It was just after the horrible 1999 shooting at Wedge-wood Baptist Church in Ft. Worth, Texas, that killed seven and injured seven more. Another pastor, having heard about the tragedy, called me for advice, and almost as an afterthought mentioned, "Something like that couldn't happen at our church."

I asked why.

He calmly shared, "Because I told all of our members to start carrying their guns to church."

I was speechless. I regrouped and said, "As a pastor, I'd be deeply concerned if I were preaching to a congregation that was armed."

When I began as a church risk manager, I often felt frustrated by what I perceived as a lack of response from many churches. I had gone so far as to be publicly critical of church leaders that I described as "having their heads in the sand." But now I found myself asking, "How much response is too much?" Now, with years of experience, I think I have a better grasp on the situation. Here's what I've learned.

Getting Started Is the Best Approach

Once church leaders ...

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