Mary Pflum writes at NBCNews:
When Chris Crews prepares for church on Sunday mornings, he follows a routine. He rises early. He puts on his church clothes, a button-down shirt paired with blue jeans or khakis. Then, before leaving the house with his wife and two children, he straps a firearm -- a 9 mm or a .45 -- to his right hip.
"I don't leave home without a gun," Crews said. "It's kind of like the old American Express card ads: I just won't leave home without it."
Crews, 47, is part of the security team at Ava Assembly of God, a Pentecostal church of 300 members in Ava, Missouri. The church has no paid security guards. Instead, it counts on a team of 18 church members to keep fellow congregants safe. None of the security team members are paid and all carry handguns.
"Ava Assembly of God launched the security team 18 months ago," Pflum continues, "after the church's pastor, Buddy Boyd, received threats related to a domestic dispute involving members of the community."
"In response, and amid rising fears of mass shootings in general, a congregant suggested forming a security team. Boyd quickly agreed," Pflum writes.
"Times have changed," Boyd says, according to Pflum. "The No. 1 concern is to protect our parishioners."
Read more here.