Elections, Politics, and Youth Ministry
It’s getting to be that time of year again, and no I’m not talking about Christmas, but rather it’s election season. How do I know that it’s election season? I can’t turn on the tv, radio in my car, or even scroll my Instagram feed and not see political adds for candidates and issues. Driving into my office I see the campaign signs all over the place as well. If you turn on the news you can’t help but see how divided our political process has become and how harsh in tone the rhetoric from both sides of the political spectrum. It’s tough to navigate this process as an adult, and yet our students are looking at how we navigate it as they begin to develop their own thoughts about how the leaders and issues will affect them. Here’s a couple of thoughts on helping students process this year’s election season.
Our Identities as Believers Are Found in Jesus, Not Our Political Party. It’s important to be informed about the issues and where candidates stand on issues. We have the great privilege to be involved in the political process by being able to vote, and we should exercise our rights to vote. But being a Christian means my identity is not found in political parties, my identity in Christ transcends political parties. Political parties come and go. When was the last time you voted for a Whig or a Federalist? (Short answer is you didn’t. Those parties of the early years in our country have changed, morphed and disappeared). Who we are in Christ hasn’t changed. We are those who have responded in faith and are the redeemed, adopted children of the King (Eph 2:8-9). No thing or election will ever change that.
Government Has a God Given Role to Fulfill. It’s hard to understand that truth when examining some of the people that get into power or some of the issues that get passed and become law. And yet none of this escapes God’s watchful eye. One thing to remember is that God is still sovereign no matter who is sitting in charge of the White House or on Capital Hill. Daniel 2:21 tells us that God raises up leaders and removes them. God was the one who raised up Nebuchadnezzar, the guy who sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the nation of Judah, and yet it was done for a reason that God was fully in control of. Government is an institution that was established by God (Romans 13:1-7) .
We Should Be Peacemakers. No matter where we fall on the political spectrum and no matter who ends up in control of the government, Christians should be known as peace makers (Matthew 5:9). It was God’s own kindness toward us that leads us to repentance and we as Christ ambassadors, represent the Kingdom to all those we encounter (Romans 2:4).We should be hungry for justice, but in a peaceful way (Micah 6:8). We should be seeking to live at peace with those on all sides of the political spectrum, because we might be the only representative of Christ that person will encounter (Romans 12:18). Getting into Facebook debates that lead nowhere and trolling people of different sides of the political spectrum causes drama, not peace.
Pray for Our Leaders. Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself and your group. When was the last time that you prayed for our leaders? It’s easy to pray for those we like, but what about those who we don’t like, or stand against the very things that we believe in? Yet Paul tells us that we should be praying for those who are in authority over us (1 Timothy 2:2). The Jewish leadership in Jerusalem made it their mission to make sure Paul wasn’t able preach the Gospel (Acts 24), and yet Paul tells us to pray for those in leadership over us. Take time and pray for the election process and those newly elected leaders who will enter power in the coming months.
Scott Nichols serves as the Pastor of Student Ministries at CDO Baptist Church in Oro Valley, AZ. He received his B.S. from Portland State, and M.Div from Multnomah Seminary. Scott is married to Sarah and they have four children. Scott is an #avgeek at heart and loves learning about all things aviation and space. Twitter/Instagram @s_mnichols
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.