Steve Deace
The mainstream media claims independents, the great unwashed in the middle, decide presidential elections. Conservative orthodoxy claims otherwise. Who is correct?

The answer is they both are to an extent.

Let’s face it, the mainstream media detests grassroots conservatives, therefore it will advance any dogma that seeks to marginalize the base of the Republican Party they absolutely loathe—whether it’s true or not. Since the Republican Party establishment hates us as much as the media does, and doesn’t want you aware of just how much sway you hold over the process, they dutifully play along in dispersing the DNC propagandist talking points. On the other hand, to compensate for this slight, I think conservative orthodoxy has overlooked the importance of reaching independents to win a national election.

This debate is a lot like what’s going on in our evangelical churches nowadays, with some churches focused on evangelism and others focused on discipleship, as if these are mutually exclusive properties when they’re really part of the same process. The first step in the discipleship process is conversion, which requires evangelism. However, the process doesn’t begin and end there, but must continue to mature and grow those converted. Evangelism and discipleship are not competing church missions, but rather complement each other to complete the church’s mission.

This explains why you’ll often see churches out of balance resemble certain stereotypes. Those focused too much on evangelism at the expense of discipleship will often look younger, trendier, and have a more spiritually shallow and transient church population. Mature believers at these churches often feel left behind while the church leadership is always looking for the next wave of new attendees, and then they often bolt for more discipleship-focused churches as a result.

Churches focused on discipleship too much at the expense of evangelism will often look older, corporate, and have consistent attendance by the same families who are growing in their faith but not effective in reaching out to others. Baptisms are too rare at these churches, or too often the baptisms taking place are the children of the families who have been coming all along. You could leave that church and return in six months, and see many of the exact same people there.

Steve Deace

Steve Deace is a nationally-syndicated radio host for the USA Radio Network. His radio program has been featured in major media such as Fox News, CBS News, ABC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Politico, The Weekly Standard, and Real Clear Politics among others. He's one of the top 100 talk show hosts in America according to Talkers Magazine. In 2013 he wrote the second-most shared column of the year for USA Today, defending "Duck Dynasty" and traditional American values. In addition to being a contributor for Conservative Review, USA Today, and Town Hall.com, Deace is a columnist for The Washington Times. He is also the author of the book "Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again," which includes a foreword by David Limbaugh and is endorsed by a who's who of conservative leaders. He lives in Iowa with his wife Amy, and their three children: Ana, Zoe, Noah You can follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.