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FAITH – Hope for Today: Pastors should encourage voting

Clint Decker

Clay Center, Kansas –Pastor and church leader, do you anticipate encouraging your congregation to vote in the general election on November 3rd?  I hope every pastor and church leader will help make the Christian vote, the highest turnout among any group.

I understand churches may feel uncomfortable or even resistant to utilizing their church to encourage voting.  Perhaps they think it smells of politics and want to get as far away from the odor as possible, especially with political tensions running too high in America right now.

What I am talking about is simply encouraging the act of voting.  I do not want the church promoting certain candidates or political parties, nor turning Sunday morning into a political rally.  This is just about encouraging followers of Christ to vote, and vote prayerfully and intelligently.

I see voting as an act of loving Christian citizenship when I read the Apostle Peter’s letter in the New Testament.  His words are not specifically about voting, but about the Christian’s relationship to government. 1.  Voting is honorable.  It is written, “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable . . .” (1 Peter 2:12).  2.  Voting is good.  The Scriptures say, “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people” (vs. 15).  3.  Voting is an act of freedom.  The Bible says, “Live as people who are free” (vs. 16).  In the United States men and women and people of all races and religions, or no religion, are free to vote.  4.  Voting is loving our neighbor.  God’s Word states, “Honor everyone.  Love the brotherhood.  Fear God.  Honor the emperor” (vs. 17).  The candidates up for election are our fellow citizens, and in a sense, are our neighbors.  It is an act of sacrificial love to them when we take time and go vote.

But what if some candidates are lacking the character or will not support Christian principled policies or legislation?  That is a valid concern, but please do not let that keep you or your church out of the voting booth.  Participate, but do so with greater attention to prayer, seeking the Scripture for guidance and learning about the candidates.

If you lead or are involved in a church that sees voting as part of the messy political process, consider a different viewpoint.  Look at it through the lens of God’s Word and Christian citizenship.  It is our opportunity to be salt and light in the community when we show up at the polls on election day.  And when our votes are joined with prayer and fasting for the candidates along with our city, state and nation – election day can truly be a spiritually impactful time.

When it comes time to cast our vote, believers in Christ do so with a theological understanding of sovereign Kingship.  Jesus died, rose from the dead and is alive today sitting at the right hand of His Father in heaven, waiting to come again.  Christ is King no matter who is on the ballot or in political power.  It is in Him whom we ultimately place our trust with the realization that no earthly power can thwart the purposes of our Lord and Savior.

A prayer for you – “Lord God, I pray you will give pastors and local church leaders wisdom and unity in discussions about encouraging their congregations to vote. Open the eyes of fellow believers to the biblical importance of voting.  And I pray that our nation will turn toward you.  We are in desperate need of a special touch of your glory and grace.  Come Lord Jesus.  In your holy name, Amen.”

 Clint Decker is President of Great Awakenings. Hope for Today is a nationally syndicated column. Please share your comment or question with Clint at cdecker@greatawakenings.org.