I – Prepare

Church Security Book Review: A Gentle Response

With the title taken from Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire,” the book A Gentle Response: Conflict De-Escalation With A Ministry Mindset is written to guide staff and volunteers of all faiths and houses of worship in proven ways to defuse tense and potentially dangerous situations. Its author, John Riley, is an Army veteran, retired police officer, consultant, trainer, and founder/president of Gentle Response, a consulting company specializing in very dynamic, realistic conflict de-escalation training seminars which are specifically designed to help students develop stress inoculation, muscle memory, self confidence, and confidence in colleagues.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Gentle Response De-Escalation Training for Church Security Teams ]

The book is filled with practical insight and examples by the author, gleaned from 20 years of road patrol experience, observations, and training as a certified crisis intervention specialist through the National Anger Management Association of what can be said and done by law enforcement officers to more effectively and successfully de-escalate a situation to ensure that everyone goes home safe. While it’s written to church security team members, it’s principles can be equally applied to individuals as part of your personal self-defense toolbox.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, A Prayer for Church Security Team Members ]

The following are highlighted quotes from the 90-page book:

Active Self Protection Self-Defense Checklists and Acronyms

John Correia is the founder of Active Self Protection, teaching people to develop the attitude, skills, and plan (ASP) to defend themselves and their families from harm.

John is a nationally-recognized subject matter expert in private citizen defensive encounters and law enforcement use of force, a master firearms instructor, martial artist, court-admitted expert witness, teacher of teachers, and former pastor. He reviews thousands of violent incident videos as true-life self-defense teaching lessons on his Main and his Extra YouTube channels.

The following is a collection of some of the acronyms and checklists John has created to assist in remembering self-defense techniques and mindset.

•   Vehicles are transitional spaces where threatening incidents can easily happen. Follow this LET’SS GO checklist IN NUMERICAL ORDER to quickly remove yourself from vulnerability:


  1. L ock your doors as soon as you get into your car.
  2. E ngine on.
  3. T ransmission in gear.
  4. S seatbelt buckled.
  5. S can your surroundings.
  6. G et organized.
  7. O n your way.

Directory: Informative Free Email Newsletters From a Variety of Sources

Firearms Training: A Directory of Shooting Drills

Shooting Drills | Organization Shooting Qualifications

SemperVerus stands for “Stay True.” It means to stay true to what is right (taken from the Bible book of 1 Timothy 4:16), and it also means to stay true to properly hit the target you’re aiming at. Here are training drills to help you consistently accomplish the latter.


  • Active Response Training: Shooting Drills
  • Active Response Training: The Best Handgun Practice Drill Resources
  • Active Response Training: Useful Training References—Shooting Drills