On Sept. 15, candidates for the Iowa House, Iowa Senate, sheriff, and county supervisor gathered at New Life Church in Charles City, Iowa. Both political parties were represented, but this was not your usual candidate forum. It was a far cry from what we’ve seen in the 2016 presidential debates.
In fact, the Charles City Press said, “The cyclone of anger and division marring national elections seemed far away.”
In a time where the partisan divide could not possibly get any wider, how was such an event possible? It was done in the Spirit of the Lord with a respect for His institution of government. Three churches came together to lay aside their differences and focus on what they had in common. These brothers and sisters wanted to serve their community, honor their governing officials, and communicate the love of Jesus. They accomplished all of these by hosting a candidate forum.
The forum was hosted by New Life Church, Charles City Evangelical Free Church, and Faith Bible Chapel; and Pastor Michael Downey of Charles City E.Free served as moderator. Pastor Downey stated the Iowa Capitol Project, a daily gathering of pastors at the Iowa Capitol hosted by The Family Leader, played a role in bringing these churches together. Their day at the Iowa Capitol inspired these pastors to work together, and to do so in the civic arena. These churches also wanted to honor their commitment they made to Franklin Graham during his visit to Des Moines and ensure that they were doing their part in God’s institution of government.
Pastor Downey commented that the churches knew this forum had to be different. It had to be civil. It was going to be hosted in God’s church, and it would be a reflection of Him. Therefore, the forum was covered in prayer and humility, and the format ensured that all of the candidates received honor, as commanded in the Scriptures in 1 Peter 2. The forum aimed to honor God and bless people.
Pastor Downey also reported the candidates were very willing to attend, in large part because they knew the pastors, who had been building relationships with members of their community over the years and treated everyone with honor and respect. These churches and their pastors were not strangers to these candidates; they were trusted friends over years of developing real relationships.
Together these churches kept their commitments to God and each other to be servants of their community and to elect godly leaders who are best qualified to serve their community. By doing these two things together, God was glorified.
We can learn an important lesson through the churches in Charles City. No matter what we do, even in a political forum, we can bring God glory by doing things His way. So as you watch the partisan divide continue to heat up this election season, remember the good people of Charles City. Remember how they came together to make a difference in a world looking for answers this election season. They made a difference by loving people and showing honor to those in authority.
To learn more about this candidate forum check out the story from the Charles City Press by clicking here.