Church Leaders Need To Publicly Support Local Elected Officials
The church body, as a whole, is missing out on the powerful influence they could have on their schools, city and state when they avoid the “P” word within congregational communications: politics.
The church body, as a whole, is missing out on the powerful influence they could have on their schools, city and state when they avoid the “P” word within congregational communications: politics. In the First Amendment, the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses were intended to keep government principalities from interfering with or coercing citizens to forgo their religious rights. It does not, however, work in reverse which has been the current narrative that has kept pastors and churches in fear of losing their tax-exempt status, or worse, being shut down.
Yes, churches should be major influencers on the government! Under the umbrella of religion, our Christian faith provides freedom to express larger than life ideas for a better future and strongly come against adversarial forces which influence our lives. This can and should include the actions of our nation’s government and local leaders. While grandiose prayers for the salvation of the country’s top leaders is an important act, don’t overlook the local players in the game. These are the folks who can activate positive change for the community more immediately than those at the national level. Depending on their ambitions, local officials can often end up in a higher position, such as governor or the United States Congress, where it can be more difficult to make a meaningful or impactful connection. This is why church leaders need to be investing in a relationship with them now.
Church leaders, especially pastors, are generally respected by the public and government leaders. By not connecting, or by remaining silent on critical issues, church leaders demonstrate an implied consent and this public latency can have unintended consequences. When elected officials don’t hear from their constituents, they assume we are happy with what they are doing and the policies they are implementing. This is especially true when they do not hear from the Christian community. This should frighten church leaders as both local influencers and wise council to their membership.
Because all scripture is inspired by God and made useful for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” church leaders can apply Biblical wisdom to support and inform their local elected officials on all matters of business and policy making (2nd Timothy 3:16, NIV). By reaching out to local elected officials, and those who are running for office, church members can positively influence the work they will be performing through encouraging communications, meaningful relationships and prayer.
Connect to Encourage
It may sound overly simple, but what we’d love to hear is a “thank you, good job, keep it up, and we’re standing in agreement with/in support of you.” As an elected official, I was surprised and disappointed to see that the majority of communications received from members of the community were negative in nature: complaints, fears, and even threats! When constituents come to us in a cooperative manner, we are much more receptive to their ideas. I was also perplexed in how much we were approached, rated and forced by left leaning groups to welcome their radical agendas while the church was basically silent and uninformed. This has also been my son’s experience over the years as a state legislator. The church cannot continue to remain so silent and distant.
Don’t know what to say? Reach out via social media, e-mail, or by phone and introduce yourself and your involvement in the community. The simple act of introducing yourself and encouraging your elected officials to learn more about what you do can open a line of communication and helps establish a positive working relationship. You can easily do this by attending one of their official meetings or public event. Conservative Christians have remain disempowered because too many of us do not take advantage of the opportunities to connect with those in local government.
This is where the church can help with teaching how to do this. Local officials are more accessible to meet, take to coffee or lunch, which the public rarely does. Set up an appointment just to hear their story, find out who they are, their background and why they ran for office so you can get to know them better. Without knowing a person’s background, it can be hard to understand them or connect. They will appreciate your genuine interest which will help to develop a meaningful relationship, which is key. It is appalling how people treat politicians on social media and how much information that is spread is false. Be an instrument that God uses for love and unity as this is how change happens.
Depending on the term of a position, send introductions when someone is newly elected — consider it a standard practice and keep in touch regularly, not just when there is an issue you are concerned about that comes up. Each communication should always be with genuine love and humility as the scriptures instruct.
Make it Meaningful
When communicating with your elected officials, encourage the person behind the position, not the political party they associate with. Per the definition of a public servant, elected officials are obliged to serve the needs of the community before and without regard to any personal agendas or bias they may hold or be associated with. In a similar way, don’t let party affiliations or systems limit your outreach.
One thing people don’t realize is that public servants are rightfully wary of “expert” influencers or movements who appear to rally against or strongarm an issue. In light of this, don’t let your job or service in Christian ministry inhibit the relationship. Lead communications with your heart first, not your job title. Find a common ground that doesn’t hinge on any religious affiliation until a deeper relationship has been established. The fact that your church and members live in their district gives you enough credibility and importance to be taken seriously. Then when you have established a deeper relationship the door to being heard and heeded is more easily opened.
In spite of what many media outlets tell the world, the majority of elected officials are normal people who are passionate about making the world a better place to live in and are willing to navigate the system on our behalf. Now, more than ever, they could use the extra support from the community they serve, and as leaders, it is important to set the example for your own congregation.
Pray to Protect and Uplift
Prayer is one of the easiest ways to support your local elected officials due to the indirect nature and convenience factor. With this in mind, pastoral staff and prayer ministry leaders should not discount the effect of personalized and direct prayer via phone, in writing, or in person.
Prayers in this area should be intentional and specific, considering they are openly warring over our human and civil rights in a too often corrupted field. Take a moment to research the individuals and where they stand on various issues and how they have performed in the past.
Are there proposed policy changes in review that need to be pushed through or halted by this individual? Is there an election coming up with a specific person who will need an extra measure of grace, or one who needs a broad hedge of protection? Pray for those people and proposed changes by name, if possible. A suggested prayer** for an elected official who is operating in accordance with Biblical principles:
“Father, thank you for setting into place (named individual), a person who stands and works to govern in accordance with your ways. May your wisdom be continuously revealed to them; strengthening and guiding them with truths which are unaltered or filtered by bias, emotion, or money. Help (named individual) to use discretion in all manners of their operation. In the name of Jesus, I speak against and bind any spirits of deception, selfishness, and fear. Let no weapon or scheme formed against them prevail. Convict them daily to increase their faith by seeking more of you. Show me how I can personally and specifically encourage and support them through my experience and connections. In Jesus name, amen.” *Based on Proverbs 2:6-11, Isaiah 11:12 and 54:17.
What about the individuals who are not operating in accordance with Biblical principles? First, we should not underestimate God’s ability to work with and through difficult people. He can work through imperfect people and use tension to jumpstart an entire movement!
A suggested prayer** for this elected official: “Father, thank you for (named individual). If they do not know you, draw them towards salvation in your Son, Christ Jesus. Cause them to seek answers beyond themselves, not finding themselves wise in their own eyes, but eager to learn more on (named issue) and be receptive to Biblically sound laws. Let all wicked motivations be forsaken and unrighteous thoughts be held captive. Show me how I can personally and specifically encourage and support them through my experience and connections. In Jesus name, amen.” **Based on Psalm 26:3, Proverbs 3:7, Isaiah 5:21 and 55:6-7.
In addition to the individuals signing documents, pray for the support staff that will be researching, processing, and advising on the issues. They can sometimes have more influence than the actual politician they work for. It is essential those hired are well-educated, anointed, and excellent in moral character.
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BIBLE: Will America Be Significant in the End Times?
Many believe that the United States will not play a significant role in the end times.
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As Christians, we believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ and the end of the world. Throughout history, people have pointed to various signs that they believe indicate that the end times are upon us. In this article, we will explore some of the biblical signs that suggest we are living in the end times, as well as address the question of why America is not a significant player in the world during this time.
Increase in natural disasters such as earthquakes, famines, and pestilences. In Luke 21:11, Jesus said, “There will be great earthquakes, famines, and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.” Today, we can see an increase in natural disasters, including hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and earthquakes, which are happening more frequently and with greater intensity.
The increase in wars and conflicts. In Matthew 24:6, Jesus warned that “you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.” We have seen this prophecy fulfilled in our lifetime, with numerous conflicts around the world, including in Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan. These conflicts have resulted in the displacement of millions of people, as well as the loss of countless lives.
The rise of false prophets and the increase in lawlessness. In Matthew 24:11-12, Jesus said, “Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” Today, we see an increase in false teachings, cults, and religious movements that contradict the teachings of the Bible. Additionally, there is a rise in lawlessness, with increasing crime rates and civil unrest in many parts of the world.
The increase in persecution of Christians. In Matthew 24:9, Jesus said, “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.” Today, we see an increase in persecution of Christians in many parts of the world, with Christians facing discrimination, imprisonment, and even death for their faith.
The moral decline of society is another sign of the end times. In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Paul describes the state of society in the last days: “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.”
The rebirth of Israel. In Matthew 24:32-33, Jesus said, “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.” The fig tree is often used in the Bible as a symbol for Israel, and the rebirth of Israel as a nation in 1948 is a significant sign of the end times.
What about America?
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Many pastors and theologians believe that America will not play a significant role in the end times. They base this belief on several Scriptures, including Revelation 13, which describes a future world government, the Beast, and a world leader, the Antichrist, who will rule over it. Many theologians believe that this world government will not be centered in the United States.
In addition to Scriptural evidence, many famous preachers, teachers, and authors have also expressed this viewpoint. For example, John F. Walvoord, a prominent theologian, wrote in his book, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ,” that the United States is not mentioned in the Scriptures and therefore may not play a significant role in the end times.
Likewise, pastor and author David Jeremiah, in his book “Escape the Coming Night,” wrote that the United States “may not be a significant player on the world scene” during the end times.
Even Billy Graham, in a sermon he delivered in 1958, said, “I believe that one of the signs of the times is that the United States will begin to move into a position where we will not be a major factor in world affairs.”
Despite this, some theologians believe that the United States could still play a role in the end times, albeit not as a dominant power. For example, Hal Lindsey, author of “The Late Great Planet Earth,” believes that the United States will decline in power and influence but may still play a role in supporting Israel during the end times.
In summary, many pastors and theologians believe that the United States will not play a significant role in the end times. While some hold out the possibility that the United States may still play a supporting role, the consensus is that it will not be the dominant world power during this time.
So, what do you think?
The topic of premarital sex is one that has been heavily debated for years, with strong opinions on both sides of the argument. However, when it comes to the best approach for long-term physical, emotional, and psychological health, the evidence seems to point towards waiting until marriage. In this article, we will examine the reasons why it is best to not have sex before marriage, backed by studies and statistics.
Firstly, let’s examine the physical health aspects of premarital sex. One of the most significant dangers associated with premarital sex is the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 20 million new cases of STIs in the United States every year. This is a staggering number that highlights the importance of taking preventative measures when it comes to sexual health.
While condoms can significantly reduce the risk of contracting STIs, they are not foolproof. According to a study published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases, condom use was associated with a lower risk of STIs, but the risk was still present. The study found that individuals who used condoms consistently still had a 10-15% chance of contracting an STI.
Another physical health risk associated with premarital sex is unintended pregnancy. While there are numerous forms of birth control available, none are 100% effective, and accidental pregnancies can and do occur. According to the Guttmacher Institute, almost half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended. This can have significant emotional and financial consequences for individuals who are not prepared to have a child.
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The emotional health consequences of premarital sex are equally as important to consider. Many people believe that engaging in sexual activity before marriage can lead to a more fulfilling and satisfying relationship. However, research suggests that the opposite may be true.
According to a study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, individuals who engaged in premarital sex reported lower levels of relationship satisfaction and higher levels of instability than those who waited until marriage. This is likely due to the fact that individuals who engage in premarital sex may have a more casual attitude towards sex and relationships, leading to a lack of emotional commitment.
Another emotional health consequence of premarital sex is the potential for sexual regret. According to a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, individuals who engaged in premarital sex were more likely to experience sexual regret than those who waited until marriage. This regret can lead to feelings of shame and guilt, which can have long-term effects on an individual’s emotional wellbeing.
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Finally, let’s examine the psychological health consequences of premarital sex. One of the most significant concerns is the potential for depression and anxiety. According to a study published in the Journal of Sex Research, individuals who engaged in premarital sex reported higher levels of anxiety and depression than those who waited until marriage. This is likely due to the emotional and physical risks associated with sexual activity outside of a committed relationship.
Another psychological health concern associated with premarital sex is the potential for a lack of self-esteem. According to a study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, individuals who engaged in premarital sex reported lower levels of self-esteem than those who waited until marriage. This lack of self-esteem can have long-term consequences on an individual’s mental health and overall wellbeing.
In conclusion, the evidence suggests that this approach may be beneficial in several ways. By avoiding sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies, and negative emotional consequences, individuals who wait until marriage to have sex may be able to lead happier and healthier lives. Furthermore, research has shown that premarital sex can have negative effects on relationship quality and satisfaction, especially for individuals who place a high value on religion and traditional values. Ultimately, the decision of when to have sex is a personal one that should be made based on one’s own values and beliefs. However, those who are considering waiting until marriage to have sex may find comfort in knowing that the evidence suggests that this approach can have a positive impact on their physical and emotional well-being, as well as on the health of their future relationships.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/std/stats.htm
Warner, L., Stone, K. M., Macaluso, M., Buehler, J. W., Austin, H. D., & Hook, E. W. III. (2008). Condom use and risk of gonorrhea and chlamydia: A systematic review of design and measurement factors assessed in epidemiologic studies. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 35(5), 436-443.
Guttmacher Institute. (2019). Unintended pregnancy in the United States. Retrieved from https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/unintended-pregnancy-united-states
Willoughby, B. J., Carroll, J. S., Busby, D. M., & Brown, C. C. (2014). The impact of religiosity on the association between premarital sex and relationship satisfaction. Journal of Marriage and Family, 76(2), 429-438.
Barry, C. M., Madsen, S. D., Nelson, L. J., Carroll, J. S., & Badger, S. (2009). Friendship and romantic relationship qualities in emerging adulthood: Differential associations with sexual activity and contraceptive use. Journal of Sex Research, 46(5), 419-430.
Lambert, N. M., Kahn, A. S., & Appleby, P. R. (2003). Placing sex in context: The influence of relationship quality on women’s sexual satisfaction. Journal of Sex Research, 40(1), 108-112.
Lambert, N. M., & Dollahite, D. C. (2006). How religiosity helps couples prevent and resolve marital conflict: A longitudinal investigation. Family Relations, 55(4), 439-449.
Regnerus, M. D., & Uecker, J. E. (2011). Premarital sex in America: How young Americans meet, mate, and think about marrying. Oxford University Press.
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