5 Ways Christians Can Encourage and Engage Their Elected Officials
As the Faithful Head to Primary Polls, Author and Pastor Dr. Paul Chappell Says to Pray, Share Concerns and Support Officials
LOS ANGELES—Sure signs of spring are not only green shoots peeking through the ground or colorful buds on the trees, but also red and blue political candidate signs popping up in yards and along highways.
As several states prepare for primary elections, Dr. Paul Chappell, author, senior pastor of Lancaster Baptist Church and president of West Coast Baptist College, says there are five ways that Christians can encourage and engage their elected officials, especially as they prepare for the important act of voting. Two states, Texas and Illinois, held primaries in March, with many others beginning soon in May. In Chappell’s home state of California, the primary is set for June 5, and other states will open polls as late as November.
“As Christians, we are familiar with Christ’s command to be salt and light in our world (Matthew 5:13-16),” Chappell wrote in a recent blog post. “As American Christians, we have the opportunity to not only elect our representatives but also to interact with them in a way many Christians around the world do not have. We should use this opportunity wisely.”
Chappell says there are five ways Christians can encourage and engage those who represent Americans:
- Pray for them. Even the apostle Paul, who lived under the authority of a very different type of government than in America, instructed, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
“We should not only care to find out who our government leaders are as we approach an election, but we should pray for them on a regular basis,” Chappell said. “Pray for them to have wisdom and understanding, to lead well, for their family and personal lives, and, if they are not saved, for their salvation.”
- Invite them to special church events. Especially for the officials who live in a local area, meet them, thank them for their service, witness for Christ and invite them to church. This may be for a day specifically designed to thank community leaders or a day in which great effort has been made to invite the entire community. Also consider asking them to take a moment to address the church as the congregation publicly thanks them for their service.
- Support them. For those who have an official standing for a principle or moral issue that is biblically correct, thank and support them when possible. Send them a note. Write a letter to the editor in the newspaper. Tag these officials in a social media post expressing support.
- Share positions with Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike. Remember that elected leaders represent the people. When Christians have a concern, they should share it. Don’t assume that an official doesn’t need to hear from constituents because their party platform is already consistent with these concerns. And don’t assume officials won’t listen. Share positions thoughtfully, kindly and with good, solid research.
- Remember them when they’re going through difficult times. Government officials are people, too. They face health challenges, family needs and real-life problems like everyone else. Look for opportunities to encourage them when they are going through a difficult time.
Chappell was recently a featured speaker at the Capitol Connection gathering in Washington, D.C., where pastors met with elected officials and their staff members, in an effort to encourage them and serve as ambassadors for Christ.
Chappell and his wife of 37 years, Terrie, are also the authors of the new travel-themed marriage guide “Are We There Yet? Marriage—a Perfect Journey for Imperfect Couples,” which contains truth for husbands that will help them clarify their destination, communicate their needs and grow as a couple.
Read more about Lancaster Baptist Church, West Coast Baptist College and the Chappells here. For more information on Dr. Paul Chappell and Lancaster Baptist Church, visit paulchappell.com or www.lancasterbaptist.org, or connect on Facebook, Twitter or the church’s YouTube or Vimeo.