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Advanced Member

USA
1115 Posts

Posted - July 15 2019 :  09:04:17 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Our Safety Team had to deal with another incident yesterday at our church. A young (23) very troubled young man has come into our church lately. We discovered that he has social/mental as well as addiction problems. Our leadership contacted his parents and they have kicked him out of their house because of his problems.

He was staying with one of our young men, in his apartment, and evidently they had problems so he asked him to leave. He came to church services yesterday morning, and as soon as services started he left the auditorium, and walked out into the entrance hall where one of our safety team members was on watch.

He walked over and took a church directory off it's table and proceeded to go outside with it. It has all the members pictures and info in it. The volunteer went and got another team member and they followed him outside and took the directory from him, as the were afraid he was seeking contact information on members for future contacts to ask for assistance, which he had done lately. By the way he has picked widows and women to ask for money.

I was not there as my wife and I were visiting another congregation yesterday morning. They filled me in when I arrived at church last evening. I talked to our church leaders and last evening they informed our congregation of the problems with this young man, and told them his problems were more than our they, or our church, is capable of handling, They advised our members to not give this guy money or allow this young man into their homes. They also told the members that if he contacts them to refer him back to our church leadership.

I don't know if they told this young man to stay away, or not, however I would have. He has been a person of concern, to our safety team, since he has arrived into our midst, and a big source of distraction.

What would you guys do if this guy was come into your church? Myself, I would tell him to get himself straight, and come back, but until then he needed to stay away because his actions was becoming a distraction to our church. By the way his parents told our eldership to steer clear of him.

This has turned out to be a bad situation for our church, because they wanted to help this guy, however it seems he has problems we can't help him with.

One just don't know the background of strangers who visit your assemblies. That is why we formed our Safety Team several years ago. Our leadership finally informed our members and told them we have people who are watching over them, as we meet every service, which is true, but kind of a false hope. As you all well know, we are individually responsible for our own families and our safety, when the rubber meets the road! There are some really disturbed individuals out there guys. They seem to be coming into church congregations to get help. Help of this nature is beyond most churches ability to deal with. Just be careful!


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gauchobill
Advanced Member

1140 Posts

Posted - July 15 2019 :  09:30:46 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Forming your Safety Team was a good thing! It is always a tough call deciding when to reject someone from a church congregation--tough because knowing when someone is an actual danger is often beyond the knowledge of the shrinks. One approach would be to confront the man in a 2-3 member group and question him about his motivation to enter your church. His answers might shed some light that would guide a smart decision.
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gw
Advanced Member

4707 Posts

Posted - July 15 2019 :  09:56:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I would contact the Sherrifs office, you need to create a record.

you can have a trespass warrant served

if he represents a threat to the congregation, his needs become secondary

"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not..."
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Pop Pop
Advanced Member

USA
1115 Posts

Posted - July 15 2019 :  10:58:33 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
G W, at this time he has only been a distraction, and has posed no forceful violent threat toward anyone. However he has asked for assistance when he met with our church leadership. He has money for drugs, but does not have a job as far as we know. He has only attended our church 3 times, and took the directory yesterday. Why our team got involved.

It is hard to know what to do as things seem to be getting worse with him. His parents said he had mental problems as well as the drugs. Through discussions yesterday, we are now concerned he made an actual drug purchase outside our church building a week ago. People seen stuff, but don't put things together until it is discussed in detail. Us sheep trust everything until we are shown differently. Since we do not participate in these kind of activities, it is hard to put 2 and 2 together on the surface. I seen him, in the parking lot, on his phone, then another seen him go to the street and get handed something, from a passer by.

Our church wants to be open, but with caution. If something else happens we vary may well call the City Police, as our church is served by the city. A track record is very important. Don't know if this will get worse.

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gw
Advanced Member

4707 Posts

Posted - July 15 2019 :  11:02:37 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
do the church a favor and inform law enforcement

"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not..."
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Evan
Administrator

34526 Posts

Posted - July 15 2019 :  1:09:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There is a difference between compassion and self initiated corrosion.

"The greatest thing a Father can do for his children is to love their Mother."

Harold B. Lee

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Ace
Advanced Member

USA
5628 Posts

Posted - July 15 2019 :  2:05:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Don't know the attitude or procedure of your local PD, but around here, the Sheriff's Office would be glad to take a simple general information report on such a subject and his activities (at least we would when I was working), and the information would be passed on amongst the patrol officers. Our local PD might be a little balky at the idea, as it adds work to their busy day. It would at most be the start of a 'paper trail' in the event things escalate with this young man; at the least, it would just be a report that never need follow up if things improve or he moves away--if he leaves your church alone and starts pestering another, your information report would be there for 'back up' if needed.

Our church is small enough, our member directory is only two or three pages of information, no pictures. We used to leave some out for anybody who wanted one, until one of our questionable visitors was seen looking it over; after that, we put them out of sight but still available to those who have a need for it.

Sometimes it's difficult to determine when to show the proper Christian charity and when to turn somebody away to protect the congregation. I don't envy you. At least you seem to be getting support from your leadership now, better than before. I can't get my folks to even consider locking the door after services start, and have someone there to let in late-comers. Ace

Give me $1 every time a Liberal lies, I'll give you $5 every time one tells the truth; I'll end up a wealthy man, you'll end up broke.
If pro-gunners are as murderous as anti-gunners claim, why are there so many anti-gunners still running their mouths?
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Pop Pop
Advanced Member

USA
1115 Posts

Posted - July 15 2019 :  5:03:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ace, our team member does lock all our entrance doors and stays in the hallway during all the services and bible study time. Yes our leaders are coming to the realization we are sure needed. When things like this happens it scares some in our church. Dealing with the mentally ill scares me!

I will discuss contacting the Police, with church leadership, when we meet Wednesday night. I agree completely with G W a paper trail would be welled advised. I can only do what the leaders allow me to do, and I don't want to go over their heads without their knowledge. If there is another incident I feel sure they will allow me to make contact with Local Police. I may call the Sherriff's Office to see what their policy is when one in within the city.

Guys, this is not an easy situation at all.

Edited to add; I really appreciate your responses.

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Edited by - Pop Pop on July 15 2019 5:08:23 PM
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ASCTLC
Senior Member

749 Posts

Posted - July 15 2019 :  7:01:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I agree with others too that one's compassion, while well placed, doesn't warrant waiting to be attacked/slaughtered before making a precautionary call.

You wouldn't know how many contacts to the police have already been logged on that guy so your call to the police just might be the additional incident the police have been waiting for to proactively act.
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Arvinator
Advanced Member

USA
5432 Posts

Posted - July 15 2019 :  8:36:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well in my opinion, the situation was handled well. My own Church had a person like this and he had to be told to stay away. He had actually been committed to a mental facility and was fond of large knives. At Church they have several men who serve on security details and while I was not invited to take part of, I go armed and carry something I have never seen them carry: A small flashlight. One day when the lights went out I was the only person of about 275 people with a flashlight on my person.

I always make a few friendly suggestions when a Church tells me they are wanting a security team:

1) avoid putting personal information of members on printed material. Maybe a secure website, or e-mail or deliver by hand in Church the names & members to protect everyone's identity. Hard to avoid, but try to manage it some.

2) If you have any kind of problem, REPORT IT. Better safe than sorry.

3) let the safety team meet with the men of the Church / Elders/ Deacons/ etc. make decisions on who is to be banned when it needs to be done. I think that avoids any possible chance of someone banned blame one particular person if the decision is made outside the safety team.

Think of incidents from a fire, to severe weather, to a unwanted person, to a active killer and plan how YOU will respond. I have told others that when I plan on how to deal with a problem, I put myself in the bad guys shoes and think what I would do, to extremes, and train how to shut them down. Think of doors blocked, the power cut, to whatever.

Years ago, at a Church we were members when I worked in a different area, we formed a "Parking lot ministry". A person would walk the parking lot with radio communication to someone inside. We would assist the elderly across the lot, welcome people who appeared as guest, and was a hopeful deterrent to any would be problems by them seeing someone outside. Yes, I was armed ( 2 guns) and had a can of Fox Labs OC in my jacket pocket.

Sorry for the long rant, just my 42 cents worth....

Be honest, fair, and always prepared...
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Pop Pop
Advanced Member

USA
1115 Posts

Posted - July 16 2019 :  08:24:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Arv, we have done most of what you have posted. The one area we are weak in, IMO, is the leadership is too soft on calling Police. This is the first incident of this type we have had to deal with. I have found it is a total learning process for our leadership and every incident they are slow to act outside of the church. I can understand their reluctance, to a point. We don't want to become a problem church to Police, and the leadership does not want to scare the congregation, however I don't agree with them on this situation. I don't know the extent of his mental state and that is what worries me about this situation. I will say the leaders spoke directly to his parents and they must make the decisions based on that. The team has met with all the men on 3 different occasions and we have practiced scenarios in the past. I wanted the men to have a mental picture of what we were discussing. The banning of persons lies totally on the leaderships descension. I can only offer my outside input. I will say we have never faced this situation(banning) before this time.

The personal information has been removed, now, and will not be displayed again. One can access it on the computer and church web site(which need a password to access) if one needs it. I know this is wise. We had a church panhandler get our elders phone numbers, from off our weekly bulletin, and called them at home to try and get them to come and pay his motel room bill. I told them, at that time, they should remove their numbers from the bulletin, but they want to remain accessible to the members.

The decision has been made not to go to the parking lot, but to be the best witnesses we can be, and call 911 if something seems to be going bad in the parking lot with the cars. Of course with people problems, that is another story. We intend to respond with superior numbers of people (4 to 5) in those incidents.

It is a total different world today, IMO, and I think our leadership is a little naïve, or slow to accept one can not do business as usual any longer. Judging from the incidents we have faced, I think they are beginning to get a much clearer picture of todays world. In their defense, I can understand them wanting to remain easily accessible to their flock, so to speak. This guy we are dealing with now is not a member of their flock, but it was their desire to try and help him, however through research they have found that our church is not able to help him. They did tell me if he comes back they have intentions of talking to him. My advice to them was to ask him to not come back.

I will suggest your number 3 suggestion on the basis of the offender not having a particular person to blame. IMO, that is sound advice. They could just tell a person the Safety Team has recommended the asking not to come back.

Arv, I appreciate your 42 cents worth.. We sure don't have all the answers, by all means, but we are being forced to learn as we go along. Guys this is completely new, to most churches in the south, as we have never been faced with these kinds of problems in the past. Our lives have been fairly problem free, in our churches, here until this day in time. I got the idea of setting up the team on a visit to a church in Maryland when I seen them safely handle a situation, in the Bible study period, about 7 years ago. Those type of situation have moved south, now.

Thanks for all the input. G W, I am going to talk to them about calling the Police to make a report on Wednesday night. IMO, this could go away "or become big trouble" for our church. I choose to sway to the careful side of this issue, while praying it goes away on it's own. I know the young man, this guy was staying with, is not going to allow him back in his apartment to stay any longer. We will See???

Edited to add content; Our city has facilities for homeless people, and free food, should one be trying to better themselves. They can get the necessities of life free, for a short period, but no one will support someone indefinitely. Even the city expects progress, so our reluctance to not meet this guys needs will be provided for if he wants to get better They also have counselors for the mentally ill.

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Edited by - Pop Pop on July 16 2019 08:42:52 AM
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gw
Advanced Member

4707 Posts

Posted - July 16 2019 :  09:25:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
there's a pretty good chance the police have a trained, experienced professional that can advise your leaders

and might even be able to help this guy, if he really wants help.....

"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not..."
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Pop Pop
Advanced Member

USA
1115 Posts

Posted - July 16 2019 :  09:54:02 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
G W, I had the local Police Outreach Officer come and do an assessment of our building. He also gave recommendations on how to improve our situation as far as safety goes. He told our leaders that some of our men need to get their concealed carry permits and told them if we had enough who wanted to they would get someone to teach the mandatory 8 hr class for us. He also told the leaders it would not be wise to disallow concealed carry, for our members, which the TN law is written so they can do that. They listened and did allow us to form a our Safety Team, which the Officer agreed with. He knew a church of our size can not afford private armed security in our city.

I have done everything I know to do to make our church safer. I can only do what they allow and I am not complaining about that. After all they are looking out for our souls, here in this realm, as best as they know how. This is new territory for all of us.

I will say they think me to be "hawkish" until they need someone in a bad situation. That's alright with me. I am that other side no one likes to deal with, but when the shoo falls they start looking for us. You coppers know what I mean, although we are an unarmed team!

I will say I was not there, and I told the team members they had to step up when I was not there/even if I was there. They have done well on tow different situations now, that I was not present. I am totally thankful they listened. One who trains is a fool to rest all on his being there. The team member in the hall way did well in recognizing and getting help to confront this guy. I wish he would have gotten another(3) but! There is safety in numbers. One o the guys that did go and confront him was an x Army Ranger who served in the sand box back during the war over there. He is 6' 3' and a young, fit, and imposing figure himself. I am glad he is on our side.

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Edited by - Pop Pop on July 16 2019 11:13:28 AM
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Pop Pop
Advanced Member

USA
1115 Posts

Posted - July 19 2019 :  10:46:17 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
After more discussions, apparently our church leadership has decided his soul is valuable to God, and they intend to help this young man if at all possible, but will not put up with continual problems caused by this young man. They will not tolerate church panhandling nor distractions caused by this guy and have told him so recently. If he is serious about self improvement they will do what they can to try and aid that, but will not hesitate to tell him not to come back if problems continue. They also told him they were not equipped to handle some of his problems (IE mental and drug), but have located a place for him to seek counseling, through our local Health Department, if he wants to do that. Evidently his parents told them he was not a danger to anyone, "if you can believe that". I am real concerned about that one and time will tell. They do not want to call Police, for now, but if they need to tell him not to come back, it is their intention to call them and make him known to them.


They said they had to consider, "What would Jesus do in this situation," and they are concerned for this young man's soul even though he is not a member of our group at this time. May God help us!

He never attended Wednesday night services of this week. We will see what transpires this coming Sunday. Wish I could say more.

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Edited by - Pop Pop on July 19 2019 10:59:25 AM
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Ace
Advanced Member

USA
5628 Posts

Posted - July 19 2019 :  11:10:20 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'd agree his soul is valuable to God--Jesus died for everyone, not just the well-adjusted. I'd also see no problem giving him some assistance IF he willingly seeks help from a rehab facility and actually works to get himself straightened out. But IF he was to go that route, I'd also expect his family to do their part. I don't see it as the church's responsibility to completely pay his way. Plus it could be an avenue to witness to the rest of the family, too; whatever their situation, they need Jesus just as much as he does. And, I'd agree that panhandling at the church, or from church members, not be allowed. There's a difference between being willing to help, and being dupes.

As to 'What would Jesus do in this situation', my thought is that IF the kid is actually looking for help, He would heal him. I don't recall any account where Jesus healed anybody who wasn't looking for it.

I hope it all works out to the good. Meanwhile, stay alert. Ace

Give me $1 every time a Liberal lies, I'll give you $5 every time one tells the truth; I'll end up a wealthy man, you'll end up broke.
If pro-gunners are as murderous as anti-gunners claim, why are there so many anti-gunners still running their mouths?
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ASCTLC
Senior Member

749 Posts

Posted - July 19 2019 :  1:23:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I too believe every soul is valuable to God, but I don't see where good intentions qualifies as justification to just "wait and see" what happens without some form of contingency plan should that fail.

It reminds me of this version of the story:
A scorpion, being a very poor swimmer, asked a turtle to carry him on his back across a river. “Are you mad?” exclaimed the turtle. “You’ll sting me while I’m swimming and I’ll drown.”
“My dear turtle,” laughed the scorpion, “if I were to sting you, you would drown and I would go down with you. Now where is the logic in that?”
“You’re right!” cried the turtle. “Hop on!”
The scorpion climbed aboard and halfway across the river gave the turtle a mighty sting. As they both sank to the bottom, the turtle resignedly said: “Do you mind if I ask you something? You said there’d be no logic in your stinging me. Why did you do it?”
“It has nothing to do with logic,” the drowning scorpion sadly replied. “It’s just my character.”

Or this story of the man who drowns waiting for God to save him. God can make police available for assistance if needed before it's too late for a "do over".

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Bill D
Advanced Member

USA
1233 Posts

Posted - July 20 2019 :  2:50:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I don't belong to your church but appreciate your attitudes and responses to problems. Bill D

Bill D
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Pop Pop
Advanced Member

USA
1115 Posts

Posted - July 22 2019 :  07:41:38 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This guy did not show up at church yesterday, or last Wednesday night. Since no one is giving him cash, and the other brother is not allowing him to stay in his house, maybe he will find more fertile ground for his cause. We hope this works out for the best, and the problem goes away. Time will tell. I just don't think this guy is ready to get off the drugs, and without that there is not much hope for him.

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