WATCH: Sen. Joni Ernst stands up for life

Iowa’s U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst spoke to the 2019 Family Leadership Summit on July 12 in West Des Moines, sharing her heart for unborn children.

One of the highlights: Sen. Ernst’s inspiring story of her own daughter, who stood for life among a generation that may be more pro-life than we realize:

Discover more of what happened at the 2019 Family Leadership Summit!




WATCH: Sen. Tom Cotton defends religious liberty

At the 2019 Family Leadership Summit on July 12 in West Des Moines, U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) reached back into American history, built upon his own military service, and spoke to today’s headlines to deliver a powerful and inspiring defense of what he called our “first freedom,” our religious liberty.

Issuing a call for all Christians to stand together in unity, Sen. Cotton’s speech was one of the highlights of the 2019 Family Leadership Summit:

Discover more of what happened at the 2019 Family Leadership Summit!




VIDEO: Teens recap amazing LEAD week!

Forty-six teenagers from Iowa and beyond attended The FAMiLY LEADER’s 2nd annual LEAD week, a program that disciples students through biblical worldview training and practical leadership experiences.

LEAD is a big part of extending to the next generation TFL’s mission of inspiring Christ-like leadership, as we seek a revived America that honors God and blesses people.

And in this second year of the LEAD program, the TFL staff added a “media” track, training students in news journalism with integrity and giving them the opportunity to try their hand at reporting the week’s top news. The media students researched, interviewed, and wrote stories for a daily newspaper as well as produced a pair of news broadcasts to cover the week’s events.

The video below is the second of those broadcasts, a light-hearted but earnest look at many of the week’s activities:

LEAD is not a typical summer camp. LEAD runs authentic leadership simulations where high school students have the opportunity to experience the roles of community leaders (like state legislators or news media) first-hand, making decisions that would affect millions of people in the state. Mix that in with engaging biblical worldview discussions, faith-building worship and chapel, a hearty dose of games and recreational activities (and awesome relationships built throughout the week), and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what LEAD looks like.

But the real heart of LEAD is equipping a new generation of leaders to be ambassadors for Christ in whatever field God calls them to. Whether the students become legislators, reporters, businesspeople, pastors, parents – wherever God takes them – the LEAD experience inspires the confidence and biblical thinking skills needed to be salt and light to our culture.

Next year’s keynote LEAD worldview speaker is Sean McDowell! Make sure you’re on TFL’s mailing list, so you can get YOUR teen signed up as soon as registration opens for 2020 LEAD!




Chuck Hurley talks ‘religious tolerance’ on KCRG-TV

The FAMiLY LEADER’s Chuck Hurley appeared on KCRG’s Ethical Principles on The News episode “What Does Religious Tolerance Mean Today?” with moderator Leon Tabak on July 23. Joining Hurley on the show, representing the Muslim community, was Imam Hassan M. Selim from the Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids and from the Jewish community, Rabbi Todd Thalblum of temple Judah also in Cedar Rapids.

During the episode, the representatives discussed topics like division in America and how we can tolerate or respect people with views and religious beliefs that differ from our own.

When discussing whether store owners have the right to refuse custom services that violate their conscience, like in the Masterpiece Cakeshop of Colorado incident where the owner refused to make a custom cake for a same-sex wedding ceremony, views around the table differed.

Rabbi Thalblum argued Masterpiece Cakeshop’s refusal amounted to illegal discrimination, claiming store owners are obligated to serve the public. Chuck Hurley countered that the State of Colorado’s punishment of the cakeshop infringed upon on the store owner’s right of conscience and religious liberty.

“My view is all Americans should be able to live and work according to the dictates of their conscience without fear of unjust government punishment,” Hurley said.

At the conclusion of the half-hour discussion, the differing views came together to agree on one thing: respect. Although they, and the rest of the nation, may disagree with one another, it’s important that we still respect each other.

“We’re supposed to love our neighbor even if we disagree with them,” said Hurley, vice president and chief counsel of The FAMiLY LEADER. “Is it difficult? Yes. Vital? Absolutely.”

“Its OK to have differences,” said Selim, “as long we know how to express them and listen to each other.”

Watch the full episode and hear what Hurley and the other guests said below:




WATCH: Sen. Ben Sasse talks ‘tribalism’ at Summit

One of the highlights of the 2019 Family Leadership Summit on July 12 in West Des Moines was an analysis of division in America, presented by U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE).

In a fast, but deep and content-packed address, Sasse discussed the cultural and historical factors that have led to a breakdown in community and a rise of “tribalism,” both in politics and in the American culture.

Put on your thinking cap, buckle your seatbelt, and see for yourself why so many of the 2019 Summit attendees were buzzing about Sasse’s speech:

Discover more of what happened at the 2019 Family Leadership Summit!




WATCH: Senators talk racial reconciliation at the Summit

One of the highlights of the 2019 Family Leadership Summit on July 12 in West Des Moines was an interview with U.S. Sens. James Lankford (R-OK) and Tim Scott (R-SC) on their grassroots work to encourage racial reconciliation in America.

The FAMiLY LEADER President and CEO Bob Vander Plaats spoke with the senators in a conversation that was more humorous, uplifting, and genuinely Scripture-packed than anyone at the 8th annual Summit was expecting.

See for yourself why the discussion about #SolutionSundays is quickly becoming one of the most talked about moments from the 2019 Summit:

Discover more of what happened at the 2019 Family Leadership Summit!




Bob Vander Plaats talks ‘racist’ Trump tweet on CNN

Once again, CNN couldn’t understand why a person wouldn’t be either sold out for President Trump or dead set against him.

And once again, Bob presented The FAMiLY LEADER’s consistent message of “thinking bigger” than politics – being willing to commend our leaders when they do well and holding them to account when they don’t.

In the latest controversy over Trump’s allegedly “racist” tweets, Bob argues, “I don’t think anybody wins when we go to the lowest common denominator.”

Was Trump’s tweet storm telling four Democrat congresswomen to “go back” to their home countries racially insensitive? Yes. Poorly worded? You betcha. Language, frankly, beneath the office of the president.

But, Bob says, it doesn’t help the divisiveness in America or real racial reconciliation to point fingers and use “racist” in name-calling:




WATCH: Mike Lindell speaks at 2019 Summit

Mike Lindell, CEO and inventor of MyPillow, tells the 2019 Family Leadership Summit in West Des Moines, Iowa, about his redemption story – from cocaine and crack addition, through invention of his revolutionary pillow, to becoming an executive producer of the pro-life film “Unplanned”:

Discover more of what happened at the 2019 Family Leadership Summit!




Pastor Equipping Webinar: Combating porn in the church

How can pastors and church leaders help the people in their congregation struggling with pornography?

According to a recent study, 87% of people say that no one is helping them in their fight against porn, and 54% of those couldn’t even think of anyone who could help.

Pastor Luke Hukee of Walnut Creek Church in Des Moines shares key insights, strategies, and help for churches who want to help people find freedom from addiction to pornography:

Research Resources:

Josh McDowell: The Porn Epidemic Portfolio
The Porn Phenomenon by the Barna Group
Fight the New Drug.org

Ministry Resources:

“Clean” by Doug Weiss
“The Game Plan” by Joe Dallas
Conquer Series
“Redeemed Sexuality” by Andrew Boa
“Sexual Sanity for Women: Healing from Sexual and Relational Brokenness” by Ellen Dykas
“Making All Things New: Restoring Joy to the Sexually Broken” by David Powlison

Accountability Resources:

Covenant Eyes
Accountable2You




TFL’s Capitol Connection: Celebrating a victory over 50 years in the making!

On Wednesday, May 8, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a law that reforms how Iowa nominates judges to the State Supreme Court.

For the first time in more than 50 years, Iowa’s nominating commission will no longer be dominated by a select group of left-leaning attorneys, who have been packing the top court with justices who back their agenda.

As the governor said, “For the first time, the majority of the nominating commission will represent the people of Iowa and not just the Bar and the Bench!”

TFL’s Bob Vander Plaats and Chuck Hurley break down why this is such a momentous occasion and why the governor should be honored for leading the charge to give the people of Iowa a better, fairer, and more representative form of government:

The FAMiLY LEADER is YOUR voice for Christian values at the Iowa Capitol. But our work is only supported by donations from people just like YOU. Celebrate this victory with us by supporting the ongoing work of TFL today!




TFL’s Capitol Connection: Session is over! What happened?

The FAMiLY LEADER’s Drew Zahn sits down with TFL Capitol Team members Danny Carroll and Daniel Sunne to give a run-down of several of the key bills that have either passed or fallen by the wayside this Iowa legislative session – including three major developments that passed in a flurry in session’s last two days!

TFL’s Capitol Team is YOUR voice for biblical values in the Iowa Legislature. Support their continued work today!




TFL’s Capitol Connection: Holy Week to end of session

TFL’s Drew Zahn, Chuck Hurley, and Danny Carroll report from the Iowa Capitol on the big bills to watch before the end of session and on Monday’s Holy Week Service at the Capitol, which filled the Capitol Rotunda with songs of praise and proclamation of the gospel!

Watch video of the 2019 Holy Week Service at the Iowa Capitol by clicking here.