Your Missionary to Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, Rob Schenck, reporting:
One of the great joys I have in this post is traveling to churches around the country, sharing what God is doing behind the scenes here in our nation’s capital. Sometimes I’m the guest preacher, sometimes a speaker for a missions convention or other special event, and sometimes I simply sit down with the pastor or missions committee members to explain the mission of Faith and Action and how it compliments the ministry of the local church.
Local churches—congregations—or parishes—whatever you want to call them—are vital to Faith and Action’s success. First, it helps us to get exposure. Much of what we do here in Washington is much too sensitive to broadcast widely. We need to “contain” the information that could compromise our access to important people and places.
One way to limit exposure is by restricting my report to a local congregation, again by way of preaching or speaking to a church group. (Maybe you’ve been present in a service when I’ve awkwardly asked the sound tech to stop recording, just to be sure delicate information doesn’t travel too far!)
Prayer support is another reason I spend so much time with local churches. Prayer is our lifeline. We depend completely on the prayers of God’s people. I know it’s been the intercession of the saints that has resulted in so many open doors on Capitol Hill, so many open hearts and minds among our elected and appointed officials, and so many extraordinary opportunities to adavcne the Gospel of Christ in the halls of government. (Prayer has also literally saved our lives—I’ll blog about that some day.)
Volunteers and donors are another reason. We need help here—from stuffing envelopes to doing missionary work among federal judges! Right now, we especially need basic help—a plumber, carpenter, electrician, painter, plasterer and a water sealant expert! Our buildings are over 100 years old and they’re showing their age! (If you’re licensed in these trades and could give a week of your time in exchange for a bed and dinner each day, give Peggy Birchfield of my office a call at 202-546-8329, extension 103!)
The local church is where we also meet virtually all of our high-end donors. Our ministry is built on a three-legged stool: Individual support (average annual gift to Faith and Action is $27 per year!), churches (most send monthly support, although more and more are sending it quarterly or annually) and major donors ($1000 or more per year).
My ministry visit to a church is generally the start of all three of these vitally important lifelines:
--I go to the church to preach or speak and an initial offering is received for Faith and Action. Then (as I always pray will happen) people will be burdened to support us and will take our literature to find out how. Almost without exception, a few people, often just one or two couples, will tell me they want to be part of our work in a special way, including an unusually high level of financial support. I generally spend personal time with these folks praying with them, answering their questions and explaining in great detail how and why we do what we do on Capitol Hill.
As you can see, the local church is fertile ground for us. And all this isn’t even to mention how refreshing it is for me to get “outside the Beltway” to get my mind and soul recalibrated!
You can help Faith and Action by introducing us to your pastor and church. If I’ve already been to your church, maybe it’s time for a return visit. If I haven’t been to your church, perhaps you’d take on a project to get me invited! I love to preach. In the course of a year I’ll be in just about every Christian church imaginable. Several pastors from leading churches of every denomination have put very generous words in writing about my ministry. (Often pastors want to know what their colleagues are saying about me before they take the risk of inviting me to their pulpit!)
Here’s are a few helpful hints in talking to your pastor about Faith and Action and me:
1) Faith and Action is an independent Christian missionary outreach. We are NOT a lobbying group and we are NOT partisans. (We do not favor a political party.) We are NOT litigators—that is, we don’t sue people in court.
2) We ARE evangelists, proclaiming and demonstrating God’s Truth to our nation’s top government officials.
3) Our core values are the Sanctity of Life, the Sanctity of Marriage and the Public Acknowledgement of God.
4) We are independently audited each year and an elected board of trustees governs us.
5) Our volunteers and supporters come from virtually every Christian tradition.
6) We have been a legal entity for 25 years and have spent the last 15 of those years on Capitol Hill.
7) Our ministry center is located right across the street from the Supreme Court, one block from the US Capitol and ten minutes from the White House! We’re right in the center of the action!
Everything your pastor needs to know about Faith and Action or about inviting me to the church can be found at our website (www.faithandaction.org). One thing to keep in mind: Most pastors don’t want to be pressured into having a guest they don’t know. (This is understandable, as one of the pastor’s primary responsibilities is to protect the “sheep.”) Instead of insisting the church should invite me, try to show how such a visit will compliment the pastor’s own ministry and satisfy the needs of the people of the church. I’ve met thousands of pastors and the majority of them care deeply about taking care of their flock. Yet, if enough people in the congregation want the kind of message and information I bring (which is also hopeful and uplifting), and you can demonstrate how Faith and Action can meet that desire, I’ll probably get the invitation from your pastor to come!
Arranging a visit for me to your church is really helpful to Faith and Action. Please prayerfully, sensitively and urgently work on this with your pastor and home church!
If you have any questions about this, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rev. Rob Schenck
Faith and Action
109 2nd Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002