DEXTER, MO (KFVS) - In light of Wednesday night's mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, pastors and congregations are left asking how to keep their place of worship safe.
Is it better to protect yourself against a gunman by having conceal carry weapons in church?
In Dexter, Pastor Michael Williams of the First Christian Church Disciples of Christ said that's not something he's ever discussed with his congregation, but he knows it's something that's happened at other churches.
For him it's a matter of finding balance between opening your doors to the community and keeping your congregation safe.
Pastor Williams said firearms don't deal with the root issues of poverty and discrimination that motivate people to do terrible things.
The church does have a security committee that follow typical protocol in locking up the building.
But he said they're lucky to have several law enforcement officers as members and that's perhaps their greatest safety precaution.
"After worship we always have people go around and check the doors," said Pastor Williams. "There's kind of a rotation of people who make sure everything is locked up. We're also blessed in our congregation to have a couple members of the local law enforcement community who just are members here so in the event, God forbid, of anything happening we are in very safe hands."