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OPINION

How can churches prepare for tragedies?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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DENVER (BP) -- The Denver area has seen its share of senseless shootings. From Columbine to the 2007 shootings at a Youth With a Mission center and New Life Church and now the Aurora theater, churches have sought to prepare for a similar attack during their services.
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Bob Ryan, team leader for the Mile High Baptist Association, said people must be assured that the church is a safe place, not just spiritually, but also physically. Many of the churches in the area have had training for security, he reported.

"If the shooter had come to one of our churches wearing the type of gear he had on, it would have been dealt with outside," Ryan said. "It's not necessarily about having concealed weapon permits, but about having a plan in place for something like this."

Churches have to be intentional about protecting those inside, but not at the risk of keeping others out, Ryan said. "Churches can have security set up to be essentially invisible unless they are needed."

Practically, Ryan said, churches should have procedures in place to deal with the unimaginable because it has become a reality.

Spiritually, he urged churches to learn how to watch for evil.

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"Jesus said we are to be wise as serpents, but harmless as doves," Ryan said. "We have to figure out how to do that in our culture.

"Our churches have had opportunities to train. You are never ready, but you can be trained."

Aaron Earls is a writer based in Wake Forest, N.C. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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