Should designated members of your church carry concealed firearms during church? This week’s DestinySurvival Radio guest thinks so. But that’s only one facet of getting your church prepared.
On DestinySurvival Radio I visited with Pastor Carl Gallups, author of Be Thou Prepared. I’m excited about sharing our thought provoking conversation with you.
Though this podcast will be of greatest interest to Christians, I encourage everyone to listen in.
What follows is a review of the book combined with a few notes from our visit.
Meet the Messenger
Carl Gallups is pastor of Hickory Hammock Baptist Church, Milton, FL. Perhaps you’ve heard him speak or you’ve read his writings because he has been featured on a number of well known media outlets.
DestinySurvival Radio is small potatoes compared to those other venues. That makes me all the more grateful I had the chance to visit with Pastor Gallups, and I’m delighted to share the outcome with you.
Here are highlights of the pastor’s lengthier bio, which appears in Be Thou Prepared.
- Bestselling Author – Amazon Top 60
- Senior Pastor (since 1987)
- Member – Board of Regents, University of Mobile – Mobile, Al
- Veteran Talk Radio Host (Since 2002)
- Graduate – F.S.U., Fl Police Academy, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.)
- Writer/Columnist – Newspaper, Syndicated Blog, PNN, WND.com
- Popular TV and Radio Guest Commentator (Religion, Prophecy, Politics, Current Events)
- Founder of the PNN News and Ministry Network (online) (2008)
- Former FL Lawman – two different Sheriff’s offices and the Fl Dept. of Corrections
You’ll observe from our conversation that Pastor Gallups is knowledgeable and passionate about what he believes and teaches. He was an excellent guest.
He has a pastor’s heart combined with a policeman’s perspective. You’ll want to get his book when you’ve heard what he has to say.
Sample the Message
Origin of the Book
If you’ve listened to DestinySurvival Radio with any regularity, you know I ask authors what brought about the book we’re discussing. I was especially curious to know how this book came into being.
Key motivators included 40 years of Carl Gallups’s experiences as a cop and pastor combined with the multitude of inquiries from people worried about our rapidly changing world. He decided the time had come to write a book with Biblical, historical, logistical, practical, understandable answers to the questions he was bombarded with.
Be Thou Prepared, isn’t your typical book on preparedness. I haven’t read anything else quite like it.
I scrutinize books by Christian authors more closely than other books, and I’m glad to say this one didn’t disappoint. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised.
I was expecting the book’s focus to be solely on the kind of material most of us are familiar with regarding preparedness, except that the emphasis would be aimed at a specifically Christian audience.
The book does indeed do that, but it has a focus on two other major areas. One is the history of Christian persecution and why Christians should be motivated by the probability of persecution today. The other focus is on how churches can provide safety and security for their congregations.
As you read what Pastor Gallups has written, you’ll see Scripture passages about the early church in a new light because they dealt with the same kind of problems we’re faced with today. But this is no “Bible thumping” diatribe.
Though many Scripture passages are quoted as they relate to the topics discussed, a great deal of the material is drawn from history and current events to strengthen the points made.
As a helpful resource for Christians and nonChristians alike, pastors and their churches will find this book to be most useful. While several chapters are aimed at individuals, much of the book is for church leaders by a church leader. It’s meant to meet the real needs of real people.
After you’ve read it, I recommend you share it with your pastor or elders and deacons.
Optimizing Church Effectiveness
We live in a different world compared to what it was just three or four years ago. There’s no shortage of motivating factors for getting prepared.
A number of thought provoking questions are raised up front in the book’s introduction. What role should churches have in society? How should they help those both inside and outside their congregations be prepared?
The big question isn’t whether we should prepare, but how we should prepare. While no church can be prepared for everything, it’s Biblical to practice common sense preparedness and face whatever happens as it comes.
Planning and preparation do not signify faithlessness. Christians should put faith into action as they practice good stewardship.
A similar principle applies to benevolence. The issue isn’t whether to exercise benevolence, but how to do so.
Churches aren’t social welfare agencies, but from its early history, churches practiced meeting the needs of their people. Pastor Gallups believes this should be part of a church’s gospel work today.
Surveys cited in the book show churches aren’t well prepared for disasters or a major collapse. However, Pastor Gallups told me things are changing for the better as awareness grows.
That said, he advises churches to be discerning, since con artists see churches as easy marks. At the back of the book is a form template to screen strangers who come to a church seeking help.
Opposition and Persecution
Since a considerable amount of the book centers on persecution, I asked Pastor Gallups to define what it is and what it isn’t. Harrassment and discrimination are mild forms of persecution compared to what we see throughout history and in certain parts of the world today.
While we can acknowledge there are degrees of persecution, the real deal is happening in the Middle East where Christians are being wiped out and exterminated. Pastor Gallups chose his words deliberately and carefully during our conversation.
Be Thou Prepared is meant to warn Americans that persecution is coming, and he wants us to put things in perspective.
If we do experience the worst kind of persecution in America, Christians shouldn’t be afraid to get involved in one another’s lives. We should make disciples and be there for one another in a meaningful way.
In his book, Pastor Gallups takes pastors and churches to task for not being involved in civic and political affairs as a means of being salt and light. The least Christians can do is exercise our right to vote in elections.
But it’s important to practice involvement wisely. For example, he cautions Christians to avoid protests or rallies with large crowds, since they can become unruly and unsafe.
During our chat we discussed two sides of the attitude Christians ought to have regarding persecution. It’s important to get this matter settled in our hearts and minds now so we’re prepared when trouble comes.
Don’t let yourself and your family be killed if possible. But also remember there is joy in suffering for Christ. You’ll understand better when you’ve heard our chat.
Ah, but then there’s the matter of “turning the other cheek.” This must be understood in its proper context, and we must have a balanced perspective.
Optimizing Safety and Security
Pastor Gallups is a firm believer in self defense and the Second Amendment. I’m glad he doesn’t shy away from these issues.
Among the book’s various examples pertaining to self defense is the mention of the Old Testament account of Nehemiah. While Jews were rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem after returning from Babylonian captivity, workers were prepared to defend themselves against physical opposition.
Similarly, today Christians don’t have to volunteer to be martyrs. That’s where self defense comes into play. Martyrdom should happen only when there’s no other choice.
While having a security team with concealed carry firearms may sound shocking and radical to some, the world we live in these days comes to us complete with a growing number of church shootings. That should give church leaders everywhere cause to ponder the implementation of security measures.
Carl Gallups says his church has taken steps to protect its people. Yet, if you were to worship there on a Sunday morning, you probably wouldn’t notice anything out of the ordinary.
Those who worship at our churches have the right to expect safety and security, regardless of the size of the church or whether it is in the city or country. Congregants shouldn’t be sitting ducks.
Consider this. The Supreme Court has said law enforcement officers aren’t obligated under the Constitution to attend to the needs of any particular individual. That doesn’t mean cops won’t be there to protect you, but it’s wise to implement some kind of self defense for yourself and your church.
This isn’t a matter to be taken lightly or dismissed out of hand. A church’s security plan must be put together with thoughtfulness, prayer, and proper training for security team members.
Here are a few questions for your church to ponder.
- Does the church have first aid and medical supplies on hand? Are there church members with medical skills?
- Are there adequate fire alarms? What other alarms could be put into place for members to signal for help in an emergency?
- Have background checks been done on those working with children and youth?
Churches must think strategically about safety and security, rather than act out of fear. To help your church take those first steps toward better security, Be Thou Prepared includes form templates to provide guidance for choosing those qualified security team members.
Observations on General Preparedness
It isn’t until later in the book that Pastor Gallups deals with the kinds of things we normally associate with preparedness, such as food, water, emergency shelter, etc. Again, while this will be useful for individuals, it’s for churches, too.
- Would your church be prepared if it was needed as an emergency shelter?
- What would your church do to help those who lost their homes in a disaster?
- If your church can’t operate a ministry to provide food, clothing or other needs for others, could it support ministries that do have that kind of outreach?
- Are church members equipped to practice neighborhood readiness?
Templates for forms in the back of the book should help guide churches in finding qualified members who can help in times of disaster.
A helpful resource list in the back will provide churches with guidance related to topics covered throughout the book.
Getting out of the system is a topic that comes up from time to time among fellow preppers, so I asked the pastor about it. How far should churches and individual Christians go to separate themselves from our world system, including government control?
The answer he gives is well reasoned, but I suspect some will find it disappointing. Listen to what he has to say, and draw your own conclusions.
We touched briefly on a couple of big questions in our last few minutes together. Knowing the times are getting worse, is it better to belong to a church of fellow believers or a community of preppers? How should belief in the Rapture affect a Christian’s preparedness?
Hear Our Musings
It was a treat for me to visit with Carl Gallups about a Biblical perspective on preparedness. If this subject interests you even a little bit, I strongly encourage you to hear our conversation by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for March 31, 2016. (Right click to download.)
Isn’t it time you helped your church take the challenge to get better prepared?