The Gospel changes lives. Jesus redeems lives and influences real change in society. He affects all that we think, feel, say and do – including how we vote and how a person should govern. But the cause of Christ and His Gospel should never be confused with the ambitions, positions and celebrities of either political party. We truly believe Christ would have huge issues with both of the major parties.
As a pastor, I’ve always emphasized that as a local church we will go out of our way to not be seen as friendly to any particular political party. Because of our missional foci, we long to have lots of Democrats, Independents and Republicans attending. Some members of our congregation will serve in political office.
We sometimes discuss moral issues that might be viewed as political, even at the risk of controversy. However, we do not want to advocate for a party or candidate who may agree with the church on one issue while taking a stand on another issue that is inconsistent with our faith. Even identifying which candidates agree with our stand on a particular issue is sometimes dangerous. There may be an anti-abortion candidate, for example, who pushes some other immoral agenda in an election for an office. Some candidates will not stress the need to help all people in society. Some candidates will have no influence over, say, the abortion issue, as with, for example, the abortion position of the county auditor whose stand probably doesn't count for much in the big scheme of things.
Our mission as a Church is not to accomplish political agendas, yet we mustn’t shy away from open dialog in society. Instead, we encourage discussion on the major issues of our day without falling into the trap of endorsing candidates and without name calling or considering a person with a differing view as evil or stupid. Opinions and convictions re: political stances are often discovered and tested through discussion and debate.
We remain focused on the Kingdom. Our king - Jesus - said His is “not of this world”. We do not advocate political complacency, nor a skeptical cynicism toward political parties. Yet, we never want to be seen as confusing the gospel with either political party, nor putting too much faith in national, political schemes and plans.
All parties need the gospel, but the gospel needs to flourish, redeem lives and influence culture. This means we focus on actively loving others and believing that Christ through us can make a difference as we take His Universal Agenda – showing and telling the Gospel – to the world. This means we’ll become people who allow God to burden us, change us and move us to love people, teach the truth and live for His glory.
We can't ignore politics and current events, but we have to be discerning in how deeply we get involved as a church. Study the issues. Pray for God’s wisdom. Vote your conscience, while honoring God’s Word and supporting Christ-like character. Keep your mind on things of above. Work for the Kingdom. As far as it concerns you, be at peace with all men – even agree to disagree with a brother or sister in Christ, but maintain the unity of the Spirit at all cost.