Going ‘All In’ – My Election Response
Well, it’s over. We have a President (probably), a Senate (mostly), and a House (well, not yet). We are now watching for how people will respond. Protests? Celebrations? Violence? Discouragement? Hope?
In my blog today, I want to ask how we, as followers of Jesus, will respond? Let’s be clear, there are forces in our culture that will be emboldened in their efforts to silence the voice of Christian witness in our national dialogue and eliminate its influence in our legislatures, courts, businesses, media and educational systems. They were there before the election and, regardless of the final outcome, they will seek to build on their momentum and double down on their efforts to keep us from living out our faith outside the confines of our homes and churches, and maybe not even in the latter.
At this historic moment, I believe we need to look for places where God can use us to make the greatest possible contribution to the advancement of His kingdom in the midst of the maelstrom. We must steward this moment like never before.
That stewarding response will be unique to each of us, but it is also the responsibility of all of us. It’s up to us to seek God’s leading for where we stand, how we engage, with whom we partner, and the ways we will steward our time, talents and resources for the challenges of these days.
Whatever that calling is for us, we need to pursue it 100%, all in and sold out. I pray you will find your calling, your place, your work and your people.
Let me share where my heart is leading me.
I’m putting all my effort, passion and resources to work to advance God’s kingdom through Christ-centered nonprofit organizations and ministries. Why nonprofits? Here’s five reasons why.
First, the work of Christian nonprofits touch every corner of our country. There are over 100,000 Christian non-profit organizations and schools in the US. They are found in red states and blue states, dense urban areas and rural communities. They are run by people of every color, race and gender. They have budgets of a few thousand to hundreds of millions. They are embedded in our social structures and play an integral role in the fabric of our society. The American nonprofit sector employs approximately 11.9 million people (one out of every 10 working Americans), making it the third largest employment industry in the country, behind only retail and manufacturing! They have been around since the founding of our country informally and have been recognized by the US government since 1867. It is estimated that the life of every person in the US is touched by a non-profit in some way every day. This is a witness for Christ that cannot be ignored, discarded or silenced. The work of Christian nonprofits provides such wide-ranging services that our society simply could not function without them. In the increasing hostility toward Christians, this work must be championed by all of us.
Second, Christian nonprofits witness to the ethics of the kingdom of God. Jesus said He would recognize His own because, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Matthew 25:35-36). Everyday, millions of people in America find food, clothing, shelter, companionship, acceptance, love, compassion and hope through Christian ministries. As they do, the kingdom of God is advanced, and the love of Christ shines out in the darkness. Here’s a challenge for you. Find a directory of nonprofits in your area. Become familiar with how many are meeting basic human needs, caring for the poor and marginalized and being the hands and feet of Christ right in your community. I believe you will be surprised and shocked, even at how many there are and what impact they are having. To support their work is to be aligned with those whom Jesus was lauding as having done these things to Him. What better way for the world to see Jesus!
Third, Christian ministries witness to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Right now, as you read these words, powerful, even miraculous, things are happening in the lives of our fellow citizens by the power of the Holy Spirit experienced through the ministry of Christian nonprofits. In the last few moments addicts found freedom, unborn children were saved along with their parents, homeless people found jobs and started the journey of restoration and hope, trafficked children were rescued, suicidal teens found compassion and the road to recovery, abused women found shelter and comfort, orphans found loving parents, prisoners experienced spiritual freedom, and the list goes on. These are not short-term, stop-gap band aids, but the kind of transformation that only comes through the combination of human compassion and Holy Spirit power. Supporting these ministries means lending your hands and hearts to this powerful work of the Holy Spirit happening all around us.
Fourth, Christian ministries equip and empower the body of Christ for the work ahead. I often hear the cry, ‘where is our next generation of faithful, godly leaders?’ I’ll tell you where. They are in the classrooms of our Christian colleges and universities. They are studying in our seminaries and Bible colleges. They are attending our Christian K-12 schools and toddling into our day care centers, pre-schools and early education programs. Supporting our schools is our investment in the future of the global movement of the body of Christ. Of course, emerging leaders are in other places as well, but these are the uniquely focused institutions where we must look for the next wave of equipped and prepared leaders whom God will use powerfully to stand firm and lead in a morally decaying culture. There is a saying that goes, “a society is strongest when its old men plant trees in whose shade they will never sit.” We must be dedicated to planting trees for future generations through our support of Christian education at every level.
Fifth, Christian ministries inspire our call to be stewards of time, talents and treasure. Every one of us have passions that stir our hearts, causes that inspire us to action, and needs that compel us to respond. How will we carry out our calling to be faithful stewards of our time, our skills and our money without effective ministries in which to invest all three? Our time is God’s. Our talents are His. Our money belongs to Him. As He calls us to be stewards of each, we need ministries that draw us in and challenge us to greater levels of investment. This is the moment for every person in the body of Christ to rise to this challenge and invest as never before. Our work of strengthening Christian ministries is our part in this greater work. Now is our time!
These are five reasons to go all-in in supporting the work of our nation’s Christian nonprofits. Let me end with three ways to do that.
First, encourage and support Christian leaders. Pray for the Christian leaders in the ministries you support. Visit them, lay hands on them and pray for them, send them notes of encouragement, do whatever you can. Through our work at The Steward’s Journey, we are equipping Christian leaders to embrace the call to be Steward Leaders. It is our way of stepping up and empowering leaders for such challenging times as these.
Second, join a board or improve the one you’re on. The Christian nonprofit world is in desperate need of passionate Jesus-followers to serve on their boards. If you don’t serve on a board, consider joining one. If you serve on a board, consider how you can help strengthen it for the work ahead. I am proud and honored to be part of three board training programs through the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust, the Association of Biblical Higher Education and the Gianforte Family Foundation. Join me in strengthening the boards that serve the ministries you support.
Finally, give lavishly and inspire others to join you. My friends, this is our moment! Imagine the body of Christ responding in the months ahead with an unprecedented level of giving of time and money to Christian ministries across our country. Image billions of new dollars flowing to support the work I’ve outlined above. We each have a role to play to make this vision a reality. I am pleased to be part of The Focus Group, a team of dedicated and talented men and women who are passionate about helping nonprofits raise kingdom resources from kingdom-minded people for kingdom work.
Imagine strong leaders and effective boards investing this overflow of resources into expanding and enhancing their programs, with results so powerful that we live out the call Jesus gave to us, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
How will you respond to the growing animosity toward Christ and His church in our culture? I invite you to join me in supporting the work of the ministries to whom God has called you as faithful, joyous, abundant stewards. Through our collective steward faithfulness may God’s name be praised, and His glory seen by everyone.