2016 has been an unprecedented year for Christians engaging in their government in Iowa.
It began with the presidential caucuses, where Washington Post numbers suggest a record 121,500 evangelicals participated in the Republican caucuses alone – an increase of 50,000 over 2012.
But the increased and determined influence of Christians hasn’t stopped with presidential politics.
At the Iowa Capitol, over 150 pastors have already participated in the Capitol Project, which brings clergy to meet and pray with their legislators and get briefed on the major policy decisions being debated in Des Moines.
One group of pastors even witnessed a subcommittee hearing on legalizing doctor-assisted suicide in Iowa and took the time to testify against the bill on the spot! Thanks in part to their active involvement, the bill did not move forward. Christians really can make a difference when they get involved.
“I learned a lot,” said Jack Owens, a pastor at Cornerstone Church in Ames who attended one of the Capitol Project days.
“I had never been to the state Capitol building,” he confessed. “I had never even met one of my elected officials outside of a campaign speech. This is really eye opening to me and to find out we have believers, men and women here daily, trying to hold up the Word of God and influence our legislature … I was amazed.”
Pastor Mark Scott of Live, Love, Laugh Church in Des Moines also called the day “eye opening.”
“When you come to this place, you see the significance of your service,” he said. “When you come, you see that your voice makes a huge difference. We all as pastors need that. We need to know how significant we are and no matter what size of congregation we have, we represent a much larger part of the world.”
Through the course of this year’s legislative session, several hundred more pastors are expected, and your elected officials are increasingly depending upon pastors for prayerful encouragement as they serve in the Iowa Legislature.
Other tangible fruit of Christians engaging in their government includes the following:
- A visit from Franklin Graham that drew in over 2,000 Iowans to the Capitol
- Prayer at the Capitol every day of session from 9-10 a.m.
- Year-round Tuesday noon prayer meeting
- Bible study every Thursday morning from 7:30-8:00 a.m. during session
- Holy Week church service scheduled for Monday, March 21
- The entire Bible read aloud in the Rotunda in January
- A state senator calling for a day of fasting and prayer prior to filing a difficult bill
It’s no wonder a legislator in Des Moines told us recently he feels the Capitol building is “ripe for revival.”
True revival, of course, is an act of God, humbling the hearts of the people and turning them back toward Himself. And revival is the same, whether in the home, the church, the society, or the government.
But just as revival in the family begins when God transforms one person and that person’s influence – like a flame – spreads to others, so too is our hope that God will stir a revival in His people that will spread to homes, churches and the halls of the Capitol.
Thank you, Christians of Iowa, for responding to call and being lit ablaze for the cause of Christ in your government!
Let us hope God will use such flames to ignite the very revival we pray for.
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens” – George Washington, in his 1796 Farewell Address