I go to Browns Bridge Community Church & Andy Stanley is our pastor. Today, during the first service, a heckler started yelling at him from the crowd during the closing minutes of his message. I was not at the campus that Andy was preaching at but the video feed was live. This heckler was loud & screaming something theological in response to Andy’s message.
The point of this post is to help you as a church leader know how to handle situations like this. I have to say, Andy & North Point security teams did a great job from what I could tell.
Here are a few things I observed today that can help your church:
1. You need a security plan BEFORE something happens in your service
No matter what size your church is, you need a plan for emergencies in your service. Within a few seconds of this heckler, security teams were on the move.
If this person would have had a gun or something extreme, it would be even more important to have security ready to act. I believe that every church should have at least one volunteer security person in each service. Having a person in your service that responds to emergencies will prevent panic.
What is your plan for hecklers or emergencies during your service?
2. Keep your composure on the stage
Andy did a GREAT job this morning of keeping his composure. The heckler wouldn’t shut up and Andy was gently trying to move the service to a close. The guy just wouldn’t quit yelling so Andy was patient & very kind. Andy’s character showed through in the way he responded. The thing that was impressive was how he kept his composure. Most people would either over react or not react at all.
Composure is important because there were thousands of people in the room & we were waiting on how to react based on what Andy said.
3. Create calm after the emergency is over
Immediately after the hecklers voice grew faint, Andy gave an explanation. He spoke about what the guy was heckling about and said why he was heckling him. The principle was that Andy created a transition that allowed the crowd to move on.
Usually any emergency requires some type of prayer. Andy immediately said, “let’s pray for us and him.” This was a great way to end the emergency and transition out of the awkward situation.
Andy did a great job today handling the heckler. Just like anything Andy does, he did this with class & integrity. Great job, Andy & North Point!