Pastors and churches as a whole are obviously in shock from the sudden death of Pastor Fred Winters yesterday. I posted my own personal shock in a post you can read HERE.
This morning we had our regularly scheduled elders meeting. One of our elders came prepared to encourage more security measures in all of our church services, a direct reaction to the news from Sunday about Dr. Winters. Effective immediately, we will add another on-duty sheriff’s deputy. We will ask our professional trained police and sheriff department employees; we have several in the church, to be available on a volunteer basis. Since we have a large military population, we plan to quietly identify some of our trained soldiers to be observant during services. I am in full agreement with each of these measures. In the long-term, we will evaluate all our security measures.
I do not know what measures were in place at First Baptist Maryville and it would be completely unfair to assume that enough was not done. I am not sure any measures could have protected their pastor in the way this incident occurred. Tragic events cannot be completely avoided. I think it is important, however, to allow this incident, and other tragedies in recent years, to cause us to consider the security measures of our churches. Ultimately, God is in control of His church and can protect His people, but we live in a scary world where deranged people carry out desperate activities and it is important for us as leaders to be prudent in these matters. (Certainly prudence and wisdom are Biblical concepts.)
I also believe that this incident should remind each of us as pastors how diligent we must be in doing the work God has called us to do. We are certainly living in turbulent times.
Please continue to remember Pastor Winters family and church in your prayers.