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August 22, 2011

When Someone Disrupts the Church Service

How to respond to a disruptive—and possibly dangerous—person.


The feature article this week on ChurchLawAndTax.com, a sister site of ours, looks at the delicate balance between ministry and safety. In "Dealing with Dangerous People," we go deeper into how church staff and lay leaders should approach an individual who may pose a threat to the church.

The article is timely for a number of reasons, including an incident last week in which an intoxicated man disrupted a church service in Louisville, Kentucky.

The types of threats addressed in the ChurchLawAndTax.com article include:

  • Someone armed with a weapon;
  • Someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • Someone violating a restraining order from a custody battle;
  • Someone with anti-Christian sentiments.

Our piece includes guidance regarding how to approach someone who is acting suspiciously with the right words, gestures, and, if necessary, physical contact.

ChurchSafety.com, our sister site, offers the following electronic resources for local churches to address the question of confronting disruptive--or potentially dangerous--individuals and how to train staff and lay leaders to respond:

Related Tags: church building, danger, insurance, liability, property, risk, risk management, safety, security, theft, vulnerabilities


Having dealt with the problem of the sexual abuse of children and having served as a professional counselor on a staff of counselors for a Senior High School and who was charged with the responsibility for dealing with incest and pedophile cases, I can declare with certainty that in this state the law is explicit. Anyone receiving information of an incident of child sexual abuse is bound by law under penalty to report such a matter to the police and child welfare authorities. It has been a few years, since I dealt with such cases. However, if memory serves correctly, the charge involves the possibility of civil proceedings and even of criminal prosecution.

Dr. Willingham--Thanks for your comment. Rich Hammar reviews the abuse-reporting laws state by state through an every-other-year report: http://store.churchlawtodaystore.com/20chabrelafo2.html

Blessings as you serve,


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