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!

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.

Relive the 2019 Holy Week Service at Iowa Capitol

The 2019 Holy Week Service at the Iowa Capitol was held Monday, April 15. The annual service allows the community to bless elected officials and Capitol staff by providing a time of worship and reflection on God’s Word at the beginning of the week that leads up to Resurrection Sunday.

The theme of this year’s service was “Second Chances,” which mirrors the theme for this legislative session established by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. Cal Swan, the superintendent of the Central District of the Evangelical Free Church, delivered a message that focused on the “second chance” of redemption offered by Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection.

Following the service, attendees were invited to join the governor in her office, as she signed a “Second Chances” Proclamation, which has similarly been signed by governors in more than a dozen states.

While no video can capture the powerful experience of praise and song echoing through the Iowa Capitol Rotunda, you may watch a video of the service below.

Below the following video are time codes, which you can click upon to skip to designated parts of the service itself:

0:00 – Opening worship
10:37 – Greg Baker ~ Welcome
15:50 – Isaiah 53:1-6 ~ Read by Joshua Christian Academy students
17:41 – Cal Swan ~ Message
44:25 – Closing Worship
49:40 – Greg Baker ~ Closing remarks

TFL’s Capitol Connection: Bills that survived, died in ‘2nd funnel’

TFL’s Drew Zahn sits down with Capitol Team members Chuck Hurley and Danny Carroll to talk about three priority bills that are still eligible for debate this session after the “2nd Funnel” deadline and three bills that will have to wait until 2020:

Below is breakdown of the bills TFL has been tracking and their current status in the Iowa legislature:

Bills TFL supports and are still alive:

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Bills TFL supported, but are dead:

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Bills TFL Oppose/Undecided, and are still alive:

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National report: TFL changing the ‘spiritual temperature’

On a wintry, snow-covered Wednesday in February, a film crew from Christian Broadcasting Network, or CBN, flew from Washington, D.C., to Des Moines to cover a story in the Heartland that has national implications.

The work of The FAMiLY LEADER’s Church Ambassador Network had piqued CBN’s interest. And when the network heard Iowa’s successful model of building intentional relationships between pastors and legislators was now spreading to other states … CBN booked a flight to Des Moines to learn just how TFL is changing the way the Church interacts with government in America:

Watch CBN’s coverage of TFL’s Church Ambassador Network below:

Through ministries like the Church Ambassador Network and the If 7:14 prayer initiative, The FAMiLY LEADER is pioneering a strategy of inspiring the Church to engage government for the advance of God’s (not man’s) kingdom. Rather than a politics-first approach, TFL’s model focuses first on cultural transformation, anchoring our ministry in prayer and leading with the gospel.

TFL recognizes that a Church that is biblically and authentically engaged with government will not only transform individual lives and relationships, but also impact elections, influence policy, and lead the way toward a revived America that honors God and blesses people.

And now, though “The Daniel Initiative,” TFL is exporting this model of authentic Church engagement to other states. By partnering with sister state organizations of The Family Policy Alliance, TFL’s “The Daniel Initiative” aims to build a fortress of states that can transform a nation!

TFL is grateful to CBN for covering the powerful impact of our ministry and grateful to you, our supporters, for enabling us to embark on the bold, nation-transforming vision of The Daniel Initiative!

Do YOU want to see a Church revived and impacting government in a biblical way? Your support of The FAMiLY LEADER will help spread The Daniel Initiative across America!