Mt Soledad
Welcome to the
Christian Citizenship Council
of San Diego
San Diego
“When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.” (Prov 29:2)

“A Letter to Church Members”

My letter in last month’s column was addressed to pastors, this month it’s written to church members.  If you’re a church member, maybe you have a concern about limited Christian involvement in the political process, or how few are countering anti-Christian societal trends, or maybe your pastor is unwilling to preach on issues you think are important.  I suspect you may be looking for ways to stimulate your friends to be as actively involved as you.  On the other hand, you and your church may be very actively involved already.  Let me be the first to commend you for your zeal and concern to restore Biblical righteousness to the public arena.  I know you’re probably frustrated, and even disappointed that more don’t share your vision to make a difference.  In your zeal, however, I encourage you to keep a few things in mind.

First, your pastor is not necessarily called to be as involved as you in this type of Christian witness to the world.  A pastor’s primary responsibility is to shepherd the flock entrusted to their care, and to diligently build up their spiritual health.  Besides teaching and preaching God’s word, pastors work long hours wrestling with difficult issues in peoples’ lives.  I’m almost certain they don’t have the time or energy to personally take on major political or counter-cultural involvement or leadership.  What they need are mature, faithful, knowledgeable workers to assist in equipping church members to actively engage the moral problems we see around us.  This is where you come in.  Don’t expect your pastor to do it all, or to do most of it.  You’re the one gifted by God to be the diligent worker to help him equip and motivate within your church.

Second, whatever you do, remember it must bring glory to Jesus Christ.  Always test personal motives, tactics, and heart before the Lord to ensure everything, political or not, is under His Lordship.  Further, whatever church activity is pursued must be with a heart submissive to your church leadership.  God has placed them over you for a reason, to ensure everything brings merit and honor to God, is done in an orderly manner, and does not create divisiveness. You may become frustrated if your pastor doesn’t give you the full attention you want, or the enthusiastic encouragement you need, but remember political and cultural involvement is not his first calling. Recognize that it may take time for him to warm to the importance of thoroughly equipping the flock to be godly citizens with a Biblical worldview.  You, then, need to be patient and understanding, and work with him, beside him, under his authority, and not against him.

Third, some of you have hot buttons motivating you to be actively battling the moral decay around us.  If you are a “single issue” person you may not have the necessary breadth of experience, outlook, or desire to help motivate members of your church to become Biblically equipped to address a broad spectrum of societal and political concerns.  If that’s the case, I suggest you prayerfully and humbly find and help those that are better equipped to organize and lead a wide ranging Christian citizenship ministry. This will ensure a broader and more effective participation as momentum increases within your church.   Remember, though, your zeal (with knowledge) will be critical in those particular areas of interest to you.

Fourth, cultivate an understanding attitude towards others.  Some will not accept that the role of the church includes equipping Christians to be godly citizens.  Others may be more zealous than you, while others may sincerely differ on a particular social or legislative issue.  Whomever you encounter, don’t look down on those with greater or lesser societal or political involvement (or insights) than yourself.  Your challenge is to not create offense or division when sharing your views and working with others.  It’s one thing to sharpen each other as iron (Prov 27:17), it’s quite another to be contentious.  May sharpening be the attribute describing you.

Finally, while being salt and light (Matt 5:13-16) and loving our neighbors (and enemies) as ourselves (Matt 22:39), be faithful to God’s truths and a Biblical worldview.  Don’t become discouraged if progress is slow, we’re called to be faithful laborers, not to guarantee results.  Though progress in countering the decay around us must be entrusted to God’s perfect will, your energy, enthusiasm, insights, and maturity will be infectious to others and will go a long way to ensure ministry success.

By the way, if you have a church based ministry relating to legislative or cultural/societal issues, I’d like to hear about it.

Frank Kacer
Executive Director, Christian Citizenship Council of San Diego

First published in the August 2005 issue of Good News Etc.