Churches wanting to influence their communities through politics rather than evangelism and ministries can watch Tuesday’s free Community Impact Training livestream from the Family Research Council, the sister organization of Focus on the Family, which first created the training in the 1990s.
The goal is church-based Community Impact Teams that can be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” through voter registration drives, Christian Citizenship Sundays (near July 4), Christian Heritage Week (near Thanksgiving), petition drives, precinct organizing, attending school board meetings, monitoring school textbooks, running for office, fighting for tax reform, combatting porn, opposing environmental regulations, and advocating against government programs that help the poor, widows and orphans.
“The church has been mostly missing in action,” said FRC’s Community Impact Team Manual, and “the devil’s crowd has taken over key places of influence in our communities and culture largely by default.”
“The devil’s crowd has taken over key places of influence in our communities and culture largely by default.”
FRC promoted today’s training in an email asking: “Can the church have a role in election integrity? What is the church’s response to ballot harvesting?”
The program will feature speakers arguing churches should become hubs of political activism by gathering signatures for state initiatives and collecting vote-by-mail ballots before an election.
Before John Eldredge was the bestselling author of Wild At Heart, he presented more than 100 Community Impact Seminars at churches for Focus on the Family’s Public Policy Division in the 1990s.The seminars presented a novel interpretation of Jesus’ teaching on the Good Samaritan.
Speaking in 1994 at Denver’s Riverside Baptist Church, he taught the Samaritan’s “social service” toward the man who had been beaten and left on a road was a good thing but insisted acts of social service “are entirely superficial” without social action, meaning political activism.
Later, another Focus on the Family executive explained the ministry’s view at a gathering of Colorado Springs ministry leaders: “Since it’s safe to assume that people are regularly being mugged here, it makes no sense to keep bandaging everyone up. What concerned Christians should do is petition the local government to have more police patrols and street lights installed on this dangerous stretch of road.”
Three decades later, the Community Impact Training is presented by FRC, which claims it reaches more than 40,000 pastors and churches through efforts like Watchmen on the Wall, a pastors’ network fighting “the problems we face in our communities and our nation.”
FRC warns not all Christians embrace its approach toward politicizing churches.
“Some Christians are so ‘heavenly minded’ that they are of no earthly good and will try to persuade us that we are wasting our time,” says the Community Impact Team Manual.
“Others “are so ‘worldly minded’ that they see our efforts as unkind or even ‘hateful’ because we confront sinful behavior, policies, laws, politicians, etc. Unfortunately, their relationships with sinful people and alliances with ungodly leaders who follow an ungodly political platform weigh more in their thinking than clear biblical principles.”
FRC also makes clear its activism against people who support environmental regulations and poverty programs is actually a fight against the Devil.
“Lastly, be careful not to overlook the spiritual dimension of the battle in which we are engaged,” says the Community Impact Team Manual. “Who is behind the efforts to take God out of every public school and government institution and silence our free speech as Christians? Who is behind all of that?
“The real enemy is not the poor deluded souls who are promoting these ungodly agendas. They are simply pawns in the hands of their Malevolent Master. They are lost and are only doing what lost people do.”