Your Missionary to Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, Rob Schenck, reporting:
Sorry for the haphazard posting, but I’m still working toward carving out writing time every day. Let’s see if I get there by end-of-year!
Spent this past weekend with the 2200 great people of the Worship Center in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I preached a message there entitled “How to Vote.” (Don’t worry—we looked at what the Bible says on “how to” not “for whom!”)
Worship Center pastor Sam Smucker and his wife, Sherlyn, have built a beautiful body of believers over the last 31 years. Like pastor--like people, the folks at Worship Center are exceedingly warm, gracious and generous in every way. This is a dynamic church with quality ministries for the whole family. They reach deep into their community, across the country and around the world. The congregation also maintains one of the largest Christian schools in the area. We’re grateful to the Lord and to the leadership and members of the Worship Center for their support of Faith and Action!
Incidentally, getting out into churches is one of the things I really enjoy about the “other part” of my ministry. I accept about 25 preaching engagements a year. I call this my “Pulpit Ministry.” Just as much as our team is called to serve our “target population” group (that is, elected and appointed officials serving in federal and state government), we’re also called to serve God’s people wherever they are assembled. We do the former by privately and publicly proclaiming God’s Truth here in Washington and in state capitals throughout the country; we do the latter by bringing instruction from God’s Word on exactly how we are to pray for our country and its civil leaders, as well as conduct ourselves as Christian citizens.
Speaking of conducting ourselves as Christian citizens, my visit to the Worship Center officially launched our “How To Vote Initiative.” This new emphasis will carry us from now until Election Day in November. This will be a very important focus for us. You’ll see a lot about it in the days ahead. We want to help you, your family, friends and fellow church members to prayerfully and carefully carry out your important civic responsibility and bring your Christian principles to bear on the voting process. Watch for “How To Vote” notices coming your way soon!
Finally, I had the rare privilege of giving a talk in the prestigious Mansfield Room of the United States Capitol yesterday. It was on the related topic of “Evangelicals and the Upcoming Election.” (My host’s choice of topic—not mine!)
The group I spoke to has in recent days hosted the likes of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England. They mostly wanted to know if I could predict whom Evangelicals will get behind for president. I couldn’t. I explained there is a clear and pronounced shift in Evangelical attitudes this time around. Upwards of 76% voted for George Bush the first time and for Republicans in general. That will not repeat. For a variety of reasons there is something of a disillusionment with the Republicans among Christian conservatives. John McCain hasn’t connected well with Evangelicals either. I recently talked with one of his top-level advisors about this, noting Evangelicals are relationally driven people and the McCain campaign has done nothing to build that relationship.
On the other hand, a growing number of “emergent church” leaders are looking at Barack Obama and even Hillary Clinton. This is especially true of younger Evangelicals. While I don’t think this yet represents a critical number—not even a significant minority—it does indicate a big change in the future. For now, it will likely mean a smaller majority will vote Republican--and perhaps in far fewer numbers. We could see a significant percentage of Evangelicals sit out this election because they either don’t know what to do or they just don’t like their choices—or choice, however you see it.
Can you see why we’ve launched “How To Vote?” Please help us to help other Christians—of every tradition—see the importance of bringing their voice and influence into the critically consequential process of selecting our next president and other elected leaders.
Before I close: Hope to see you at this year’s U.S. Capitol Bible Reading Marathon, April 27 – May 1, here in Washington. Check our website for more information: www.faithandaction.org
And pray for me as I go off today to an all-day board meeting of the National Pro-Life Religious Council, punctuated by a lunch with Jay Sekulow and his legal team working on the big upcoming Supreme Court case out of Utah.
That’s all for now . . . (as if it’s not enough!) . . .
Rev. Rob Schenck
Faith and Action
109 2nd Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002