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Mental Skills Development of a Gatekeeper

Posted by Charles "Chuck" Chadwick, Jr. on

There are mental skills and physical skills. Looking for people who “Don’t Look Right” would be an example of a mental skill. If you have been in your church for years, recognizing a potential disrupter may be easy because you have the experience of knowing what is “normal” and acceptable behavior in your church.

A practical example: Let’s take a church that runs a Typical Worship Attendance (TWA) of 10,000. There are probably 3,500 seats in your main auditorium. In that size church, you will probably have a sizable number of first time attendees. At this point you probably have video surveillance in the auditorium. The PTZ (Pan, Tile, Zoom) camera is located over the main stage, nestled among the lights, pointing out as to view the audience “face on”.

Who is the best person to detect a DLR? As a church security director, I need somebody behind the camera that can tell what Doesn’t Look Right almost subconsciously. I would usually get/steal (with permission from the head usher, of course) one of the ushers that had been at the church forever and knows what is normal and has the history of knowing those members that already don’t look right (HA). Uncle Bud (made up name) that has a particular “Tick” that makes him stand out in the crowd; the young man that is always overzealous with his “American Idol” chest pounding mannerisms, but is not really on drugs.

I was raised Methodist; my wife was raised Assembly of God. I always kid that we have a “mixed marriage”. Acceptable behavior in one church may not be the same in another. Hand raising may be foreign in one church, whereas running up and down the aisles with tambourine in hand may be the usual. As the security team in your church, you need to have a firm understanding of what is acceptable behavior in your church. We always advise that your security team meet with your pastor or elder board to develop written “Policies” as to what is acceptable behavior and also what “Procedures” the security team is authorized to take in the case of unacceptable behavior.

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