Taking Security Seriously: How We Prepare to Protect our House

Taking Security Seriously: How We Prepare to Protect Our House

by Josh McPherson
In light of the recent tragic events in Nashville TN, where a killer entered a Christian school and murdered 6 innocent people, many have asked me what measures we take at Grace City to secure our House.

I'm glad you asked.

As you know, just as any good dad takes seriously the protection of his family and home, we take seriously the security of our church family and all who visit Grace City.

The Leader

For years, we had a wonderful volunteer team of faithful protectors who coordinated our security team. But as the needs of our church family grew, a volunteer team just wasn't enough. So,  at the beginning of 2022, we hired Justin Kissel full-time to oversee all security aspects of our church family’s life.

Justin came to our team well equipped. He has over 20 years in law enforcement at the WPD as a patrol officer, SWAT Team Leader, Firearms Instructor, a Field Training Officer, and gifted tactical instructor.
But more than that, Justin has a tender heart for Jesus, a pastoral heart to love people, and a shepherd’s heart to protect our flock.

Since being on staff, he has built up our Watchmen Team to over 30 protectors, added security measures to our physical building, and instituted solid security protocols across all aspects of Grace City life.

The Team

Our Watchman Team is dedicated to providing security to protect our house. The team is made up of former and current LEO’s, military, FBI, corrections deputies, firefighters, farmers, construction workers, and business owners—all wired with a heart to protect.
Practically, this means that every youth event has multiple, dedicated Watchmen Team members present, armed, and alert.

As well, at every worship service we have Watchmen Team members spread throughout the building. Some are in Grace Kids. Some post up at the entrance. Some monitor security cameras. Still others are strategically and inconspicuously seated around our Community Hall during the service. And all are connected on state-of-the-art comms for quick communication in the event of a situation.

The Training

The team undergoes bi-monthly, reality-based training, including firearms qualification, deescalation, use of force, active shooter, service-disruptions, protests, and mass-casualty scenarios.
In fact, this past weekend, our Watchman Team spent an entire Saturday training for mass-casualty situations through Jenn Foreman’s Combat First Aid course. Led by professional instructors, including Justin and our own Shaun Kelly (former EMS and firefighter), the Watchman Team trained hard in order to be ready and able to serve our church, if necessary.

And serve us they do.

They've handled potential picketers. They’ve escorted disrupting individuals off-site. They've dealt professionally with folks displaying mental instability. And they’ve worked in conjunction with local LEO's to trespass aggressive individuals.

They are trained and prepared. They are measured and professional. They are alert and vigilant. They are ready, willing, and able to protect our House should the need arise.

Helping Others

But not only do we have a team trained and prepared to protect our house, Justin has had the opportunity to work with numerous churches and teams to help them prepare. He’s shared his protocols, his security plans, and his training with other churches to help them keep their churches safe.

[Read these fun reports from Justin for a couple of examples: Mr. Kissel Goes to Eastmont Community Church and Mr. Kissel Goes to Orondo Community Church]

And calls continue to come in from churches and Christian schools. All asking to learn from the program Justin is building.

This is the heart of the people and teams of Grace City. To help serve as many people as we can, free of charge, sharing whatever we’ve built and learned. And we can do that because of generosity of the people of Grace City. Thank you.

Reluctant, Ready Warriors

With all of our intentional effort, it is our earnest hope and prayer that they are never needed. We don’t train hoping to use it. We train praying it is never needed. But we train and prepare, nonetheless.  

Some have asked how I square faith in God with preparing aggressively for terrible scenarios.


It’s the same as I do in every other area of my Christian life. I pray God provides for my family, then I work hard by the sweat of my brow to make a living. I ask God to save sinners, then I preach the gospel with all my might. I ask God to build His Church, then I make a strategic plan to grow Grace City. I ask God to protect my family, then I lock our doors at night.

So we ask God to protect our Church, and we train to be the means by which He answers that prayer. All the while, we invoke the name of Jesus and pray for protection in the heavenly spiritual realms. That’s where these battles begin, so that is where we take the fight first.

But if that spiritual battle should ever make its way to our door in the form of physical threats or acts of violence, we will be prepared to meet them. With whatever force necessary. Until evil stops hurting innocent people.

This is the ethos of our House…ready of mind, willing of heart, and able of skill to protect and defend innocent life. It is our code of honor. And we hold it with deep conviction.

As Lead Pastor of Grace City, I am deeply grateful for this team, for their vigilant heart and watchful eye over our church family. To the men and women who serve on the Watchman Team, THANK YOU. 

If you see them, would you tell them thanks as well? Thank them for training hard, preparing well, and signing up to be the first ones to step into harms way should the need arise in order to protect our church family.

And let us pray, by God’s grace, we never need them.

For the elders,
Pastor Josh
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