‘The Church Must Proclaim Truth’: Leaders Urge Believers to Impact Community
Family Research Council initiated Community Impact to build teams of SAGE Cons throughout the U.S. in order to incorporate a biblical worldview in the political and social landscape. But what are SAGE Cons? And how can Community Impact teams make a difference?
As explained by FRC’s National Director for Community Impact Tim Throckmorton at a Wednesday training event in Baton Rouge, La., SAGE Cons are spiritually active governance engaged conservatives, driven by the Christian faith to impact government and the public square. The role of a SAGE Con is to pray, vote, and stand, and there are multiple ways of going about that. FRC initiated the Community Impact outreach for team building and trainings to equip churches to be engaged, particularly in their communities and local governments.
A survey by George Barna revealed that 94% of the church goers surveyed were registered to vote, but only 22% voted regularly. At the Baton Rouge event, Throckmorton spoke on why it is crucial for churches to get involved and ways to do so. For Throckmorton, getting involved in cultural matters is “important because [it’s] biblical, … not political.”
He added, “When [that’s] communicated … that this isn’t about politics, … [congregations] begin to understand why we need to get involved.” He explained how culture today is largely illiterate concerning the Bible, history, and civics, where immorality is increasingly accepted. Throckmorton emphasized that the church cannot become desensitized to this reality. He asked the question, “[D]o we weep over the condition of what our nation is facing?”
Considering this, Throckmorton highlighted that churches are called to recognize and pay attention to the emergency we are in. He said, “God’s people have throughout history found themselves in seasons that call them to take action and to take a stand,” which he argued highlights the importance of SAGE Cons.
To expound on the significance of SAGE Cons in election integrity, Ken Blackwell, senior fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance at Family Research Council, shared at the training how America has over “175,000 precincts” where voting takes place. “[B]ecause it is a [huge] human enterprise, it can be filled with human error,” he said.
For Blackwell, there are many things that can be done to help uphold the integrity of voting, and SAGE Cons are at the forefront. “[W]e have to do what we can where we are,” he said. In many cases, that involves volunteering as poll watchers. “[I]f you’re not in the room, you’re not in the game,” he said. “[T]hat means … we have to be engaged.”
In addition to Blackwell, Gina Gleason, executive director of Real Impact ministries, shared her experience with ballot collecting (gathering mail-in ballots to submit on behalf of third-party individuals). Ballot collecting is not legal in all states, but it is in California. Gleason and her team were able to collect over 13,000 ballots which allowed Christians to “take back” school districts, city councils, and state and congressional seats.
As Throckmorton said, “[W]e can’t win with [SAGE Cons] alone, but we will lose without them.” SAGE Cons are the driving force behind bringing a lasting biblical worldview into the public square, he contended. He also shared how “we are called to rely on God’s power.” He added, “When we get to the end of our abilities, that’s where God steps in and begins to do great things.”
There are numerous resources through and beyond FRC designed to establish and equip SAGE Cons across America. “God [has] trusted us with this season, so let’s be faithful to that,” Throckmorton said. “It’s about the long game, if you will. It’s about going deep and long and having impact, training up new leaders and new influence in our community.” He concluded, “Engagement matters.”
To conclude the training, FRC President Tony Perkins said, “[I]t’s all about taking the truth of God’s word and influencing the world around us with that truth. … The only place we can find unity is on truth, and the church represents the truth. And so, the church must be willing to proclaim truth, to pray for that truth, and to live that truth out.”
Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.