Grandview company getting numerous requests to help local churches stay safe after Texas shooting

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Police say the calls for security training increase as the trend of mass shootings continues in the United States.

One Kansas City metro company is getting national attention and heavy requests Monday for their expertise in keeping churches safe.

Barry Young, a vice-president in charge of church security with Strategos International, said churches have become the softest of soft targets. Strategos, which is based in Grandview, Missouri, serves the mission of helping churches and other nonprofits across the U.S. formulate safety plans to implement in case of an attack.

He said Sunday's mass shooting outside San Antonio, Texas, brought him to tears.

"The biggest obstacle churches face is they don't believe it can happen to them," Young told FOX 4 News on Monday.

Young said complacency won't keep you safe, even in church.

Strategos provided FOX 4 News with video, which shows the company's active shooter training courses where parish staff members are taught to spot potential trouble and form emergency evacuation plans.

"If you're going to church and an active shooting event begins, if you call law enforcement, the average response time is four to nine minutes. The church has to have a plan for look out, get out and, sadly, take out," Young said.

He said churches are soft targets because no one's watching the church's entryways; they're typically looking forward. Also, cash offerings are usually collected at those gatherings, which are a tempting target for trouble, too.

"Those three denominators aren't found at malls," Young said. "They're not found at restaurants. They're not even found at schools."

The San Antonio-area shooting is causing church pastors to pause as well. Every Sunday morning, Pastor Brad Oyler conducts two services at Courageous Life Church in Independence. He says it's challenging to keep a church and its people safe while continuing to welcome the public with open arms.

"The thing I started thinking is: I'm going to have to be more on my toes here," Oyler said. "The Bible says in Matthew 10:16, 'Be wise as serpents and gentle as doves.'"

"We can't be close-minded or ignore what may be a possible threat," he siad. "We're quick to introduce and embrace people who come in and share the Gospel with them, but we're also aware of situations they may have."

Young also works with the Independence Police Department as a police chaplain. He says the city of Independence has scheduled him to conduct a citywide church security session coming up in January.

"What we teach in churches and schools is simple: Don't be a good little victim. If you can't look out, and you can't get out, use whatever you can around you to take the attacker out," Young said.