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There are almost 200,000 individual religious organizations based in the US, with many of these places of worship acting as not only a welcoming environment but also the cornerstone of surrounding local communities. Thousands of Americans attend their local temples and religious institutions each week. 

To safely host these large numbers of worshipers, visitors and community members, and to best protect people and property alike, a dedicated and versatile security system should be a top priority. 

Unlike businesses and residential buildings, places of worship face a few unique challenges when it comes to installing, implementing and managing access control. Religious leaders can leverage this detailed guide to find the most appropriate synagogue, temple, mosque and church access control solutions.

Why choose a religious institution or church access control system?

From clergy members and religious leaders to tourists and outside organizations, chances are most local churches, mosques, temples and synagogues must be equipped to appropriately manage, grant and restrict access to their building. Traditionally, key-based locks have been the only real option, though the use of these systems can easily lead to lost, duplicated or stolen keys resulting in serious security threats. 

By opting to install a modern church access system, credentials can be easily issued, adjusted and monitored by security officers, helping to reduce the likelihood of both physical and property crime as well as allowing religious leaders to better allocate resources and schedule temple use. 

The key benefits of religious facility access control

Theft prevention  

Theft is one of the most common crimes committed against religious institutions, with many temples often containing valuable A/V equipment, ceremonial objects and varying amounts of cash. By installing a monitored church door entry system, religious leaders and security officers can control who is allowed access to the property and review activity history if an incident should occur. 

Customized access schedules 

Installing house of worship access control readers in every door of the building will allow admins to adjust which areas are accessible at certain times. For example, entrances to lobbies and hallways can be left unlocked during the day, with storerooms and offices having restricted access and requiring credentials to unlock. 

Additionally, outside groups can be issued credentials for the church access system that only grant entry to pre-approved areas of the property, reducing the need for clergy members and volunteers alike to act as on-site security staff. 

Reduced security costs

The installation of a church, mosque, synagogue or temple access control system can help to reduce the costs associated with hiring dedicated security guards to protect places of worship. By choosing a modern system featuring cloud-based remote management, admins can issue, revoke and adjust church or synagogue access control credentials from any connected smart device, as well as monitor how credentials are used without the need for on-site patrols. 

Admins can also use the church door entry system to remotely grant access to delivery couriers and outside organizations requiring temporary access to the premises. Time-based keys can be issued directly to verified smartphones, or visitors can be given a temporary PIN for a temple keypad system. The added benefit here is that visitor and vendor entry activity can be monitored by security officers for the duration of their use.

Different types of church, synagogue and temple access control

Using a keypad system for religious institutions

A synagogue, temple, mosque or church keypad system is one of the simplest forms of access control, with these configurations requiring guests to input a specific number or PIN code into a door mounted reader. 

When operating a church keypad system, it can be hard for admins to track who has accessed certain areas without the use of additional security features like church video security cameras. Unless each user is given a unique PIN code, it can be difficult to know if these credentials have been stolen or compromised by intruders. That’s why church and temple keypad systems are better used to control access to staff areas or spaces with less traffic.

Contactless and RFID religious center access control 

RFID house of worship access control systems require guests to present individualized credentials via an electronic tag, usually installed inside a key card or portable fob. These systems are particularly convenient as users only need to hold their passes in proximity to the reader to unlock each door, and as every tag is unique, admins can reliably monitor who has accessed certain areas at specific times. 

The one real drawback of choosing an RFID church, temple, synagogue or mosque access control system is that issuing large numbers of physical cards and fobs can quickly become costly, though it is possible to adjust and re-issue individual tags provided that admins have the time and knowledge to do so. 

Choosing a church mobile access system

Opting to operate a synagogue or church mobile access control system can bring several benefits not matched by other configurations, mainly in that admins are able to issue personalized credentials directly to users’ smartphones, removing the cost of issuing physical cards yet retaining the ability to monitor activity. 

Keys are stored within a cell phone app, with admins able to issue, adjust and revoke permissions remotely via the church access system as and when needed. To access locked areas, guests or staff simply hold their phone to the associated reader, and as each set of credentials is linked to a specific device, tracking the use of active credentials to create a reliable visitor management system can be made particularly easy. 

The unique challenges of religious institution access control

Though some aspects of building security are shared between commercial properties and places of worship, many churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious institutions face a number of unique challenges when it comes to installing and managing an effective property security system. 


At the core of most religious institutions lies a tenet of inclusivity; many houses of worship act as a community hub and a meeting place for outside organizations, so it’s important that any chosen place of worship access control system is appropriately discreet and easy to use for all members of the community. 

Choosing a manageable religious center access control system that can be programmed to allow access to public areas at set times is one way to remove some of the intrusive aspects of building security, as is opting for a contactless system that removes the need for guests to interact with locks or carry a special key. 

Limited security resources 

Unlike businesses or multi-tenant residential properties, many religious facilities may lack the resources required to hire dedicated on-site security staff, meaning much of the work needed to protect the property will fall to religious leaders, members of the public and community volunteers. 

As these chosen security officers may not have a professional understanding of modern building security, it’s vital that any installed church or temple access control systems are relatively easy to program and monitor. Oftentimes, cloud-based church access control systems can be ideal in these situations, as most service providers will offer some degree of managed IT and general customer support. 

Features to consider for place of worship access control 

  • Occupancy management and visitor logs: Choosing a temple door entry system capable of recording detailed use logs can help church staff to keep track of visitor numbers and ensure that occupancy levels remain safe. This feature can be particularly important in response to natural disasters and other emergencies, as admins will be able to reference user activity when performing headcounts to ensure that all visitors are accounted for. 
  • Timed access and zone control: Religious building access control systems will benefit from some degree of programmable timed access, in which certain doors can be unlocked automatically only during predetermined intervals. For example, main entrances and public spaces may be unlocked for the duration of planned events and regular services, while private offices, storerooms and childcare areas remain locked and secured. 
  • Automatic lockdown feature: The ability to use a church door entry system to automatically lock all church, mosque or synagogue entrances in response to a potential security breach can be of particular use in the event of an emergency. Parameters can be set by admins to engage lockdown protocols and a robust security plan if intruders attempt to force entry, with additional controls and override functions accessible through a remote management system controlled by security staff. 
  • Auditing and reporting features: By installing a church, synagogue, temple or mosque access control system capable of providing an audit trail, admins can create reliable reports to be used for security investigation purposes. Common uses of the system can be tracked and recorded, helping security officers to spot potentially suspicious activity or anomalies that could indicate the occurrence of possible future security threats. 
  • Easy installation and scalability: Securing a religious institution with access control will require electric commercial locks, so that the access readers can communicate with the locking mechanism. A professional can help ensure a successful installation for your religious institution access control system, including recommendations on the best church commercial locks for each of your entries. 

When choosing a church, temple or synagogue door entry system, it’s important to think about future security needs, too. Ensure the religious center access system you choose can easily accommodate all the entries you want to secure now — including doors, turnstiles, elevators and parking lots — as well as any future expansion without having to replace the entire system down the road.

How to choose an access control system for your religious institution

Installing a secure house of worship access control system shows a commitment to the safeguarding and protection of all visitors, guests and worshippers that benefit from the services provided by religious institutions. By investing in this technology, ongoing security costs can often be reduced, and religious organizations can focus resources on services that directly benefit local communities. 

When choosing the most appropriate mosque, temple, church or synagogue access system, religious leaders should look for key features that promote accessibility and intelligent automation, including timed access, automatic lockdown functions and reliable record keeping. This way all members of the local community can continue to benefit from the services and amenities offered by their local houses of worship. 

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