“Oh, what a tangled web we weave … when first we practice to deceive.” – Walter Scott, 19th c. Scottish Poet
Creating a Spiritual Web
For years, a tangled, deceptive web has been growing in Sacramento where liberal legislators have systematically undermined parents and religious freedoms by:
- Dismantling the historical, biblical view of marriage.
- Forcing the LGBT agenda on our children, beginning in kindergarten.
- Silencing legitimate science which shows the dangers of the homosexual lifestyle by forbidding any negative teaching on LGBT issues, including high suicide rates and dangerous health realities such as AIDS.
- Allowing teen girls to leave campus to get abortions without parental knowledge.
- Mandating that schools allow students to use any bathroom or locker room based on their “perceived” gender.
- Demanding that all children receive vaccinations, despite moral and religious objections.
Numerous pro-family public policy and legal freedom groups have been working diligently to stem the tide, but through it all, one important voice has been absent: pastors.
Church United is changing that!
Thanks to the loyal and dedicated supporters of Church United, we are creating our own web, a new network of shepherds who are committed to advancing God’s Kingdom in California. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been traveling up and down the state as regional pastors direct me towards more pastor networks. Once isolated cells, these groups are now connecting at a rapid pace as we join hearts for the things of God.
Regional Briefing in Petaluma
Recently, I was privileged to share the vision of Church United with a group of pastors in Petaluma. At the meeting, pastors from more than 40 churches greeted us warmly as I facilitated one of our California Briefings. I was joined by Bob Tyler, Founder of Advocates for Faith and Freedom, a Murrieta-based law firm that has been active in challenging laws that undermine religious freedoms and parental rights. Jonathan Keller, the CEO of California Family Council, also attended the Briefing. As like-minded organizations, we are collaborating in an effort to stop the progressive stranglehold on California.
Our California Briefings are designed to inform pastors on what’s happening with legislation in the state of California and at the national level. The Briefings are two hours and include a meal. During these gatherings, I am able to share about our growing network and its purpose. Our ministry partners are also able to share about their vital work. Each event concludes with a panel Q&A.
We consider these Briefings as the first step in helping pastors engage the cultural influences that shape society. From these introductions, we hope to disrupt pastors into further action. Because they have so many responsibilities, they often need to be disrupted from their regular environment so they can appreciate what’s happening with our elected officials. It’s the actual fact-finding trips to Sacramento and D.C. that really disrupt them, but more on that later.
Another interesting development in Petaluma was an early morning gathering of community intercessors, which I was blessed to attend. While there I met Ann with the Petaluma Prayer and Intercessory Team. She sent me this encouraging email after the prayer gathering and briefing session:
“… We intercessors have been praying for over a decade for God to give pastors a boldness to speak the truth regarding a biblical view of politics. We are so convinced that lay people have become impotent, or worse, due to a lack of godly leaders that are afraid of losing their 501(c) status vs. the fear of the Lord. We believe you three [Bob, Jonathan, and I] are proof that God has been answering our prayers. Your heart to have relationships and pray with them [elected officials] has really encouraged us all. We look forward to following your progress and partnering with you in prayer.”
It was like a spiritual breakthrough for the intercessors and what they had been praying for. And the networking did not end there.
A Growing Network
While I was meeting with the pastors, they referred me to another pastor in Santa Rosa whose sphere of influence, they said, was four times greater than their own. A similar scene recently played out in the Central Valley where a group of 30-40 pastors connected me with a network of 500 churches. Pastors there are also helping me connect with key city leaders. In San Jose, I was blessed to meet an executive board member with the California Southern Baptist Association. And in Chico, a pastor put me in touch with a colleague who has a large group in the Bay Area. Isn’t this an amazing example of how God is moving? He keeps opening doors!
Why It’s Necessary
As we continue to connect these previously isolated groups of pastors, we will become even more effective in our work to stop anti-family, anti-Christian legislation, including two critical bills now working their way through the legislature:
- Assembly Bill 569 (Gonzalez-Fletcher, D-San Diego) tramples on the foundational religious beliefs of churches, Christian colleges, and other para-church ministries by prohibiting them from using morality-based codes of conduct that would interfere in women’s “reproductive” health in any way, including abortions, birth control, and extramarital sex.
- Senate Bill 18 (Pan, D-San Francisco) appears innocuous on its face, but the Bill of Rights for the Children and Youth of California opens the door for the state to decide what’s in the best interest of children by creating a “… framework for the care and welfare of children and youth in various contexts, including, but not limited to, healthcare, nutrition, homeless assistance, education, and foster care.” As we’ve seen in the past, the state’s interests often conflict with those of parents, particularly those of the Christian faith.
Now, when there are crises that affect the church, pastors will be better prepared to respond, thanks to the work of Church United. We know we are at a significant crossroad when the government is telling the church how to write its codes of conduct. It’s no longer a biblical worldview – but a government worldview – where the state is dictating church ethics, morality, and policy.
In May 2017, Church United will host its annual pastors trip to Washington, D.C. Thanks to the support of our donors, we will be taking 170 pastors from across the state to our nation’s capitol where they will meet with legislators, listen to special speakers, and participate in a Spiritual Heritage Tour. Please be in prayer for each of these pastors and our team.
Ever-grateful for your partnership,