On January 1, 2016, Texas’ new “open carry” law goes into effect. According to the law, churches are a place where the church decides if open carry is allowed on the property, not the private citizen. NEHBC leadership has made the decision that we will NOT practice open carry on our campus. We have an official policy in writing and a sign will be posted in the church, in anticipation of January 1. If you would like a copy of the policy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those of you that know how much I love guns and shooting them may find this surprising. There are two reasons for our decision:
1. NEHBC is a place for all disciples of Jesus Christ–those who believe in bearing arms and those who don’t. We have members for whom it would sincerely offend their conscience to see a Glock openly carried on a brother’s hip or hanging out of a sister’s purse. We value the unity of our body above individual rights and freedoms; or put another way, we are Kingdom citizens before we are Texas citizens. Our Kingdom principles supersede any earthly, national principles. In love and consideration, we gladly lay down personal privileges for the good of our congregation.
2. It would become a distraction from worship of Christ and properly caring for people. Some would take advantage of the opportunity to show off their “toys” and brag. We want to do everything we can to minimize distractions and keep the focus on Christ and people.
NEHBC already has excellent security when we gather. On Sunday mornings, we have uniformed police officers roaming the campus, inside and out. In addition, on Sundays and Wednesday nights we have a large, trained security team, many of whom are local, state, and federal law enforcement officers. NEHBC’s security team is under the leadership of a professional trained and experienced security team trainer/leader. The uniformed police officers, NEHBC’s security team, and NEHBC’s staff leadership team are well connected by radios and have communication capabilities at all times.
I’ll be talking about this from the stage and we’ll put it out on social media as well. Thank you to my fellow gun-lovers for your understanding.