What Is RISE Part 2


By Everett Hornbostel

Last month we started on a journey called RISE. In that first article, I shared with you a little about my background and how RISE came into being. This month, we will move into the second part of this program, which I have called “Interrupt.” Before we dive into this part, let’s discuss why RISE came into being.

Churches are a place where people can go because they are dealing with “stuff.” There is something a person is seeking when they go to a church. One expectation a person might have when they enter a church is safety. Unfortunately, more and more violent actions are taking place against churches. It isn’t always the case that some outsider is perpetrating the violence against the church. In many cases, it is a domestic issue which spills over into the church. Perhaps a spouse has been abused and runs to the church for refuge. The abuser learns of this and chases the spouse down to handle the situation. Perhaps even taking their rage out on those who only want to help. Sometimes these are church members. 

Additionally, most churches don’t have a police officer present at every meeting or even around the facility at any given time of day. The average police response to a priority 911 call is between 5-10 minutes. Most active intruder incidents are over in less than 5 minutes. This means the intruder may complete their objective before law enforcement arrives on scene. 

These are the “why” of Rise.

Now, let’s move into the second component of RISE, “Interrupt.”

Let me start by saying interrupting an intruder event has risks involved. Because of the risks involved, it is best to only attempt to interrupt the event if it is safe to do so. Most of us who attend a church service or meeting aren’t trained to engage a violent individual. 

Some might look at the word “interrupt” and think, “guns…we need more guns!” While I am a supporter of some form of armed security, what is not needed is just a bunch of people carrying guns. What is needed, if a church chooses to have a security team armed with firearms, is training, training and more training. 

Interrupting an incident can begin in the parking lot. Understanding some signs of a person who is determined to cause violence is a key in stopping an incident before it occurs. If a person who appears to be ready to cause violence is observed, the doors of the church can be locked and law enforcement can be contacted (pointing back to the “report” component). This is tricky, because as a church, we want to be welcoming to people, but if we observe something that just seems “off,” we need to engage that something and figure out what is going on. This falls under the idea of “reasonable suspicion.” Meaning that any reasonable person would suspect that a crime was in the process of being committed, had been committed or was going to be committed very soon.

Regardless of where the interruption occurs, the interrupt component is an action a person must resolve within themselves to complete. Once the interrupt component begins, the person(s) involved will need to follow through until the threat is stopped or they are stopped themselves. 

The interrupt stage can take on multiple forms. It can be a distraction that allows for escape all the way up to elimination of the threat from an armed security team member. 

There is a process that the human brain goes through approximately every .65 seconds. This process is known as the OODA Loop. OODA stands for “Observe, Orient, Decide, Act” and the brain can perform this loop multiple times before even picking a pencil up from a desk. Interrupting the OODA Loop can increase the survivability of an incident, providing an opening to physically engage the intruder or to escape. Consider what items are available in a typical church setting that can be used to disrupt the OODA Loop. Throwing a hymnal at an intruder could be the disruption needed to slow down an intruder. The hymnal doesn’t have to hit the intruder, just creating a diversion that causes the OODA Loop to reset. 

Bruce Lee once said, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” Repetitive, focused training is important. In a previous article, “Trigger Talk”, we looked at guns in the church and provided some insights into how church security teams can implement firearms, if they so choose. As a SHARP instructor, I taught the concept of “Train More, Fear Less.” Of course, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim. 2:17, ESV), and Jesus taught us in Matthew 10:28, “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” These statements do not negate the idea of being prepared to defend those who may not be able to defend themselves.