Church Safety: A Q&A with Sutherland Springs Pastor Frank Pomeroy

By Kirk Evans

If you are wondering whether it’s time to come up with a more cohesive, actionable defensive plan for your church family, the short answer is yes, now is the time. 

To help you understand what this entails through the eyes of another church leader, we sat down and chatted with Pastor Frank Pomeroy. 

Given the realities of the world we live in, Pastor Pomeroy and his team of deacons and ushers are preparing for whatever may come. In 2017, their church was attacked by an armed man who murdered 26 people and wounded 22 others.

U.S. LawShield®: What is the name of your church, where is it located, and approximately how many people are in your congregation?

Pastor Frank Pomeroy: First Baptist Church (FBC) Sutherland Springs, Sutherland Springs Texas, 198 [parishioners] on the rolls, [with an] average [of] about 220 on any given Sunday 

USLS: Was there a moment that made you realize you needed a defensive plan for
your church?

“As pastors, we have been called to take care of our flock. A shepherd does more than just lead his sheep to feed and water. He also protects them from the wolves and enemies, just as David said he did [when] watching after his father’s flock.”


Pastor Pomeroy: After the shooting in 2017 

USLS: For some background, in 2017, an armed attacker who was legally prohibited from possessing firearms entered the sanctuary and opened fire. Dozens of people died and were injured before local resident Stephen Willeford was able to shoot the attacker twice and stop the threat.

USLS: How did you go about forming your church safety team?

Pastor Pomeroy: We were able to sit with church security professionals … to put a good plan together.

USLS: Is there anything you would do differently today when forming a team?

Pastor Pomeroy: I think we have a great and diverse team here.

USLS: How often do your church safety team members participate in training? What type of training?

Pastor Pomeroy: At least monthly, and it can be on a firing range or [on] de-escalation techniques [or] medical training

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USLS: Do you encourage members of your congregation to carry?

Pastor Pomeroy: I do not encourage [it]; however, I do not dissuade it either.

USLS: Is your church posted to inform visitors it is protected / defended by an armed team / person?

Pastor Pomeroy: It is not posted; however, it is pretty obvious by those that are known on the safety response team.

USLS: How do you feel the Bible addresses self-defense?

Pastor Pomeroy: As pastors, we have been called to take care of our flock. A shepherd does more than just lead his sheep to feed and water. He also protects them from the wolves and enemies, just as David said he did [when] watching after his father’s flock. We have been called to provide a safe and secure place of worship and fellowship, trusting the Lord to instruct us on how to fulfill that goal. 

USLS: What do you feel is the most important thing(s) for a church safety team to be aware of when it comes to defending the flock?

Pastor Pomeroy: Do not allow oneself to become complacent. Whether it be in our training or the knowing [church] members, a threat will always find that vulnerable place to attack; therefore, we must be alert and cognitive of all things, at all times.

USLS: What one piece of advice would you give other pastors / church leaders who are considering forming a defensive plan for their church?

Pastor Pomeroy: To seek out professional training by those who do this for a living, so as not to forget something that may have never crossed their radar before

Whether you’re ready to start putting together a plan for your church or unsure where to begin, U.S. LawShield® is here to help. Not only do we offer Legal Defense for Self Defense®, but we can also help you develop strategies to defend your church through Protect Your Congregation — U.S. LawShield Church Safety Course: Presented by Armed and Educated Academy. U.S. LawShield can help you plan and prepare for the safety of your congregation. Please email

Kirk Evans is the president of U.S. LawShield, a national legal defense program with more than 700,000 members. Evans has practiced law in Texas for more than 25 years and has concentrated most of his work on complex civil litigation and constitutional issues. He has provided legal guidance for church leaders and safety teams as well as represented gun owners, instructors, ranges, and law enforcement. Evans has written several firearms legal publications, including Texas Gun Law: Armed and Educated. 

U.S. LawShield® is a Legal Defense for Self Defense® Program, not a law firm. Membership in the U.S. LawShield Legal Defense for Self Defense Program is not a guarantee of any particular outcome. All legal services are provided by independent third-party program attorneys who are part of the Program. Visit for terms, conditions, restrictions, and insurance licensing information.


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