First Word: Leading the Charge

Reprinted from the Sept./Oct. issue of RELEVANT

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Let's get this out of the way up front: I'm not a politically motivated person. Which is why I felt a tad out of place meeting with Barack Obama this summer. And talking to John McCain. And doing countless interviews about the faith and shifting political views of our generation.

Yet I have unwittingly found myself thrust into the political arena, a place where people are vehemently passionate about their ideologies and platforms. It’s an entire industry built around being right and proving your opponent wrong, and winning at any cost. It’s a continual power struggle and—from my humble vantage point—seems a bit flawed.

I’m someone who tries to think independently and objectively, rather than simply follow what the pundits tell me to think. Because of that, I’ve realized I cannot fully embrace either political party. Both sides of the aisle have some great ideas and goals. But both also have areas where they simply get it wrong.

I know the power of politics and the importance of the process in our world. But I also know that, historically, real, lasting change has started first at the grassroots level long before it was ever legislated. Cultural mindshifts influence Washington, not the other way around.

Many Christians traditionally have voted Republican because of their justifiable conviction to protect the lives of the unborn. Now, many younger Christians are voting Democrat because of their justifiable desire to see our nation, the most prosperous in the world, address issues of poverty, global aid and the environment.

The problem is, many Christians vote these convictions, but that’s largely where their personal involvement in the issues stops. Are the government leaders we vote for meant to do our job for us?

If God has given you a heart for the poor, or to see a reduction in the number of abortions, or to promote peace, or to help the sick, or to stand for strong moral values, or to be a better steward of the environment, then your personal focus needs to be on that—whether or not the President shares your same values.

The Bible reminds us to pray for our leaders, but it also talks about praying for those who persecute us. Though I can’t foresee any situation where this would be the case, what if one day every value Christians stand for, even religious freedom itself, was legislatively removed? Christians in China and many other parts of the world face this reality every day. Would it change us?

Dare I say, it might actually spur the Body of Christ here into greater action. Could it be that the loss of religious freedoms would ultimately be the best thing for American Christians because it would cause us to stand on our own feet rather than relying on the government to legislate our faith and values for us?

I’ve heard that only 5 percent of people who attend church regularly actually serve in any way. I’ve read that if every Christian in America actually tithed 10 percent of their income, we would have enough financial resources to wipe out global poverty.

There’s more power lying dormant in pews around the nation than any government could hope to provide, and that’s where our focus should be.

Many Christians want to overturn Roe v. Wade, but I don’t hear nearly as many leading the charge on a national adoption movement. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, where are all of those babies going to end up? Christians should be focused on personal action regardless of legislation, not just waiting for the right number of Supreme Court justices to come along.

I’m not saying don’t vote. Do. Vote your convictions and let your voice be heard—that’s one of the perks of living in a democracy. But don’t let politics breed division, or make you see people in a different light.

If you have a passion for an issue, rather than judging someone who doesn’t share that passion or viewpoint, just go do something about it. Give your life to it. Be the change you want to see.

We need to pray for our leaders and our country, but always remember that our leaders and country do not define us. We are the generation that will shape the direction culture, government and social action will take in the next 50 years. It’s not up to Washington, it’s up to us—and I say it’s time we step up and lead the charge.

But that means with our lives, our finances and our actions every day. Not just Nov. 4.



PT commented…

You're trying to appear clever and objective but your not. You're just confused, man. God help you guys for not standing up against the most dramatic shift in our courts in a long time.

Lecturing me on the judgement I'm making between murder and govt socialism just makes you look like a fool.



lkeyjr commented…


Just heard some news that you are now on the board of trustees at ORU. Let me just say, as a former student, thank you. This is the best thing I've ever seen ORU do. Other than accept a 70 million dollar gift.

By the way, thanks for being real in the blog, and not letting anything but your own convictions sway your political thinking.

God bless you man!


John Adams commented…


Beautifully said - I applaud you for calling us as Christians to action. I have a deep burden for the poor, specifically orphans. How refreshing to be reminded that the onus for change is, at the end of the day, mine. Well done.



Nate commented…


I totally agree - "Theres more power lying dormant in pews around the nation than any government could hope to provide, and thats where our focus should be."

The key is, power to do what? I too would love to see genuine followers of Christ serving and "tithing" more. Ultimately, though, I think the truest and greatest power in any church is the power to see lives transformed - the very nature and character of a person turned from destruction to salvation.

If that becomes the issue of passion for our generation, we (followers of Christ) will become truly sacrificial and we will see real, long-term change come to our world. We will "be the change."

My hunch, though, is that many in our generation would rather chose the "desire to see our nation, the most prosperous in the world, address issues of poverty, global aid and the environment."

Asking our government to do the job Christ left to His followers is a dangerous supposition. Christ never taught that the government is responsible for addressing poverty or stewarding the earth. In fact, His word is pretty clear that "government" will oppose His true followers in completing His mission . . .

Anyway, thanks for the insightful article!



Oscar Yturriaga commented…

We need a voice of reason amid the resounding rhetoric between the church and the mainstream media. For far too long the church has failed to weigh in on the critical issues of the day and has stood idly by as the moral fabric of our nation has unraveled.

Where was the church long before gay marriage became an issue...when cohabitation was becoming commonplace? Perhaps if the church would have intervened then, it would not have become an issue that today is decided by judges and politicians.

Having worked in the foster care system myself, I can attest to the large volumes of abused and unwanted children that are trapped in a system that treats them like a number and not like a human soul. Where is the church when these orphans need a family? Perhaps the church wouldn't have to face the issue of homosexual couples fostering or adopting children if they would meet this need and open their homes to them.

Don't get me wrong...there are many Christians who are living their faith out loud and making a difference in this world for God. But, that should not passify us into settling for mediocrity or being satisfied with status quo. We have spent enough time criticizing the world. Now it's time that we, the church, become a little self critical so that we can respond to the challenges presented in our world today. We can't change our mistakes of yesterday, but we can learn from them so we can hopefully avoid future moral catastrophes.

There's a world out there in need! Who's going to respond? How long are we going to wait? What will it take for us to do something?

We must ask ourselves:

If not me, then who?

If not now, then when?

If not this, then what?

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