daniel R. Heimbach, Senior Professor of Christian Ethics, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. “I can think of nothing more relevant or more important than understanding what our Creator reveals about moral reality. … Nothing in life is … more important—both now and forever. … Beisner has done an excellent job explaining each of the Ten Commandments and does it in a way regular people can easily understand and apply.”

The series is available on 6 DVDs or streaming online by clicking HERE


By Christian and Missionary Alliance

Washington, D.C. - December 9, 2017 - (God Inspires News) -- Alliance family members are reported to be safe as recent wildfires have erupted in the Los Angeles area. As we pray for those who are affected by these blazes, please remember our Alliance people who lost their homes to the Santa Rosa fire in October.

Ray Van Gilst, Central Pacific District superintendent, writes the following:

This month I have been reflecting back on how we respond in the midst of chaos.

On Sunday, October 22, we were at The Bridge Church in Santa Rosa where the message to a standing-room-only crowd was “Hope Out of Chaos.” I have rarely heard a more poignant and timely message. The focus was on the fact that even though 2 of their pastors and 40 of their families lost their homes—and they lost one of their venues with a bunch of equipment—God is still on the throne!

They embraced the fact that they are in this together with their community, and in the midst of the pain, God really is in control. He really is their strength. And not only does He redeem us—He redeems our circumstances! There is no question in their minds that God is bringing hope out of the chaos of this tragedy. There is no doubt in their hearts that God is bringing redemption to the city of Santa Rosa out of their shared suffering. It was incredibly humbling to worship with people who were in the midst of such trial yet focused not on their own needs but only on the needs of their community. They started by housing and serving evacuees and continued by looking for ways to unite the churches through a service with Francis Chan at the fairgrounds this past Sunday night. They are doing everything in their power (God’s power) to meet the needs of those around them.

In the newsletter of the Alliance Redwoods, who also served well by housing firefighters and evacuees, was this verse from Isaiah 25:4 (ESV):

“For you have been a stronghold for the poor, a stronghold for the needy person in his distress, a refuge from the rain, a shade from the heat.”

May we all be [a stronghold] as we minister to a broken world, pointing them to the One who has the answers, because He IS the answer!