Avoidance of Accountability 4 of 5 Dysfunctions of a Team

The fourth dysfunction of the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team is an avoidance of accountability among team members. In the context of teamwork, it refers specifically to the willingness of team members to call their peers on their performance or behaviors that might hurt the team and prevent the team from achieving the overall mission. #Churchsafetyministry #TeamDevelopment #Leadership @DoctorDarryl

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Protecting Yourself, Family and Friends During an Active Shooter @DoctorDarryl #ChurchSafetyMinistry

CONFLICT – The Second Dysfunction of the Five Dysfunctions of a Team

The second team dysfunction of the Five Dysfunctions of a Team is a fear of conflict among team members. However, all significant relationships require productive conflict to grow and be beneficial to the organization. @DoctorDarryl #Teambuilding #Leadership #ChurchSafetyMinistry

www.ldarrylarmstrong.com

Church Safety and Security Plan – Start with a Simple Three Phased Process

A OneNewsNow.com survey of 4000 churches in 2008 found that 75% of them had no security plans!

“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” Acts 20:28

“More guns are not the simple answer,” says Terry Mattingly at GetReligion.org.

 After the November Texas shooting, many small churches reacted by seeking a qualified Carry Concealed Weapons holder.  A reaction is not a church safety and security plan.

Assessing your church’s vulnerabilities is the foundational step in understanding what your risks are and how to prepare.

Good Springs Church

Become Proactive Instead of Reactive in the Process

A thoughtfully written, communicated, and exercised plan of action for church safety and security is a much better and safer solution and it begins with a facilitated discussion with your congregation.

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) advises identifying threats, developing goals, and planning courses of action. Then implement, review and consistently maintain your plan.

Take into account your geographic region. Are you subject to natural disasters like the New Madrid Fault in Western Kentucky or hurricanes at Tybee Island, Georgia? Perhaps you worship at a church in tornado alley, or you are subject to fires or floods.

Active shooters, disgruntled congregants, angry church members, sexual predators and hate groups are always possible threats.

Churches are “Soft Targets”

The American Crime Prevention Institute notes that criminals see houses of worship as “soft targets” for theft, robbery, embezzlement, vandalism, arson, and violence from hate crimes. They are “soft targets” because many don’t have security systems, are meagerly staffed, leave their doors unlocked, and never think of robbery when taking up an offering.

Jimmy Meeks, who retired after 35 years in law enforcement and has been a minister for 44 years, is a consultant with Sheepdog Seminars for Churches, a training firm focused on teaching church security measures.  He notes that sexual abuse can and does occur in the church, citing 23 sexual crimes reported at Protestant Churches every day.

Sadly, the recent Texas church shooting points out the vulnerability of congregations when it comes to active shooters seeking revenge and the importance of being prepared even in a small country congregation.

Three Initial Planning Phases

Regardless of the size of your church, now is the time to implement a six-step emergency planning process starting with three general phases.

The first phase is to form a collaborative planning “ministry safety and security” team. Collaborative teams are made up of congregant volunteers who are willing to “co-labor” and get the job done. Choose this team wisely. We will discuss criteria for such teams in a future column.

This team should consist of your pastor, deacons, principal leadership, local law enforcement and emergency response personnel, an attorney, and your insurance agent. Others to consider are people with private security, teaching, counseling, and crisis communications experience.

Whenever possible, your team should have a right mix of genders and ages on this team because people in their 60s will see issues differently than those in their 20s.

In the second phase, facilitate your planning dialogue and risk assessment using the Collaborative, Informed Consent model. This model starts with the premise that the team “agrees” to provide their consent to the plan because they collaborate to design it and become well informed about its use.

Kay Armstrong, a senior consultant at L. Darryl ARMSTRONG and Associates, explains, “This engagement model uses a structured facilitation process that allows for a candid discussion about the pros and cons of having a plan for church safety and security. Participants can freely talk about their fears, current issues, and the perceived risks. This process helps them realize the possible emergency scenarios that could face the church; how to prioritize them; and how to develop options to handle them.”

Once the numerous situations are listed, discussed, vetted and prioritized, the committee can develop well-defined goals and objectives, which is the third phase.

Further information

These columns share the expertise gleaned from our four decades of experience in crisis planning and management and from experts in church safety and security nationwide. We challenge you to explore what has become a vital role in today’s houses of worship – safety and security – and to realize that just carrying a weapon in a house of prayer is not enough.

Find additional information including an introductory video on church safety and security, podcasts, and downloadable materials at www.ldarrylarmstrong.com. anyone interested in participating in a pilot webinar can register at our website for future presentation dates.

END

Churches, irrespective of size, must plan to ensure the safety of their congregants #churchsafetyministry

Church - Country

Churches, like any other businesses in today’s environment, must take steps to ensure the safety of their congregations.

Because emergencies happen to all businesses, a thoughtful and resilient emergency plan of action is prudent.

As of December 19, 108 people were killed in churches in 2017.

When an active shooter on November 5, 2017, killed 26 people and wounded 20 at a rural Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas,  media, public, and political concerns reached a new high.

This church attack was the deadliest active shooting by an individual in Texas history and the fifth-deadliest in the United States.  It is the most devastating active shooting in an American place of worship in our history.

Such events disappear quickly from the front pages of  mainstream media, and many people, including pastors and congregants, resort to thinking, “it can’t happen to us.” Hopefully, it won’t.

Although the chances that your congregants will be involved in such an attack are slim, church leadership must accept the possibility and plan for this and all other possible emergencies.

Having worked in the field of crisis communications, prevention, and management for 40-years, I believe in and practice with my clients “ praying for the best while preparing for the worse.”

Organizations that do so will survive and recover; those that don’t suffer severe and often irreparable consequences.

This series of columns will provide insight into the questions that church leaders and pastors must consider as they plan for the safety of their congregants.

Planning for the necessary personnel to respond, the communication of the event, training church personnel, and the event follow-up should cover issues such as:

  • Why houses of worship need an emergency response plan and the types of emergencies to include.
  • The importance of a facilitated dialogue with leadership and congregants about developing an action plan that includes law enforcement, emergency response, legal and insurance personnel a process we call “Collaborative Informed Consent.”
  • Considerations of hiring professional security personnel or using volunteers, including a “talent inventory” from your congregants.
  • Conducting a risk analysis and evaluation of your church facility, parking lot, and personnel.
  • Why your institution is a “soft target” and how to “harden” it by quickly achieving “soft” and “hard” lockdowns.
  • Having trained “screeners” and the options for action they must take when an incident develops.
  • Understanding your internal and external communication needs and venues before, during, and after a crisis.
  • Considering non-lethal and lethal options.
  • How to gather intelligence and ensure confidentiality.
  • How to protect children and seniors who are the most vulnerable members of your congregation.
  • Understanding what an active shooter is and how they think.
  • The times of day and the days of the week your church is most vulnerable.
  • The role of active or retired military, law enforcement, and concealed carry permit holders on your security team.
  • What you must communicate to your congregation about your plan and what they must do in the event of an emergency, including an active shooter.
  • Whether you should post signage, and, if so, what should it say?
  • Establishing proactive establishment of post-event counseling and recovery assistance.
  • Teaching self-awareness and using the “see something, say something” strategy.
  • Pros and cons of “Run, hide and fight.”
  • The need for “Stop the Bleed” first-aid kits and training.

Further information

These columns share the expertise gleaned from our four decades of experience in crisis planning and management and those involved in church security nationwide. We challenge you to explore what has become a vitally important role in today’s houses of worship – safety and security and not just to conclude that carrying a weapon in a house of prayer is all you have to do to protect your congregants.

Interested persons can find additional information including an introductory video on church security, podcasts, and downloadable materials at www.churchsafetyministry.com. A pilot webinar is under development, and those interested in participating in this pilot can register at our website to receive announcements of future presentation dates.

Churches, irrespective of size, must plan to ensure the safety of their congregants

Column 1

Church - Country

Churches, like any other businesses in today’s environment, must take steps to ensure the safety of their congregations.

Because emergencies happen to all businesses, a thoughtful and resilient emergency plan of action is prudent.

As of December 19, 108 people were killed in churches in 2017.

When an active shooter on November 5, 2017, killed 26 people and wounded 20 at a rural Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas,  media, public, and political concerns reached a new high.

This church attack was the deadliest active shooting by an individual in Texas history and the fifth-deadliest in the United States.  It is the most devastating active shooting in an American place of worship in our history.

Such events disappear quickly from the front pages of  mainstream media, and many people, including pastors and congregants, resort to thinking, “it can’t happen to us.” Hopefully, it won’t.

Although the chances that your congregants will be involved in such an attack are slim, church leadership must accept the possibility and plan for this and all other possible emergencies.

Having worked in the field of crisis communications, prevention, and management for 40-years, I believe in and practice with my clients “ praying for the best while preparing for the worse.”

Organizations that do so will survive and recover; those that don’t suffer severe and often irreparable consequences.

This series of columns will provide insight into the questions that church leaders and pastors must consider as they plan for the safety of their congregants.

Planning for the necessary personnel to respond, the communication of the event, training church personnel, and the event follow-up should cover issues such as:

  • Why houses of worship need an emergency response plan and the types of emergencies to include.
  • The importance of a facilitated dialogue with leadership and congregants about developing an action plan that includes law enforcement, emergency response, legal and insurance personnel a process we call “Collaborative Informed Consent.”
  • Considerations of hiring professional security personnel or using volunteers, including a “talent inventory” from your congregants.
  • Conducting a risk analysis and evaluation of your church facility, parking lot, and personnel.
  • Why your institution is a “soft target” and how to “harden” it by quickly achieving “soft” and “hard” lockdowns.
  • Having trained “screeners” and the options for action they must take when an incident develops.
  • Understanding your internal and external communication needs and venues before, during, and after a crisis.
  • Considering non-lethal and lethal options.
  • How to gather intelligence and ensure confidentiality.
  • How to protect children and seniors who are the most vulnerable members of your congregation.
  • Understanding what an active shooter is and how they think.
  • The times of day and the days of the week your church is most vulnerable.
  • The role of active or retired military, law enforcement, and concealed carry permit holders on your security team.
  • What you must communicate to your congregation about your plan and what they must do in the event of an emergency, including an active shooter.
  • Whether you should post signage, and, if so, what should it say?
  • Establishing proactive establishment of post-event counseling and recovery assistance.
  • Teaching self-awareness and using the “see something, say something” strategy.
  • Pros and cons of “Run, hide and fight.”
  • The need for “Stop the Bleed” first-aid kits and training.

Further information

These columns share the expertise gleaned from our four decades of experience in crisis planning and management and those involved in church security nationwide. We challenge you to explore what has become a vitally important role in today’s houses of worship – safety and security and not just to conclude that carrying a weapon in a house of prayer is all you have to do to protect your congregants.

Interested persons can find additional information including an introductory video on church security, podcasts, and downloadable materials at www.ldarrylarmstrong.com. A pilot webinar is under development, and those interested in participating in this pilot can register at our website to receive announcements of future presentation dates.

END

(L. Darryl Armstrong Ph.D. is the principal at L. Darryl ARMSTRONG and Associates LLC, a firm providing crisis communications and consulting training nation-wide. Dr. Armstrong, who holds a doctoral degree in neuro-linguistics, graduated from Murray State University in communications and behavioral psychology and the Executive Security Institute with an emphasis in security planning. For limited speaking engagements and consulting, contact him at 1.888.340.2006, ldarrylarmstrong@gmail.com and www.ldarrylarmstrong.com.)

Realism provided by Nusura’s Simulation Deck Technology

Animated Don't Panic

All organizations these days are subject to crisis and emergency management disasters. Those that take the time to plan for their worst-case scenarios and be prepared in advance will survive and even thrive. Those that believe it “can’t happen to us” will not.

Perhaps equally important, whether they are nonprofit organizations, local, state or federal agencies, large or medium size businesses, or universities and colleges, those folks that don’t understand the impact that social media can have on crisis and emergency management are destined to suffer even more serious consequences than they may realize.

It has been said that imagination is the true sign of intelligence. When it comes to technology and crisis and emergency management, which is evolving daily at speeds often beyond our comprehension, there can be no argument that imagination often makes the difference between the mundane and the next level of creativity.

Recently we teamed with a relatively new company based in Denver, Colo., Nusura, Inc. – “nusura” is a Swahili term meaning “one who survives” – this company is one of the newest innovative companies on deck offering a way for organizations to test their social media and public outreach skills through the use of a training tool they call SimulationDeck.

SimulationDeck is a secure Web portal that replicates online communications tools, including such social media as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as organizational websites and blogs.

As many of my readers know, for years my firm has offered strategic crisis planning and issues management alongside emergency operations planning, training and webinars. When we were asked by a client to consider how best to bring them into the real world of social media we sought out and found Nusura, Inc. The teaming partnership has resulted in a significant contract with a federal agency. We believe our combined resources, talents and experience and a similar set of values on how to handle clients and business in general brought us to the front of the bidder pack.

Nusura’s president is Jim Chestnutt, an experienced public information officer formerly with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Chestnutt and his team of former FEMA employees set out to train people on how to get information out to their stakeholders in a timely, accurate and coordinated fashion during emergencies.

We saw benefit and value to application of their technology for not just life-threatening situations, we also saw the benefit to planning for the always prevalent developing crisis around such internal issues as reorganizations, downsizing, sexual harassment charges, ethics charges and legal entanglements that any organization can face.

Chestnutt and I both found that in after-action reports from actual and exercise events – be it an internal crisis or an external emergency – that the public information function in major exercises was not being tested in a realistic way, which is what set me out to find a way to correct the issue for my clients.

Chestnutt says that the pressure created by mock media and those tasked with testing the public information element in mock exercises didn’t compare to the reality of handling even a small emergency.

Nusura, Inc. has former public information officers and field agents from all levels of government who have experienced all sorts of internal and external crises and emergencies. SimulationDeck is the creative offspring of this group of talented professionals to mimic what happens online and in the media during an actual crisis or emergency.

The simulation Web portal has nine websites which emulate social media sites: SimulationBook includes Facebook’s core features; Bleater simulates Twitter; the blogging platform is called Frogger; their YouTube look-alike is Ewe Tube; there is a site for agency or organizational news; incident information; the Exercise Times Daily, a Web-based newspaper that features live reader comments; SimDeck News, a Web-based TV station; and KEXN Radio.

SimulationDeck doesn’t require special software, so it can work on any platform or Internet-connected device. Chestnutt notes that one person working the SimulationDeck could act as 10 people. This person can file a newspaper article, then post on the agency’s website and then act as the Governor’s press secretary and announce a surprise press conference.

Chestnutt told emergencymgmt.com that “Things happen instantly, and any simulation player can generate an enormous amount of injects, as fast as they can type and enter it.”

The tool was recently used during the Vibrant Response 13, a U.S. Army North national-level field training exercise that had 9,000 service members and civilians from the military, as well as state and federal agencies.

Dan Manuszewski, Chief of Public Affairs for the U.S. Army North, told the editor at www.emergencymgmt.com that it’s increasingly important to practice all forms of communications and that includes social media as it becomes increasingly popular.

We note that many of our college and university clients, who have been reluctant to engage in social media as a communications tool, are becoming aware of its importance when they see that their students and staff are more quickly informed through Twitter and Facebook Smartphone communications than the organization’s systems. We see great opportunity to bring these folks and many other organizations and agencies into the real social media and mass media world through such applications as SimulationDeck.

Like it or not, social media is becoming a major communications platform, especially for the current generations. Those organizations that fail to train their employees in the proper use of social media are doing a disservice to the employees and their stakeholders.

Manuszewski says that we need to make sure we understand the entire information environment – from the traditional media to the media that people are using now, like social media.

Chestnutt says that the company is listening carefully to feedback from its users and continually making improvements.

Dr. L. Darryl Armstrong, Armstrong and Associates, is a consultant and counselor. He can be reached at drdarryl@aol.com or 1-888-340-2006 or www.ldarrylarmstrong.com