Skip to main content

Killers in Church

Every Sunday morning I walk into church thinking about killing, about murder, and about death. I think about how I can kill as many people as possible before I turn the gun upon myself and end it all.

No, I'm not a lunatic. I'm a member of my church Emergency Services Team, and I'm using a technique called visualization.  It's my job to protect the flock from anyone who walks in bent on doing them harm, so I think about how the bad guys might do it and then respond to it inside my head. This helps me prepare for an actual altercation. Seems like there's been a lot of crazy people out there lately who like to kill as many people as possible before turning the gun on themselves. My job is to stop them before they hurt anyone innocent. Seems like an odd way to serve God, but that's what I do. It helps defines me.

Last week I sat in on a meeting at my church and it went something like this:

"Last Sunday a woman came up to me and asked for an escort to her vehicle after the service. Her boyfriend had just threatened to cut off her head and to murder their daughter if she didn't start dating him again. Two armed members of the team escorted her to her car safely as we asked her for more details."

This may seem a little bizarre, but it's becoming more and more common these days, especially in big, urban super churches. Oddly enough, my church is thirty miles from the nearest big city and is surrounded by corn, swamp and alfalfa. We have about 2,000 people who attend and they come from all walks of life.

In the above scenario, we gathered as much information as possible and made plans for how we'd respond if this crazy boyfriend ever came in and tried to hurt people. We assigned someone to call the Sheriff's Department and get a copy of the Personal Protection Order, we disseminated pictures of the man to the team, we appointed one member to maintain contact with her throughout the week to monitor the situation, and we made a schedule of who would attend each of our three services and where we'd be inside the church. When it came time for questions, I asked: "What is the step-by-step procedure we should follow if the man walks into church?" Together, we hashed it out so that everyone knew what to do and we were all on the same page. We are fortunate to have the County Sheriff on our team.

During the week I kept thinking about the meeting, and I practiced my visualization technique, recalling the man's face so I would recognize him and know how to respond. But, I have to tell you that I also kept wondering, What has brought us to this point in our human condition that we have to protect ourselves from evil even inside the house of God. Almost universally, throughout history, the church has been thought of as a place of sanctuary and refuge, a place where people who are hurting can come and be healed, where the poor can be fed, and where the lonely can find friendship and comfort. And the answer kept blaring back at me over and over again.

In my book "RKBA:  Defending the Right to Keep and Bear Arms" I make the following statement:




“There is but a thin veneer of civilization that holds our society together. That veneer is artificial. It’s not real. And it’s very fragile. The only thing that holds it in place is accountability and the rule of law. And when a man can murder someone, spend 5 years in jail, then get out to murder again, then the veneer gets even thinner. When the rule of law breaks down, there is no accountability in life. And when God is removed from the equation, there is no accountability after death. What does that leave us? The law of the jungle, where only the strongest survive.”

And that's why I carry a gun everywhere I go, even in church. Here in Michigan and in some other states as well there is a law which establishes churches as pistol-free zones. But isn't it funny how bad guys just never seem to get the memo? And that's why we have an Emergency Services Team.

This morning I went to church to worship. First I signed in at the main desk and checked in with a few other Emergency Team members. During the service, I scanned the crowd for human anomalies. During prayer I kept one eye open. I don't like doing that. I remember a time when I was free to close my eyes, to sing, to praise God without focusing on anything else. I remember liking it.

But ... the world is different now. I serve on the team because of my qualifications and because that's where the need arose. Nonetheless, just between you and me, I'd rather be teaching Sunday School.


  • Overwhelmed 5 years ago

    It is always better to be the sheepdog then the sheep.

  • Robert Fowler 5 years ago

    Great article.Keep em coming.

  • AkSarBen 5 years ago

    The other day I was in Holland with my daughter at a doctor appointment. I had planned to keep my pistol in the trunk until after the appointment, and then re-holster it for the duration of our time there in Holland. After the Dr. appointment, I went to get it and discovered it had been left at home. I was trained years ago by Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center, as I was a Deputy there for many years. Skip helped me get certification as to carry out here. Now, I felt like had left something important at home. I felt less at ease, and even though it was day, and we visited stores, like Lowe's, I "knew" that many people that have been accosted, threatened, shot, stabbed or beaten, had the same attitude, "no, not here, not in daylight.... not to me... perhaps someone else". Skip is right on. When even we wonder about our place of worship, we NEED to also consider our daily travels. I have fire insurance on my home as well,and,and I pray I never use it.

    Great article!

  • Dan Bidstrup 5 years ago

    Thanks for a well done discussion of church security. I serve on my church's safety committee as well, and have the same concerns.

  • the Hunter 5 years ago

    Mr Coryell, that was a truly inspired article. And you bring up some very good points.

  • MamaLiberty 5 years ago

    One big thing seriously wrong with your scenario and your solution. That woman, and EVERY other competent person in that church and everywhere else, is personally responsible for their OWN safety. That woman is far more vulnerable in her own home, at the store, in the bank, everywhere she goes.

    Don't just escort her to the car on Sunday morning. Teach her to shoot, and train her to defend herself. You might be shocked that she could and would contribute to the safety of everyone else in the process.

    I sit at the back in church and watch faithfully. I do it on my own, with the full knowledge and cooperation of the congregation. We don't have any formal "team," but I know I'm not the only one armed. I'm just the only one who is willing to carry openly.

    I am not a sheep. I do not want or need a "sheepdog."

  • Overwhelmed 5 years ago

    Mama Liberty said:
    I am not a sheep. I do not want or need a "sheepdog."

    You do not want a sheepdog yet you carry a weapon.
    Do you support those who do carry weapons? They are the sheepdogs of us all.

    If you did not want to be a sheep you would not carry a weapon.

    Think about it: You ARE the sheepdog.

  • 6'4'' 5 years ago

    I try to follow the law when it come to my CPL. However, I broke it for several weeks right after that Pastor was shot in Illinois. That wasn't going to happen in my church. Well, I still like to keep the law and felt bad about breaking it. I stopped carrying in church after it got summer and my suit coat got left at home. Strange how Christians always respect the authority over them(see Romans 13)even if it's at our own peril.