TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Local pastors are focusing on keeping their congregations safe after the mass shooting in Texas.
Cedar Creek gave WTOL 11 an inside look at how they handle security so their guests can focus on worship and prayer.
"The challenge is that I think church should be the safest place to talk about anything," said lead pastor Ben Snyder. "And so the fact that now people are wondering if they going to be safe in going to church, we really try to put people at ease."
Pastor Ben Snyder said security is always on the mind of his staff.
"But to see stories like we did this last week, it's just heart-wrenching," he said.
That's why five years ago, their church put a security team and plan in place.
"So we partner with local law enforcement," said Pastor Snyder, "and they are actually in communication, with radios with our security team. So they are strategically partnered together."
Snyder said the visibility of an officer in the parking lot and inside the building can sometimes deter someone from coming in the building, who wishes to do harm.
Smaller churches, like the one that was targeted in Texas, may not have the same resources to hire officers, but Cedar Creek shares their security practices with other churches in the area. They also rely on volunteers, like Haraz Ghanbari,
"We need to be proactive and not reactive," said Ghanbari.
He is a trained military veteran who is part of Cedar Creek's security team. He says a lot goes on behind the scenes so people can focus on praying and listening. He also attends church there with his family.
"I would still encourage folks to come out," he said. "When people don't go out and get involved, that's when the bad guys win."
Pastor Snyder agrees.
"We can't let what we've seen keep us from reaching out, " Synder said. "If we stop doing that then we're basically going to see our communities crumble from the inside out."
And he said that's why coming together at your place of worship is even more important, after events like the one in Texas.