Moments before families filled the pews at St. Mark Baptist Church for Wednesday night service, Pastor Phillip L. Pointer said he understands the need for more security in the nation's sanctuaries. His church utilizes security staff to monitor the premises during services, but will only authorize police officers to carry weapons during worship service.
"There are so many things that can happen, there are children present, seniors present. Unintentionally some great harm can come from a person having those things here," Pointer says concerning permit carriers bringing guns to churches.
First Baptist Church of Sherwood's pastor says he has seen the need for church security up close.
"I pastored in Malta, Texas when I first got out of seminary. Daingerfield, Texas in the mid 80's had a gunman come in and kill a bunch of people," says Pastor Ricky Lee.
Like St. Mark, Lee's congregation has built-in security, members that are trained police officers that can volunteer or work for the church.
"Just as our courts have protection, our churches need to be mindful of the threats that are out there," says Pastor Lee.
More than politicians these pastors rely on a higher power for protection, but say it's important to do their part.
"Of course our hope and our faith is always in God but we partner with His care for us by being responsible," says Pastor Pointer.
Both pastors say they're developing more in depth security plans. St. Mark's will include emergency drills for extreme weather and mass shooting scenarios.