In my role as Executive Director of The Brethren Church, I have found it to be a growth experience for me to know when to say something about an event or crisis. Learning when to use the voice I have and how to appropriately steward my influence has been a hit and miss learning experience for me to say the least, but I hope to become more astute in this as time goes on.
There are a great many battles raging in this country over gun rights and gun violence, over the death of millions of people to school shootings, domestic violence, the death penalty, and abortion...and the millions of people struggling over our immigration policies and the displaced families because of these policies. In the midst of all of this, I see that the Church has really lost its place as a people of influence in the collective conscience of our American culture. The culture just doesn't see the church as a viable place for answers. The answer is not to go and fight and regain the place of influence we had in the mid 20th Century. No, we have been called to influence differently!
The voice and influence the church has in our society is very different than the one we had 50 years ago. Increasing, our influence in our culture will be an influence defined by our capacity to love others. As Christ-followers I hope you will contemplate your posture in our society after processing the latest tragedy in Parkland, Florida. My prayer is that we remember that we do not fight with the weapons of this world (physical, political, or any other type of weapon). We have been given long-suffering, faith, hope, obedience, and love. These are the attributes of Christ that I want to be known for...not my capacity to hold on to the influence that our world finds valuable.
I pray that you will find your Christ-given voice in this very tumultuous time in our country. I hope you agonize over how you should use it...not agonizing out of fear, but out of a desire to steward it appropriately. And then I hope you will act and speak with the boldness that was given to you by our Heavenly Father. Not so you can be seen as a political “mover and shaker,” but so you can be seen by those who do not follow Christ as Christ’s image-bearer. Be the image of Christ now, in your neighborhood, at your work place and in your community. This is the proper use of your Christ-given influence, regardless of the risks! Your influence will most be heard and felt in your local context. The love and care you bring to your city, work place or school might NOT find the steam needed to that change the world, but we know it WILL be the change we hope for in Jesus!
I have included a link to an article that stirred this post on in me. I believe it is an appropriate conversation for our church to consider. I hope it stirs in you a desire to be obedient to Christ!