Local pastors re-evaluate security after Texas church shooting

- Most of us think of churches as safe places to pray but in truth, there have been dozens of church shootings in the past 10 years. 

Police call them soft targets with little or no protection.

Local pastors gathered at a church in Garden City just hours before the kickoff of their annual meeting of Baptist State Convention of Michigan. The topic of discussion was security after a shooting at a church in Texas left 26 dead and another 20 people injured.

"It breaks your heart because you know families are being impacted. You know that people are hurting," said Pastor Wayne Parker of Merriman Road Baptist Church.

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Pastor Tim Patterson, executive director of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan, says the church where the shooting took place in Texas is part of their network.

"It hit home for us because those are pastors that I may have met. ... I was born and reared in Texas. I pastored in down in South Texas area not too far from where they are," he said.

Pastor Larry Johnson's church, Middlebelt Baptist Church in Inkster, is hosting this year's annual convention and says his church is in the process of increasing its security response plan.

"We have a former law-enforcement agent at our church who is devising a plan for an active shooter and these is not things that churches normally, over the last 30 or 40 years, ever had to think about," he said.

Pastor Parker says his church also has security in place, such as cameras throughout the building, and they can execute a response plan if needed.

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But if security is an issue can a church continue to keep its doors open to the public?

"We have to do ministry so we're at tough place to have open doors and at same time be secure," Johnson said.

But some say in wake of security concerns, church leaders can't lose sight of their mission.

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"Our mission does not change related to the evil that we see we're going to continue to preach God's word and do what he asks us to do," Johnson said.

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