Rustlings (September 8, 2015)

When my daughters were younger, we spent a lot of time at the pool during the hot and humid days of summer. It was a space filled with friends and fun and yes, even a little danger. To insure our safety and the safety of others, several measures were taken – none of which inhibited our enjoyment of the place. A fence surrounded the pool so that toddlers or children would not wander in and fall in after hours. Rules were posted: no running, no horseplay, one person on the diving board at a time, etc… Life guards sat atop adult-sized high chairs to keep a watchful eye on the swimmers. And added to all that, we simply watched our children, watched our friend’s children and even watched children we did not know. We naturally worked together to keep everyone safe. And again, none of these measures inhibited our fun at the pool.

We spend a lot of time at church throughout the year. Worship, Sunday School, MidWeek Fellowship, kindergarten, Vacation Bible School, choir rehearsals, basketball games and much, much more. Given our recent media attention and the seemingly increased occurrence of hostility expressed in and toward churches, we have heightened our level of security at First Baptist. Some changes will not be noticeable but others will be easily seen: a uniformed officer in the Sanctuary (for a few more weeks at least), patrol cars in the parking lot, an additional uniformed officer to monitor the Rotunda and children’s wings, as well as deacon volunteers monitoring certain entrances and hallways. We are trusting these measures will in no way inhibit our worship experience, but rather add to our sense of safety. We also encourage you to simply be welcoming and watchful. I’d like to think – and sincerely hope – we never experience even a minor negative incident on our campus. But like the pool, it’s always wise to be careful.

— Jim