How Christians can engage in the mission field of politics

(Photo: Unsplash/YoungShih)

What's the answer to a lack of integrity in politics? Integrity. But Christians don't have a monopoly on integrity. In fact, our past and recent history of leadership doesn't always scream a strong recommendation.

For many years now, Christians in Politics has been calling people to deeper political engagement. Just a brief look at the news illustrates that the need has never been greater. But we have also been cautioning against Christians getting involved as lone rangers. Without the accountability and support of a clan, a believer might end up as just another headline to throw on the pile of scandal and nonsense. Sadly we've seen this happen too many times.

That's why we've designed the Influence Course. It allows groups of believers to take the first baby steps of involvement together. The groups who did the pilot versions of the course have already spawned some campaigning groups, some local councillors, and have had questions asked in Parliament. It's not all about becoming a candidate. It's about getting involved in small ways in your locality to influence the conversation.

This is not a course for the political geeks of the church to do. It's for everyone. Everyone has a part to play as we witness in the breadth of the public square. It may just be a letter or email to an MP or newspaper. It may be some local campaigning on a specific issue. It may be serving as a school governor. Or it may be serving as a local councillor.

Politics goes wrong when it gets decoupled from the other spheres of society. This is the fault of politicians hiding in their bubble, but also the laziness of the rest of society in becoming consumers, not participants in this rather broken but brilliant thing called democracy. If we think we don't need to be celebrating it and tending to it by playing our part, we need only to look towards the USA or the Ukraine to see why we should.

Similarly, political engagement within churches goes wrong when it becomes separated and perhaps unaccountable to the rest of the congregation. It needs to be a mainstream activity. It needs to be integrated. It cannot be extra-curricular. It needs to be part of discipleship. It is an incredible mission field - one that will train and test you.

So would you like to get involved with bringing mission and discipleship back together like they were always meant to be? Would you like to be part of pulling up the fence posts of the secular-sacred divide, so we can all play in God's great mission field called society?

If so, the Influence Course could be for you. And more importantly it's designed so that you could easily lead the rest of your congregation into it. If you can't find some followers within your own congregation, it's unlikely you'll find any in the wider electorate. Now's the time to practise some of that leadership that the church teaches us so well.

We won't be perfect, but there are at least some presumptions about the need for integrity in leadership that will help us. There will be a clan around us to keep us sane, hold our hand and pray. They will steer us away from the easy put-down or the dangerous shortcut. They will call us to listen to all of the people rather than just those we already agree with. They will tend to our wounds when social media is at its most toxic. They will babysit for us when we are out campaigning.

As the African proverb says, "If you want to go fast, go it alone. If you want to go far, go together." We pray that the Influence Course will be the start of a faith-building, evangelistic, community-shaping adventure for you and your clan. Enjoy!!!

Access the influence course via www.influencecourse.co.uk. The online launch via www.churchrooms.com (think Netflix meets Zoom meets online learning tool) is happening on 29 June – email info@christiansinpolitics.org.uk to book a slot on one of the free taster sessions that day.