I'm not a huge fan of thrillers, though I used to love Artemis Fowl, which was sort-of-a-thriller (the author, Eoin Colfer, called it "Die Hard with fairies."). But I had this idea while I was at work for a story which was "Die Hard in a church." I was kicking around the idea for a while, and then decided, as a member new to the forums, to field it to you guys.

In sum: I've got the basic idea of "'Die Hard' in a church." My main problem is formulating a pretext for such a situation occurring in a church. I'm thinking that it amounts to some evangelical megachurch getting invaded by a squad of terrorists or something who raise havoc while a parishioner or somebody tries to quell the problem with a gun he had in the back of his car or something.

The problem I keep running is like this: How do I make the villain interesting? In the real world, most of these mass-shooting disasters that we see in the news are the results of deranged lone-wolf attackers whose mad rampages are quickly squelched by the police. But in keeping with a bit of advice which I believe is attributed to Bruce Willis, "A story is only as smart as its villain." Therefore, how to make a villain who is both a.) Smart and b.) Would have a plausible motivation for attacking a church?

I'd appreciate any help I can get on this.