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Engaging the Elections at Church

Written by Ed Stetzer on . Posted in Ed Stetzer

How to pastor your congregation during the campaign season.

With billions of dollars spent on presidential campaigns every four years, it is almost impossible for anyone who has a radio, television, computer or smart phone to ignore the barrage of news, advertisements and commentary on America’s favorite pastime: politics.

When Christians gather for worship on Sundays or for Bible study and fellowship during the week, the political messages they hear are likely to echo in their minds. How should pastors lead their flocks during this time?

One viable option is to say nothing at all about politics. The Church’s central task is to make disciples of Jesus Christ; discussing politics can expose divisions within the Body of Christ and distract from the core functions of worship, evangelism and discipleship. Most churches want to be safe places where Republicans, Democrats and Independents can gather without being ridiculed or ostracized for their political views.

Of course, not explicitly addressing politics does not necessarily cleanse the church of political bias. Sometimes the most powerful messages are subliminal. In her insightful book, “The Politics of Evangelical Identity,” Lydia Bean traces the subtle ways in which partisan cues sometimes function in churches that would never overtly endorse a political candidate or party.

At the same time, if Jesus is Lord over all then he will have something to say about how our nation is governed and how public justice is administered. Further, the Bible makes clear that all human authorities are accountable to God. In a democracy, voters are part of the process and will be accountable for how they steward the gift of their citizenship.

Pastors and church staff must be careful in their approach, yet prophetic in their calling. ...

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