Matthew 16:18 reads, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
For one Iowa pastor, this verse may ring true in the sense that he has taken precautions against any attack that may occur in his church by rigging it with a bulletproof pulpit, a magnetic gun mount, and multiple medical trauma bags.
Mike Demastus, pastor of Fort Des Moines Church of Christ, tells local Des Moines, Iowa, news outlet WHO-TV that the precautions are because “[the congregation loves] each other. We love each other enough to make sure that we’re gonna be safe.”
Demastus told the outlet that he wants his congregation to take all measures necessary. He added that he thinks the steps his church took to improve safety are simple.
“We stopped advertising where our nursery is,” said Demastus. “We just want that to be something we can escort people to, instead of advertising where that’s at because they’re our most vulnerable, the children that are in our nursery.”
The security measures don’t stop there. According to Demastus, there are five people on the church’s safety team that hold different posts and responsibilities every Sunday. Security cameras are positioned around the church, and there is a medical trauma bag, should anyone be injured. The pastor is also armed.
“Right here, I have a spot where I can put my gun,” Demastus told WHO-TV, gesturing to his pulpit. “It’s got a magnet, just literally sticks on there. In the front, we have bulletproof plates that literally, I can’t remember what the strength is of the plates, but they’re steel plates that are in the front of this thing, makes it really heavy. You know, if there was ever a thing, I can just duck down, you know, and be safe behind this thing.”
Jeremy Sroka, with Iowa’s Department of Homeland Security, told the TV station that the pastor is on the right track. “We recommend people to remain vigilant, to be aware of their surroundings at all times,” said Sroka. “Whether at a mall, at a house of worship, or grocery shopping, and then if they see anything that looks suspicious or odd, that they report activity to local law enforcement.”
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