Advanced Church Security – S.A.F.E. Approach & Behavior Pattern Recognition

Duration 2 days

S.A.F.E. Approach for Churches

Churches are facing an increasing level of hostility as our culture drifts from its biblical roots. Often the debate occurs on cable news, in courtrooms and in living rooms. But sometimes it turns violent and is unleashed in our churches.

These attacks can be motivated by hostility to faith. In addition, churches can be caught in the crossfire of a domestic dispute or a mentally ill individual. Since Christian leaders are charged to care for their flocks, these realities cannot be ignored.

Are your church staff, ushers, greeters, lay leaders and security team prepared to effectively handle an encounter that includes anger, rage or assault? Unfortunately, most places of worship must answer “no.” But change is possible. It’s time to get S.A.F.E. In this course, we focus on:

S – afety
A – ttitude
F – ocus
E – mpathy

The S.A.F.E. Approach helps churches effectively respond to threats in a manner that maintains dignity and respect for all using Biblical principles. The chief goal is to de-escalate a hostile situation so that violence never occurs.

However, no matter how skilled our approach, some physical attacks cannot be prevented. Because of this, the S.A.F.E. Approach provides instruction for staff and volunteers on how to respond to a physical attack.

Curriculum Overview

Level I
Recommended for all church staff.
Two hours of classroom instruction covering topics including:

  • Interpersonal communication.
  • Safety awareness.
  • Recognizing and diffusing conflict and aggression.

Level II
Classroom instruction recommended for staff who regularly interact with the public and people under duress.

Level II builds upon the skills learned in Level I. Two additional hours of training focus on a series of physical skills designed to help you protect yourself when attacked. You’ll learn how to break free from choke holds, hostile grips, “bear hugs” and other types of assault.

Level III
Classroom instruction recommended for staff and volunteers who may be called upon to protect themselves or others if physical conflict occurs.

Level III builds upon the skills learned in Levels I and II. Four additional hours of training focus on learning team skills that stabilize a person who is intent on hurting himself or others.

Behavior Pattern Recognition and Response for Church Personnel

Learn to stop disruptions before they start.

Q: What’s the most effective response to a threatening individual at your church?
A: Defusing the conflict before it starts.

When hundreds of people come together, conflict is inevitable. The church is no exception. Domestic violence, addictions and mental illness can spill over into your worship environment, causing disruptions both major and minor.

By learning to observe behavioral cues, body language and facial expressions, you can minimize disruptions and even acts of violence. In addition, this training helps us to fulfill our mandate to care for the flock, protecting our congregation and ministering to those who are in distress.

This is an advanced course that trains staff and volunteers to spot suspicious behavior before it erupts. Suspicious non-verbal behavior is telegraphed well in advance of a violent act. Learn how to discern it and respond effectively.

Topics include:

  • Education on the science of human behavior.
  • Training on how to see patterns in human behavior.
  • Effective responses to de-escalate potentially violent situations.
  • Hands-on activities to learn and practice these skills.


  • Learn to spot and respond to potential security issues before they erupt.
  • Learn to respond calmly and effectively despite our natural instinct to react with panic.
  • Learn how to de-escalate situations that involve high emotions, conflict and threats.
  • Develop a “camera friendly” coordinated response to potential issues.

Who should attend?

  • Pastors
  • Church administrators and business managers
  • Facility managers
  • Security directors and team members
  • Children’s ministry staff
  • Church staff
  • Elders and key lay leaders

This course covers the following topics:

  • The Biblical foundation for protecting the flock.
  • History, demographics and trends for violent events in churches.
  • Attackers’ motivations and mindsets.
  • Behavior pattern recognition vs. behavioral profiling.
  • How conflicts turn violent.
  • The disconnect between what we perceive and reality.
  • How to see and read facial expressions as clues to intention and behavior.
  • How to use “thin-slicing” to find patterns in observed behavior.
  • Developing and improving your situational awareness (without becoming paranoid).
  • Spotting observable signs of a conflict that has the potential for violence.

Contact us now to learn more or schedule a course.