[OneCry recently co-sponsored The Family Leadership Summit 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. FAMiLY LEADER staff member Greg Baker shared how they are seeking to build relationships between pastors and state governmental leaders. Here is a panel discussion about what is happening in Iowa.]
The FAMiLY LEADER foundation’s Church Ambassador Network in 2016 launched a vision to see the church and state in America working together. We thought the Iowa Capitol was a great place to begin restoring that relationship.
We launched the Iowa Capitol Project during the 2016 Iowa Legislative Session, and it’s a privilege to share with you the amazing things that happened. Thanks to God’s blessing on the Iowa Capitol Project, a group of pastors came to the Capitol EVERY single day of session! This year we were blessed with over 300 pastor visits from numerous evangelical churches all across Iowa.
Our overall goal with our Church Ambassador Network is to build a relationship between the church and state based on relationships we see between these two institutions in the Bible. The church and state are both of the Lord and both have a God-given responsibility.
An excellent example of this relationship is the prophet Nathan and King David, as well as the prophet Elijah and King Ahab. In both examples, the “church” did its job. They served as a moral compass and guide to their kings. Thankfully, David listened to Nathan, and Israel was blessed for it. Unfortunately, Ahab did not listen, even though Elijah did his job.
This is exactly what happened at the Iowa State Capitol this legislative session. Pastors began to build relationships with Iowa lawmakers and spoke truth into their lives about the various public policy issues they wrestle through and what the Bible has to say on these issues. Issues pastors visited with their lawmakers about included doctor-assisted suicide, funding of abortion providers, abortion, marriage, sexuality, sex education, school choice, predatory lending, gambling, and more.
Pastors also ministered to, prayed with, and encouraged our elected officials. They simply built relationships with them. Elijah and Nathan were not strangers to their kings, and no longer are these pastors.
According to Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2, government’s purpose is to punish evil and reward good. It is the institution of justice. God loves justice; it is part of who He is. He yearns to display this character trait through government.
When government does its job correctly, not only are people blessed, but the law serves as a moral guide and teacher, resulting in leading people to Christ. However, government can do the opposite and lead people farther away from God. We see this play out both ways multiple times with kings in the Scriptures, whether it be Josiah and Hezekiah, or Ahab and Manasseh.
Government has an important job as one of God’s institutions, and we believe that it cannot properly do its job without the church. After all, how do you define good and evil without the church of Jesus Christ? It simply can’t be done.
Without the church, the government is left to its own definition, which translates to the disaster our nation has experienced the last few decades. We believe 2016 was the year we took a step to begin to transform our culture. And we are only getting started!
Next year our goal is to have over 600 pastors at the Iowa State Capitol. It is also our goal to expand what we are doing to other levels of government, such as our federal and county representatives and even other state capitol buildings.
The guidance of the church is needed from the courthouse to the White House, but we need to start somewhere. Why not Des Moines? Or why not in your community?