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)

“10 Step Program ”

Figuring out how to start a new church ministry for a complicated, very controversial concern can be overwhelming.  With pastoral leadership often apathetic, and at worst hostile towards having the church directly involved in “worldly” issues such as voting, legislation, public policies and programs, and the like, it can be daunting to know how to even begin.  To help you in your own “recovery program” to fulfill our Biblical mandate for cultural and political involvement I’ve outlined a “10 Step Program” below.  Variations have been easily adapted and successfully applied by churches in the area.  Before you begin, however, a few words of warning:

First, every church is different.  The philosophy of ministry, strengths and weaknesses, extent of pastoral oversight, and how sound the teaching and preaching are Biblically, will vary from church to church.   These factors alone will have a major impact on the extent a citizenship type ministry will be allowed to exist.  Second, your pastor has been given by the Lord as your shepherd for the good of the body of Christ.  He’s accountable for the church’s spiritual health and for orderly Christ-centered and Christ-honoring ministry.  Be submissive to that authority and work with him, not against or without him.  Third, never be divisive.  We are called to be of one mind in Christ, and this takes diligent work, prayer, and preparation.  It doesn’t mean everyone will agree on everything, but it does mean our attitude must always be to honor Christ, be humble towards each other, and as far as it depends upon you - to be at peace with each other.  Healthy, Biblical debate is fine, but divisiveness is destructive.  Finally, be in committed prayer over what to do and how to go about it.  God is the One that provides the wisdom to guide and mature us in citizenship ministries just like every other ministry.  Now, the 10 steps.

Step 1: First and foremost, find out if there’s an existing Christian Citizenship Ministry or related ministry of any kind.  If you find something close, talk with the ministry leader about your ideas to see if it can be expanded to include a citizenship emphasis.

Step 2:  If a ministry doesn’t exist, find several people that share your interest and passion.  Remember, if you’re thinking along this line, you know there’ll be others that think the same way and would be willing to help.

Step 3: Have an informal discussion with those that share your interest in forming a citizenship ministry.  By comparing notes you’ll be able to select the best ideas and also focus on what the most important issues are to address.

Step 4: Identify a potential ministry leader that is a mature Christian, with a broad base of interests and understanding of cultural issues.  This will prevent too narrow of an initial focus and will help ensure adaptability as the ministry matures.

Step 5: Identify a church leader (pastor, associate pastor, elder, deacon, etc.) that is sympathetic to your desires.  Most pastors have a personal concern about what role Christians should play in our cultural wars, but lack the personal time or in-depth knowledge to pursue it.  They need your help, and you need them to understand how to proceed.

Step 6: With this leader, strategize an approach to defining, developing and implementing a formal citizenship ministry that would be acceptable, given your church situation and approval process.

Step 7: Develop clear ministry goals and an approach to accomplish them.  This will include identifying what resources will be needed, and how pastoral oversight will be maintained.

Step 8: Present your plan to the wider church leadership (if needed) for approval and oversight.  It’s critical you be receptive to any concern expressed, and remain flexible enough to adapt to the advice and direction given.

Step 9: Be patient.  If this type of ministry doesn’t already exist in some form, it may take some time to create and implement in an effective manner while building pastoral confidence.

Step 10:  If a ministry of this type is approved and established, pick a standard meeting time and place, make it known to as many members as possible, and ensure pastoral oversight is sought and welcomed for everything done.

If you’d like further information or assistance on forming a church-based citizenship ministry, feel free to contact me at any time.

Frank Kacer
Executive Director, Christian Citizenship Council of San Diego

First published as a Guest Commentary in the January 2007 issue of Good News Etc.