A deliberate disruption of pastors.

In February, 24 California pastors of influence stood on the Senate floor, praying for the state’s legislative leaders. It is from the storied bicameral Capitol where lawmakers shape and direct the Golden State’s future. Sadly, the Chief of Staff for one of the lawmakers offered a sobering observation: He couldn’t recall the last time a group openly prayed in the chamber.

It’s difficult to imagine how far we’ve strayed from the founding roots of California. Like the American Constitution, California’s founding document is steeped in religious history. Last ratified in May 7, 1879, the preamble to the state Constitution makes clear the source of our blessings.

“We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure and perpetuate its blessings, do establish this Constitution.”

And although the state Capitol migrated among several cities in its early history, it settled in Sacramento for good in 1854. The very name Sacramento has its roots in Latin and means Sacrament, or consecrating. Even the land under the Capitol complex was said to have belonged to Catholic nuns, who donated the property for the state house. There is, indeed, an incredible spiritual history in Sacramento, a history that was particularly foreign to the contingent of pastors who attended our first Disrupt Pastors’ Tour to the state Capitol. It was evident that the pastors quickly realized how we’ve turned from a spiritual connectedness with God to what is now the complete opposite.

With God’s covering and the commitment of these pastors, Church United hopes to reverse this trend. The strategy that God has given Church United is to build relationships and networks with regional pastors of influence from across the state in order to disrupt – and interrupt – their normal rhythms of life so that they can pray and engage with their elected officials. Once they taste something like this, pastors have shown their willingness to engage the process by returning to their communities and bringing other clergy onboard. Many of these spiritual leaders have additional pastors and churches – either under them, or are working alongside them – in established communities. This is a model designed to exponentially change culture by encouraging pastors to use their divine voices. As a result, we are able to multiply our effectiveness and reach across an entire state.

This ripple effect will be especially important in the likely event that we find ourselves in a legislative crisis as the state’s liberal majority continues to erode the religious liberties and free speech protections etched in both our state and federal Constitutions.

Unfortunately, the visiting pastors got a bitter taste of what we’re up against when Democratic leadership ordered the sergeant of arms to physically remove Republican Sen. Janet Nguyen of Garden Grove from the Senate floor while she was making comments critical of former state Sen. Tom Hayden, an anti-Vietnam hero of the left. Several days earlier, the legislature glowingly memorialized Hayden, who died last fall. Concerned that the record was distorted, Nguyen, a Vietnamese refugee who came to the United States as a young girl, used the public platform to share concerns held by her constituents. When Nguyen ignored the majority leadership’s demands to stop her testimony, they declared she was violating parliamentary rules, cut her microphone, and escorted her from the floor.

On a much lighter note, the pastors were delighted to meet with several lawmakers, including state Sens. Mike Morrell and John Moorlach and Assemblymen James Gallagher and Phillip Chen.

The reality was 95 percent of the pastors didn’t even know who their elected official was. How can we pray for them or lead them to the Lord if we don’t know their names? The true blessing came when that same Torrance pastor caught a glimpse of the vision behind (or in front!) of Church United.

“Can you imagine if each one of these pastors went back to their home districts and led their senator or assemblyman to Christ and how that would change the Legislature overnight? We have a God who could do something like that. What a transformation.”

During our session with Sen. Morrell, he gently chastened the pastors for not fully engaging in the past, but rallied them to move forward in boldness. The results have been almost immediate. One pastor told me he was having his assistant arrange meetings with each of his state and congressional representatives.

We also received an encouraging call from a Southern California minister who said his pastor network was abuzz about Church United and they were fired up about our vision. He shared with me their belief that the Holy Spirit was in the midst of something because they all felt connected to what we’re doing. Even pastors he hadn’t seen in years were talking about Church United. It’s so exciting to see this stuff unfold.

In May, our focus will go national when Church United will bring at least 150 pastors to Washington, D.C. The demand has been mind-blowing, with 170 pastors registered to go.

If funding permits, we also plan to take another tour of pastors to Sacramento later this summer before legislators head into their fall recesses. As God continues to move and bless Church United, we are discovering the importance of embracing a shared vision of addressing the spiritual problems in our community by disrupting pastors.

When pastors get disrupted, they engage. How can you help us disrupt them?

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