This year we recruited another couple to become deputized and held a four-Sunday voter registration drive in the Spring. Next we sought our pastor's blessing to export the ministry to churches in our area. Once again, he gave us his unwavering support and wrote a letter to endorse our ministry. After dozens of emails and phone calls, a handful of churches invited us to come and hold registration drives. The churches that turned us down inspired me to write this article.
Champion the Vote estimates that out of 60 million Christians in America, only 30 million vote or are even registered. Can you imagine the impact 30 million votes can have on a general election? Can you fathom the weight that 30 million votes would have on the issues of life, marriage, religious freedom and fiscal restraint? Think what would happen if 30 million believers embraced this truth: My vote counts.
Clearly, however, these 30 million believers either don't care enough to vote or have never been taught the importance of voting. This is why pastors are so important. But before I share how pastors can encourage their congregations to get involved in the political process, let me give just two examples of why voting is so important.
First, the value of life is the heartbeat of God and marriage is the nucleus of God's church. When government says the destruction of life is lawful and the definition of marriage expendable, the Kingdom of God is threatened and the church must say: no! Therefore, electing pro-life candidates that are committed to life and God's definition of marriage is a biblical and moral imperative.
Second, the religious freedom we enjoy in America is not guaranteed. It must be defended and preserved. In fact, religious freedom in America is severely under attack. Therefore, electing candidates who are committed to defending religious freedoms in America is crucially important.
Politics is not a hobby like scrapbooking. Getting involved should not be an option. Politics, whether we like it or not, affects every area of our lives. The stakes for families and ministry are very high.
Here are five things pastors can do to make a difference:
1) Teach the congregation the importance of praying for God to raise righteous leaders to fill the White House, the Congress and the Supreme Court. Call out periods of fasting and prayer for this specific purpose. Create prayer guides and distribute them.
2) Preach boldly about the sanctity of life and the importance of honoring God's definition of marriage -- one man and one woman. These are biblical truths, not just political hot buttons.
3) Exhort the congregation to vote. "We the people" means that all of us are responsible to preserve our republic. The citizenry of America is enormously powerful. Remind the congregation that voting is a privilege, a responsibility, a sacred trust.
4) Encourage the formation of a task force at the church that has as its purpose to register voters, provide voter guides before elections, and inform the congregation about issues that matter so they can contact their representatives and senators.
5) Invite pastors in your circle of influence to get involved, share ideas, and establish partnerships with them. There is strength in numbers.
In the fight for life, marriage and religious freedom, every vote counts and every pastor matters.
Get started by visiting ChampionTheVote.com.
"Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual -- or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country." --Samuel Adams
Sudi Kate Gliebe is scheduled to graduate in December from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Ph.D. in childhood education. She is a member of Southcliff Baptist Church, and she and her husband Steven reside in Benbrook, Texas. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net