Bob talks midterm elections with MSNBC

The FAMiLY LEADER President and CEO Bob Vander Plaats appeared on MSNBC with host Craig Melvin on Wednesday, Oct. 10, to talk about President Donald Trump’s rally appearance in Council Bluffs, Iowa, the evening before:

The FAMiLY LEADER works to inspire the Church to engage with government for the advance of God’s Kingdom (and not any person or political party). To that end, TFL has created Honoring God 2018, a non-partisan initiative that equips pastors and church leaders to encourage their congregations to engage in the 2018 Election. As Americans, we have been given the gift of self-government, of choosing our leaders, and like any gift, we have a responsibility to use it for the glory of God.

Learn more about Honoring God 2018 by clicking here now!




WATCH: How should Christians engage with politics?

Election Day 2018 is right around the corner. But what does that mean for Christians, specifically? What are our responsibilities and biblical guidelines for engaging with politics?

Pastor Jack Graham, the former two-term president of the Southern Baptist Convention, addressed the 2018 Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines on these pressing questions.

Watch below:

The FAMiLY LEADER works to inspire the Church to engage with government for the advance of God’s Kingdom (and not any person or political party). To that end, TFL has created Honoring God 2018, a non-partisan initiative that equips pastors and church leaders to encourage their congregations to engage in the 2018 Election. As Americans, we have been given the gift of self-government, of choosing our leaders, and like any gift, we have a responsibility to use it for the glory of God.

Learn more about Honoring God 2018 by clicking here now!




Pastor Equipping Webinar: Election 2018

The FAMiLY LEADER Vice President of Church Engagement Greg Baker introduces a new initiative of TFL’s Church Ambassador Network: webinars for pastors!

In this introductory webinar, Greg specifically discusses nonpartisan materials pastors can use with their churches leading up to the Election Day on Nov. 6:

Learn more about Honoring God 2018 by clicking here now!




Honoring God

When do you vote? Why should you vote? How do you find your polling place? We’ve got you covered.

Vote on November 6th
Polls are open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

How do I vote?
To vote in Iowa you need to be registered to vote. You can register online or at your voting location. To learn more about how to vote, including information on voter registration, visit the Iowa Secretary of State website: sos.iowa.gov or call 1-888-SOS-VOTE (1-888-767-8683).

Where do I vote?
Find your polling place online at https://sos.iowa.gov/elections/voterreg/pollingplace/search.aspx

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Why should I vote?

5 reasons why Christians should care about government and voting:

1. GOVERNMENT WAS INSTITUTED BY GOD
Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 show us that government was instituted by God, created with a purpose and responsibility: to punish evil and reward those who do good. Government is God’s social institution of justice, a value so important to God, His Son was killed on the Cross to satisfy its requirements.

2. GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS ARE MINISTERS OF GOD
Romans 13 calls government officials “ministers” of God, meaning they are, in effect, servants of the Lord. Just as pastors are ministers of the Church, elected officials are ministers of God in government, and they have a job to do for Him. This should change the way we view our elected officials. This is why the Bible calls us to pray, submit, and honor those in authority (1 Timothy 2, Romans 13, 1 Peter 2).

3. GOVERNMENT CANNOT PROPERLY DO ITS JOB WITHOUT THE CHURCH
How do governments of the world determine good and evil? Left on their own, governments often get it wrong. Government needs the Church to provide a standard and to give sound counsel on what the Lord has called good and evil.

4. LAW MATTERS
The law has never been able to save, but it is a moral teacher and shaper of culture. For righteous leaders pass laws that guide society toward what is right and protect people by making it more difficult to sin and easier to pursue righteousness.

5. YOU GET TO CHOOSE
As Americans, we get to choose our ministers of government. As Christians we know what God expects of government. He also expects us to be good stewards of this opportunity and select righteous, qualified individuals to serve as ministers in government. Our right to vote is a gift God has given us to use to honor Him (Matthew 25:14-30).

Urge other believers to consider their vote a gift from God to be used for His glory!
Click here to use a quick, easy tool to spread the message!

“Renewing our mind” on what the Bible says about government (3-minute video):

The Bible speaks of kings. Who is our “king” in America? (8-minute video)

Pastors, please consider doing the following for your congregation:

1. Use our bulletin insert as a tool to help educate your people on not only how and when to vote, but also on what the Bible says about government (If you have any difficulties downloading the insert, please contact The FAMiLY LEADER offices at 515-263-3495).

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2. Show the one-minute “Honoring God 2018” video at your church. The video is completely IRS and 501(c)3 compliant. You can also download the video here.

3. Make an announcement to your congregation the weekend before the election. Consider using this slide when you make your announcement.

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4. Send out a reminder via social media, phone apps, and/or emails. You might consider the following language:

    • Remember to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 6! Also remember, as Christians, we have been given the gift of selecting our leaders and the responsibility to steward that gift for the glory of God. #HonoringGod2018

5. Join us in prayer for this critical time in our nation. Download and use our guide to 30 days of prayer leading up to the election:

HG18 Pray Guide-icon

Urge other believers to consider their vote a gift from God to be used for His glory!
Click here to use a quick, easy tool to spread the message!

The goal of Honoring God 2018, a ministry of The Family Leader Foundation, is not to pick sides in the partisan battle. Rather it is to help educate and equip the Church biblically on how to engage government God’s way, without compromising the gospel.




Bob on CNN: Take politics out of it, let’s get to the truth

On Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, Bob Vander Plaats was in New York City on the set of CNN’s prime time show Out Front to talk about the Senate’s investigation into allegations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. But while the show’s other guest immediately pressed to score political points, Bob challenged CNN and all America to a higher standard – to seek the truth instead of partisan advantage:

In today’s hyperpartisan culture, The FAMiLY LEADER stands uniquely as a voice of faithfulness to a higher Kingdom. Please join us in advocating civil dialogue and a biblical worldview by giving to the ministry of The FAMiLY LEADER today.




Relive the 2018 Family Leadership Summit!

More than mere highlights, get a genuine taste of what it was like to attend the 2018 Family Leadership Summit by watching the video below.

The following video contains excerpts from several speakers, giving you some of the Summit’s best content:

The 2018 Summit was held Friday, Sept. 14, in the grand ball room of the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center (a.k.a. “Vets Auditorium”) in downtown Des Moines. The Summit included a stirring call to biblically transform the culture from Pastor and former Southern Baptist Convention President Jack Graham, an update on the status of religious liberty in the U.S. from Alliance Defending Freedom President Michael Farris, a reminder of America’s unique role in defending Israel from Christians United for Israel’s Lyndon Allen, and several other inspiring speakers.

The breakout sessions included discussions on life legislation in Iowa, a biblical perspective of poverty, learning to overcome the barriers in talking to today’s youth, and more.

Great speakers and great content, however, are only one part of what makes The Family Leadership Summit so unique. At the heart of it all is the experience – the prayer that goes into it, the people you meet, the encouraging conversations, and the atmosphere of being with others who want to see the Church awakened and reenergized in our nation, not for the sake of partisanship or politics, but for authentic, biblical impact on the nation our children and grandchildren inherit.

The Summit is principle over politics. It’s seeking a revived America that honors God and blesses people. And it’s an event you don’t want to miss!

Click here now to read the Summit recap and watch exclusive, behind-the-scenes interviews with some of the Summit’s speakers.

Continue watching The FAMiLY LEADER’s social media, website, and emails for more video and inspiring content from the 2018 Summit!




Behind the scenes at #FLS18: Marjorie Dannenfelser




Behind the scenes at #FLS18: Lyndon Allen




The best Family Leadership Summit yet?

A full ball room, standing ovations, major announcements, powerful breakout sessions – is it any wonder some have said the 2018 Family Leadership Summit may have been the best Summit yet?

“This was the most focused and powerful and important Summit,” affirmed one attendee. “Thank you!”

The Family Leadership Summit is a day for encouraging and equipping the Body of Christ for cultural transformation. And every year, Summit attendees tell us, “Being there is a powerful reminder and reassurance that I’m not alone. It’s so encouraging to join so many people, right here in the Midwest, who have a heart for God and a heart for revival in America.”

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The 2018 Summit was held Friday, Sept. 14, in the grand ballroom of the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center (a.k.a. “Vets Auditorium”) in downtown Des Moines. The Summit included a stirring call to biblically transform the culture from Pastor and former Southern Baptist Convention President Jack Graham, an update on the status of religious liberty in the U.S. from Alliance Defending Freedom President Michael Farris, a reminder of America’s unique role in defending Israel by Christians United for Israel’s Lyndon Allen, and several other inspiring speakers.

Watch an exclusive, behind-the-scenes interview with Lyndon Allen on why Christians need to support Israel and what’s coming next in Israel’s fight for continued existence:

The breakout sessions included discussions on life legislation in Iowa, a biblical perspective on poverty, learning to overcome the barriers in talking to today’s youth, and more.

But the 2018 Summit also included some “firsts” for the annual FAMiLY LEADER event. In honor of the “Heartbeat Bill” passing into law, a measure that could save over 3,000 babies from abortion in Iowa each year, the Summit recognized on stage leaders from the Iowa Legislature and the Coalition of Pro-Life Leaders who worked to see “Heartbeat” pass. TFL family advocates Chuck Hurley and Danny Carroll held their own grandchildren on stage to illustrate why we work to save lives. And Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, a national leader in electing pro-life officials, announced that SBA List and The FAMiLY LEADER would partner in a six-digit campaign of targeted intervention to support Iowa’s pro-life governor, Kim Reynolds.

Watch an exclusive, behind-the-scenes interview with Marjorie Dannenfelser on the impact Iowa’s “Heartbeat” law has had on the national pro-life scene:

The 2018 Family Leadership Summit also brought another first: the announcement of a growing partnership of states that are working to incorporate TFL’s model of engaging with government. Dubbed “The Daniel Initiative,” TFL is partnering with several states to develop a grassroots, gospel-centered, prayer-anchored approach to inspiring the Church toward cultural transformation.

TFL’s model of inspiring the Church to engage in cultural transformation first, and only then on impacting elections and influencing policy (rather than a policy-first approach), has yielded results in Iowa that the rest of the nation has stood up and recognized. Now, through The Daniel Initiative, TFL is working to strengthen and partner with other state organizations to build a state-by-state movement of the Church engaging biblically and authentically with government in a way that advances not political kingdoms, but the Kingdom of God.

At the 2018 Summit, leaders of partner state organizations in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota joined TFL’s Bob Vander Plaats on stage, each affirming “The Daniel Initiative” is nothing short of an answer to prayer. A right strategy coming at just the right time, the state leaders said, The Daniel Initiative could give the voice of the Church a long-missing megaphone in the struggle for the soul of America.

180918 Daniel panel

Great speakers and great content, however, are only one part of what makes The Family Leadership Summit so unique. At the heart of it all is the experience – the prayer that goes into it, the people you meet, the encouraging conversations, and the atmosphere of being with others who want to see the Church awakened and re-energized in our nation, not for the sake of partisanship or politics, but for authentic, biblical impact on the nation our children and grandchildren inherit.

The Summit is principle over politics. It’s seeking a revived America that honors God and blesses people. And it’s an event you don’t want to miss!

Continue watching The FAMiLY LEADER’s social media, website, and emails for more video and inspiring content from the 2018 Summit!

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180918 crowd




Iowa churches light the way after devastating storm

by Daniel Sunne

On Thursday, July 19, a tornado ripped through Marshalltown with wind speeds reaching 144 miles per hour. Over 700 homes were damaged, and around 90 of them were destroyed. The Courthouse clock tower was toppled, and the main hospital, City Hall, police station, and veterans’ home all received extensive damage.

Pastor Dave Martin was in his church, Faith Assembly of God, with around 15 others preparing for a block party when the tornado hit.

“The tornado just missed us by a half a block,” Martin told The FAMiLY LEADER. “We were just a block and a half from the real bad stuff.”

It was immediately apparent the town had been devastated. Seven or eight families from Faith were affected by the tornado.

Marshalltown tower

The next morning after the storm, churches considered the damage and went to work. Pastor Kerry Jech with New Hope Christian Church described meeting with church staff Friday morning: “They were all out there cleaning, all of our staff just pitched in. We divided up into teams and just went out.”

Before there was even time for a coordinated plan, churches and volunteers were cleaning up debris and carrying hope into Marshalltown. New Hope Christian Church had 25-75 volunteers a day for 10 days divided into groups cleaning up the city.

Disaster relief organizations responded quickly, including Christian organizations like Samaritan’s Purse, the Salvation Army, and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. Many operated out of churches and with church help. Faith Assembly of God hosted Convoy of Hope, which brought in two semi loads of emergency relief supplies, including water and food as well as often forgotten necessities like diapers and cleaning supplies. And churches came or sent volunteers too, from Waterloo, Reinbeck, Des Moines, and even Nebraska and Missouri.

As organizations conquered clean up, churches tackled other community needs, such as meals for those affected by the storm. Faith Assembly of God served over 8,000 meals in 10 days, and First Presbyterian Church served hundreds of meals every evening for three weeks. Pastor Martin’s church gave away quarters at the laundromat, so those without power or in shelters could take comfort in clean clothes. His church paid for $1,000 of laundry.

Iowa State Rep. Mark Smith from Marshalltown wrote in a statement, “The light of the faith community was certainly shining brightly after this disaster. Churches offered refuge, provided meals, ensured the people in the community were safe, and turned out in mass to help with the clean-up. The efforts are continuing: Trinity Lutheran has provided space for the Mid-Iowa Community Action Agency (MICA) to distribute emergency funds, First Presbyterian offered meals, and Central Christian Church is becoming a Week of Compassion Church that will bring in teams to repair during the coming months. Second Baptist continued to hold services in their badly damaged church so that members continued to have the security of their worship center. The Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Disaster Relief efforts arrived in town very quickly and helped so many. The Salvation Army responded as they do so often and provided services even though they, too, were victims of the storm. These are just a few of the efforts that have occurred in our community. I am so very thankful for all the efforts of our faith community!”

Rebuilding Marshalltown remains an immense task, but in clean-up and in the disaster itself, God’s hand was visible.

“The entire thing, God was in the process,” said Pastor Jech. “To have the kind of weather that we did [during clean-up after the tornado], to have the people cooperating … it goes back to what Joseph said to his brothers: ‘That which you intended for evil, God used for good.'”

PLUS: Watch the story of the man who received salvation in Christ through the storm in Marshalltown!




Follow the Family Leadership Summit online!

The 2018 Family Leadership Summit has concluded!

Even if you had to miss the Summit this year, you can still follow along through social media with the hashtag #FLS18 or by tuning in to The FAMiLY LEADER’s social media sites.

Check out the most up-to-date moments from the Summit on Twitter:

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Discuss key speeches and moments from the Summit on Facebook:

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Enjoy photos and fun moments from the Summit on Instagram:

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And make sure you follow The FAMiLY LEADER on each of these social media platforms!

The annual Family Leadership Summit brings to the Midwest prominent, national leaders from a variety of fields, including government. The Summit encourages and challenges Christians to engage in Christ-centered cultural transformation that “thinks bigger” than politics and elections to impact not just government, but also churches, families, and individual lives.

This year’s speakers included Michael Farris, Dr. Jack Graham, Marjorie Dannenfelser, Gary Bauer, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Bob Vander Plaats, and more.

In the coming days, additional news and video from the Summit will be posted on The FAMiLY LEADER website and promoted through social media and email. Make sure you sign up to receive email from The FAMiLY LEADER so you don’t miss out!




Grassley to be honored at Family Leadership Summit

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley will not only be one of the speakers, but he will also be honored with The FAMiLY LEADER President’s Wilberforce Award at the 2018 Family Leadership Summit on Friday, Sept. 14, in Des Moines.

Get your tickets to the 2018 Family Leadership Summit by clicking here.

The President’s Wilberforce Award is named after William Wilberforce, the 18th century Englishman who worked for decades as a Member of Parliament to abolish the British slave trade. The award recognizes individuals who have shown similar dedication and long service to the family.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley is a lifelong family farmer and has served as Iowa’s elected U.S. senator since 1970. At the U.S. Senate, Grassley serves on several key committees, including Finance, Budget, Agriculture, Joint Tax, and more. And as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Grassley serves a prominent role in the confirmation of judges to U.S. courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

Get your tickets to the 2018 Family Leadership Summit now!