Local Churches Evaluate Security Procedures, React to Tragedy in Sutherland Springs

LUBBOCK, TX - After a shooting at a San Antonio area church left over 20 people dead and even more wounded, Lubbock churches said they're tasked with reviewing their own security procedures. 

Adam Pardue pastors Highland Baptist Church and said the news was heartbreaking, but not completely surprising. 

"We live in a world that has darkness, and this is something that has continually been an issue,” Pardue said.  

He said security has been an ongoing conversation, especially after some recent vandalism at his church. 

“We have security at the outer perimeter doors,” Pardue said. “We have an officer that works here on Sunday mornings, and for added security here at our children’s area, to go back in our children’s area you have to have a certain security clearance.” 

Across town at Bacon Heights Baptist Church, things have changed as well.  

“We used to have an open door policy, every door was open, but we have done some remodeling, we have shut down the number of entrances that we have available,” Pastor Jim Gerlt said. “We have them monitored while they are open.”

Gerlt said they take a "passive aggressive" approach to security.

"Passive from the standpoint that you shouldn't see it, but if we had a shooter come in we would become very aggressive,” he said. “We have a lot of armed people, plainclothes people. I am not indicating that they are all police, they're not. There are times that we do have law enforcement officers here to provide an extra layer of security when we feel like we are the most vulnerable, but on Sunday morning we have a lot of people who are watching, and will greet you with a smile, unless you do something wrong. They would be aggressive, and they can turn, like that.” 

Both agree, wanting to keep their doors open to the community, but also considering safety. 

 "I think the way we respond is really the most important thing. I don't think you can respond to hate with more hate, I think you gotta respond to hate with love,” Pardue said. “We want to make sure people are safe, but we also want to make sure that we don't feel like we are closing our doors or shutting off really to anybody." 

"We don't want anybody walking up to our church and thinking, 'Oh, this feels like a prison or a lockdown,” Gerlt said. “But you can't stop someone from getting off a shot, if someone is determined to do that that'll happen, but they are not going to get off a whole clip and reload. I promise you that."


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