Guest / Limited Access /

John Murphy, a staff member at Youth With a Mission's Denver offices, was racing on foot toward the Arvada training-center dormitory minutes after a shooting there left two students dead and two others wounded.

It was the very definition of an emergency, but Murphy still stopped to help when he saw a man nearby slip on the icy sidewalk, The Denver Post reported. Are you okay? he asked.

"Sorry, guys," the man responded in a shaky voice.

Murphy thought this response odd until hours later, when he saw photos that indicated the man to be the gunman at the training center and, later, the parking lot of New Life Church in Colorado Springs.

The irony is compounded when one considers that most churches have a plan for when someone slips on their sidewalk, but not if he were to show up with three guns and 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

New Life Church is an exception, but its response plan has been misunderstood and misappropriated. The church did not issue a call for members to pack heat. Instead, it implemented a studied, careful security plan appropriate for the nature of its congregation.

In the wake of the Colorado shooting, more American churches are debating armed security. What's remarkable about New Life's system, however, has less to do with arms and more to do with the body. It doesn't just have a security team. It has a security ministry. And it's not something you can sign up for on a clipboard in the back of the sanctuary. Instead, it is managed with a sense of Christian vocation and gifting.

Members have military and law-enforcement backgrounds, but the church doesn't confuse vocation with profession: not everyone with security experience serves on the security ministry. Those who are selected are carefully screened, as news ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedBiblical Illiteracy by the Numbers Part 1: The Challenge
Biblical Illiteracy by the Numbers Part 1: The Challenge
How well do American Christians know their Bibles? Hint: not well.
TrendingMark Driscoll Resigns from Mars Hill
Mark Driscoll Resigns from Mars Hill
"I do not want to be the source of anything that might detract from our church’s mission."
Editor's PickBless This Tackle? Not a Prayer
Bless This Tackle? Not a Prayer
Christians’ misguided fight for football devotions isn’t working.
Comments
Christianity Today
Securing the Faithful
hide thisFebruary February

In the Magazine

February 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.