The shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas has sparked another conversation about guns in church, and now we get to see the issue through a local pastor who is also a cop.

As an officer in the street, Corey Hambrick saves lives. In the pulpit, he saves souls. But now, he has to think about both from inside the church.

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"As I minister from the book board, I'm always watching," Hambrick said. I'm not the only one watching."

If you hear him on Sunday, he's all preacher. But you ask him about an active shooter, he starts talking like a cop, using phrases like "neutralize the situation."

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"In situations like that, the pastor needs to build a team that's ready to execute at the drop of a notice," he said.

That's because he is one. Hambrick has been behind the pulpit for six years, but he has been an officer for eight.

"Do you have any fear that one day someone's going to walk in here and try to do harm?" asked 11Alive's Christie Ethridge.

"I keep an open mind," Hambrick said. "I know that we don't lock our doors. I know that we don't have metal detectors, so anything is possible."

And after the mass shooting in Texas, it's a possibility that seems all too real.

"I can only imagine people lying over pews, maybe people at the altar, maybe people at the choir stand," he said.

RELATED | Local pastor in wake of Texas shooting: Security precautions now a must

"Do you carry a gun when you preach on Sundays?" Ethridge asked.

"Do I carry a gun in church? Is that what you're asking me? I bet you want to know," Hambrick said. "And so to answer your question, I would say this -- We have to be prepared to respond to what is engaging us."

Rev. Corey Hambrick

By definition, a sanctuary is meant to be a place of safety. But how do you protect it once it is not?

"Do we need armed guards coming into a sanctuary?" Ethridge asked Hambrick.

"I believe God gives us common sense," Hambrick said. "If we can respond to what they are giving to us, I'll give it to you like that. Then we can neutralize the situation much more quickly and then we can save lives."

In Conyers, they're already partnering with the local police to do active shooter training drills at local churches. And Hambrick says protection should become part of every pastor's weekly staff meetings.

"We can't just plan what the hymn is going to be," Hambrick said. "We can't plan what the three points of the sermon are going to be. We also have to prepare and plan for protection."

You may have recognized Hambrick. He was featured on Preachers of Atlanta on Oxygen last year. You can hear more from Monday night on The Late Feed. He will be part of our Think Tank.

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