Wednesday, July 10, 2024

How Churches Can Prepare For Persecution

By Tim Gamble

Should churches prepare for bad times?

The answer is Yes! The Bible makes it clear that preparedness (both physical and spiritual) is not only prudent, but in fact is commanded by God. If you doubt this fact, please read my article Why Christians Should Be Survivalists which contains many, many quotes from the Bible. The idea that "We have Jesus, therefore we don't need to prepare" is both naive and anti-Biblical. 
What can churches so to prepare for bad times ahead?

1) Admit the need for emergency preparedness.  Yes, at some point Jesus will return and establish His Kingdom and we will all be safe. But until, we will face persecution, danger, and harsh times. In recent years, we've seen mass shootings at several churches and synagogues. Christians face doxing, deplatforming, debanking, and even losing their jobs just for trying to live out their faith. The tactics of bullying, intimidation, and violence being employed by the left against anyone supporting traditional values and beliefs are only growing in intensity. 

2) You don't have to call it "prepping" or "survivalism." Those terms have negative connotations for some people, and may meet with automatic resistance. "Emergency preparedness" or "disaster preparedness" are legitimate names for what I'm suggesting, and may be more acceptable to your fellow church members. Of course, you know your church better than I, so call it whatever you feel is appropriate. 

3) Realize that our rights come from God, not from Government, or even by majority vote. Therefore, no government, nor any voting majority no matter how big, may take away any of those God-given Rights. These rights include Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, and Self-Defense, among many others.

4) Realize that the traditional family unit is the building block of civilization. This includes traditional marriage, traditional gender roles, sex only within marriage, honoring your father and mother, and so forth. All churches should be teaching these things from a Biblical perspective, and doing everything it can to support healthy marriages and families. This will also strengthen your church. 

5) Church security is the place to start.  We want our churches to be open and welcoming to the larger community, but events have shown we do need to think about security also. Security cameras covering the entrances and parking lot are a good idea. A multi-camera CCTV system with DVR recorder can be had for under $200 (here's one such system on Amazon). 

Most churches cannot afford paid security, but perhaps they have police officers, military veterans, or others in the congregation who can act as armed security during services. Anyone in the congregation with the proper training can be volunteer security.  

6) Proper training includes professional-level First-Aid and Trauma Response. Mass-shootings and fire-bombings at churches and synagogues here in the US do happen these days. Having a professionally-trained response team is an important element to modern church security. Check out the excellent training provided by Refuge Medical and Refuge Training. (Yes, I am affiliated with these great folks.)

7) Create a church communications plan. Many churches have phone trees (sometimes called prayer trees or prayer chains), in which prayer requests and other information can be spread quickly to all church members. Basically, person A calls two predetermined people, who each in turn call two predetermined people. Those four people each call two people, and so forth until the entire church is notified.  if your church doesn't already have one of these, set one up. It can be used to pass on not just prayer requests, but all sorts of news and information.

8) Start a church community garden. If your church has, or can get access to, some open land, then start a community gardening program. There are many ways this can be done, from one massive garden that everyone works and shares its harvest, to individuals & families being provided smaller plots to garden as they see fit. The garden could be limited to church members only, or it could be opened up a larger community. The community gardening program would also provide encouragement and education to folks wanting to garden in their own yards.

9) Hold classes in food storage and canning. Churches could encourage and educate their members to store food and water. Chances are your church has a number of older members who would love to pass on their knowledge of canning and other food preservation techniques. If not, check your your local agricultural extension office.

10) Hold classes in first aid and CPR. Your church could offer all its members courses in first aid and CPR. You many have members already qualified to teach those courses. If not, contact your local fire department or EMS. Many will be happy to work with your church to provide first aid training.

11) Hold classes in budgeting and family finance. Encourage and educate church members on personal finances, budgeting, and becoming debt-free. There are a number of ministries which educate and encourage folks in their personal finances, and a lot of free and low-cost programs and bible studies available. Check out Dave Ramsey's website and radio program. Also, Money Matters with Ken Moraif. And Crown Financial. There may be others.

12) Hold other preparedness classes. Churches could provide occasional or on-going classes in preparedness and survivalism. How to do this and what subjects to cover are limited only by your imagination. Your church members could also work together to buy supplies in bulk, combining your individual purchases to get the best prices possible.

13) Sponsor scout-like youth groups - Your church could host various types of scouting and scouting-like groups, including Heritage Girls and Trail Life USA. Both are great alternatives to the now VERY woke Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts. Your church can also start its own scout-like group using scouting handbooks and materials (anyone can buy them), but not being connected to the national groups. These programs are a great way to teach young people the values and skills that will help them no matter what life throws their way.

14) Store food and other supplies - A church I attended many years ago had a small room where they stored old coats & jackets, blankets, canned and dried food, baby supplies, and other similar things. These were then given to the homeless or other people in need that would show up at the church from time-to-time asking for help. Your church could do something similar - buying and storing supplies that could be distributed to either church members and/or needy folks in an emergency.

15) Emphasize Bible study and prayer. Our country is in need of prayer. Although we were founded as a nation based on Biblical principles, we are no longer a Biblical nation. Chances are most of our neighbors are unchurched, many are not believers, and some have never truly heard the Gospel message. It used to be that America took the Gospel to places that had never heard it, such as Africa and Asia. But now, America itself has become a field in need of missionary work. The Great Commission (see Matthew 28:19,20) doesn't just apply to professional missionaries in the far-corners of the globe. It applies to all of us in dealing with our friends and neighbors.

16) Activists and others may infiltrate (already are, actually) our churches to both spy on the "hate speech" and other disapproved activities within the church, as well as to sow discord among members. I suggest your church plan now for how to spot and deal with (remove) such individuals. This is actually a Biblical mandate:

"Reject a divisive person after a first and second warning, knowing that such a person is perverted and sins, being self-condemned." -- Titus 3:10-11 

We want people, even non-believers, to feel welcome by the Church, but NEVER at the expense of our relationship with God. 
17) Be prepared for attempts by LGBTQ+ activists to force your Church to accept modern views on marriage, sexuality, and gender. Imagine this: An openly gay couple starts attending your Church, and asks to join, but are unwilling to change their homosexual relationship. Perhaps they even demand that your pastor/priest performs their gay marriage at your church. How do you deal with their requests without violating their "civil rights" and running afoul of laws that are growing progressively liberal.  How do you deal with the bad press if they choose to challenge your Church in court, especially given that most modern media outlets will be decisively on their side? 

What happens if your Church is ultimately ordered by a court to perform a gay marriage?  At that point, you may be forced to dissolve your church as a legal entity, going underground and implementing your house church plan (see 18 below). Figure out the details of how to dissolve the church now. Talk to a Christian lawyer about this.

18) Form smaller "Home Churches." Consider forming or joining a home church, even as you continue to participate in your larger church.  Alternately, having a small group Bible study that meets in private homes that could become a worship group (home church) may be very useful should the Church in America ever be forced underground. Your current church could and should work on such a "break up into smaller private house churches" plan that would be implemented under certain circumstances.

What churches can do to help their members and communities prepare is in no way limited by this list. There are many, many other possibilities, and most also make terrific opportunities to reach out to the unchurched in our communities.

Pocket-Sized, Readable copy of 
The U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and Amendments. Know your rights, and be able to explain them to others. 

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