HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Tragedies like the mass shooting that Sutherland Spring, Texas is reeling from, have sparked conversations about security, at churches and communities around the country.
Pastor John Dees of Crosspointe Church in Madison, said this Sunday his church will be far more alert than normal, saying, "Our elders will meet together and we will discuss our procedures and what we do, we already have those in place right now."
Pastor Dees said situations like the one in Texas cause churches to review what they do, and how they do it, "To make sure that our people can come, that our little five-year-olds can come be in a children's worship and be safe and happy and learn about the Lord Jesus Christ."
It causes tough conversations to be had, and puts the church in a difficult position, as explained by First Baptist Huntsville Senior Pastor, Travis Collins.
"We're interested in safety, but we're also followers of Jesus who was the Prince of Peace. So do you answer fire with fire? At what point do we cross a line?" he debated.
Pastor Collins said he doesn't know what the answer is, but churches everywhere will approach it differently.
"We have off duty Huntsville police officers here, three of them, on Sunday mornings. Their cruisers are parked outside. Some churches approach it like that, others use their members," he explained.
He said they are steps churches regret having to take, but, "We feel a responsibility for everyone who comes to our building."
Another conversation besides the security one taking place, is how these types of tragedies impact church communities.Pastor Dees said he hopes the most recent shooting does not deter Christians from trying to make a difference in the world.
"We care about everyone, not only the people that were killed, but we also care about the person that was the killer. We're all sinners, all of us have fallen short of the glory of God, so that's what we try to remember," he explained.
Pastor Dees hopes that the latest shooting doesn't discourage people, or have them thinking, "'Oh my goodness, if I go to church I might be hurt,' the last thing you need to do is that. We need to be bold, and stand up, keep on keeping on, live for King Jesus."
Pastor Collins echoes those sentiments, but said the questions that pop up can be gut wrenching for people of faith.
"On one hand are we supposed to demand justice because of what he's done? Or are we supposed to love this person, despite what he's done?" he explained.
Pastor Collins said courage is the willingness to do the right thing, even when afraid. "For years I've heard people say, the safest place to be is where God wants you to be. That just no longer means, if it ever did mean, that we are physically safe in church."
He hopes that people choose to be courageous during these times.