MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Local churches reinforce the need for armed security and protection among all congregations after Sunday morning’s deadly church shooting in Texas that left two members and a gunman dead.
Socastee Baptist Church and Myrtle Beach Church of Christ both have trained security teams and armed members strategically placed at every church service and encourage all churches to prepare for an event like this one.
The immediate response from the two men who are part of the church volunteer security team, who were killed after opening fire on the gunman, may have saved an untold number of lives. Church leaders say their heroic actions demonstrated why training for unexpected situations and armed protection is so important.
Local church staff tells News13 they have taken extra safety measures over the years by installing multiple security cameras around the church.
“When these shootings began a few years ago, we started these measures, and we are still right now in the process of even revamping even more with camera and security,” Myrtle Beach Church of Christ Minister Steven Gui said.
“We have had a security team for about ten years. There are about six of them. They are all armed and trained. One’s a former policeman, marine, highway patrolman,” Socastee Baptist Church Pastor Micah Lane tells News13.
Additional safety measures in churches include security camera installations, training sessions to prepare members in different scenarios, and take action to lock church doors once the service begins.
Church leaders say it’s unfortunate that people are armed in a place made for all to feel protected, but their congregation’s protection is essential, and they need to be ready for whatever is to come.
“God’s people don’t want to believe that’s necessary, but time and history have taught us it is necessary. I believe it makes our people feel more secure because they know we are prepared. Our people are trained and are ready just in case. We pray nothing happens, but we want to be ready in case it does,” Lane said.
Lane and Gui encourage all churches to address security issues and create a plan to be ready just in case of an emergency.
“This is a safehaven, and you come here to worship God, and we try to make that as safe as we can for you,” Gui said.
Socastee Baptist Church holds training sessions for their security volunteer members two or three times a year, walking them through scenarios in preparation for an event like this.