Church Violence: How Real is the Risk?

A recent shooting suspect was a children’s ministry volunteer and evangelist – before the sanctuary was sprayed with bullets.

By Vaughn Baker
President, Strategos International

You’ve heard the saying: Expect it when you least expect it. There is wisdom in this idea when it comes to church security.

On Sunday, Emanuel K. Samson was arrested in the shooting death of a member of Burnette Chapel Church of Christ near Nashville, Tenn. Six others were injured.

Police say Samson began firing as people left the worship service, then ran into the building and kept shooting. A member of the church repeatedly struggled with Samson, causing the assailant to shoot himself in the leg. That’s when the killing stopped.

Who knows how many lives were spared. Police say Samson had multiple weapons and a sizable stash of ammunition.

The enigma in all of this: Why? Samson had volunteered in children’s ministry and was a Gospel-heralding church member. He invited many to join him in worship.

The lesson for us? Be prepared. We have to accept the risk before we can assess it. Only then can we go from being victimized to prevailing.

Share