Goliath MUST Fall

Pastors have Goliath task in transforming California

It’s confession time.

When planning our recent Awakening Tour in Washington, D.C. I was working hard to bring together some of the biggest national names in biblical worldview and public policy. I was seeking to WOW the 157 California pastors who, thanks to our generous donors, were part of the tour contingent. However, for various reasons, the big name speakers were not available. God’s plans are rarely ours…

In hindsight I am thankful because the speakers who came showed true hearts of Kingdom vision. What I realized was that God was using the ‘Davids’ to kill the Goliath, and Goliath must fall in California. California’s progressive Legislature is defiling the armies of God. And thanks to the wonderful team associated with the Awakening Tour, our guest pastors – representing churches from Redding to Chula Vista – were exposed to the dim reality of our once-Golden State. It’s like how David called Goliath out. As we know, God uses the least of these to confound the lies.

Here’s how the 2017 Awakening Tour played out: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from the 23rd district in Bakersfield, made an impassioned presentation on policy. McCarthy maintained a Kingdom worldview, despite none of the touring pastors being from his district. He was not alone. Every congressional representative (except one) who spoke to the entire group of pastors did not have a single constituent at the pastor summit: U.S. Sens. James Langford, Oklahoma, and Ben Sasse, Nebraska; U.S. Reps. Jody Hice, Georgia, and Mike Johnson, Louisiana; Dave Brat, Michigan; Glenn Thompson, Pennsylvania; Louie Gohmert, Texas; and Mark Meadows, the North Carolina Congressman who chairs the Freedom Caucus. U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who represents Orange County’s 48th district, was the only one who found himself on familiar ground with several of his constituents in attendance.

You see, currency [to elected officials] translates to votes and money, and Church United has neither. But these representatives, most living thousands of miles from California, were speaking from the currency of God’s Kingdom. The loudest message the pastors heard collectively Congress was that they cannot change the country through public policy – the country will change through the people of God – especially when pastors engage. They all understand the Kingdom impact pastors have. It is the people of God who will change California and its cities, one city at a time.

Pastor Chad Lacomb [with Fully Restored Ministries in Murrieta] said, “As more and more pastors are educated and encouraged like we were, a revival is going to take place. It is in our churches and communities that change will begin. I can’t believe how ignorant and complacent I had become. No more!”

Complementing the elected officials’ presentations, other speakers included Christiana Holcomb of Alliance Defending Freedom, Ralph Drollinger of Capitol Ministries, Star Parker of Urban Cure, Robert Tyler of Advocates for Faith and Freedom, Jonathan Keller of California Family Council, and Pastor Scott Scharpen with Go Mobile for Life. Our speaker lineup was as diverse as it could get: male, female, white, black, and brown. Everyone had a voice at the table. It was representative of California – not only in the style of worship, but with the speakers and the topics.

In addition to the informational sessions, the pastors gathered into their own congressional districts and met face-to-face with their elected representative. Of California’s 53 congressional districts, 41 participated in the meetings. In keeping with 1 Timothy 2, the pastors prayed for their elected officials – with Republicans and Democrats, and Christians and non-Christians.

Other activities included topical presentations on family, marriage, immigration, and racism. The tour also spent a day at the Heritage Foundation where a rooftop luncheon gave pastors sweeping views of the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument. Pastors were treated to a private screening with the producer of the new movie, “Gosnell,” which sheds light on the notorious abortionist who was convicted of three counts of murder for killing babies born alive in his Pennsylvania clinic.

Rounding it all out was a tour of the Capitol building, which underscored our nation’s rich, spiritual heritage. Numerous worship events were provided and pastors were given free time to explore the city and build relationships with one another – since church leader relationships is a foundational element of Church United’s vision.

The next step for these pastors is activating their congregations, preaching boldly from the pulpit, and engaging in civic activity on the issues of life, marriage, immigration, and racism, to name a few.

Pastor Randy Ponder, who serves as a police chaplain for both the Morro Bay Police and the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Departments, said he is already involved in discussions to have a joint meeting with his Congressman, Salud Carbajal, and the local sheriff to see how they can bring about change in their communities. Randy, who also serves as lead pastor at Rock Harbor Central Coast, said the connection would never have come to fruition without the Awakening Tour.

Going forward, we will continue with our outreach efforts, including monthly emails, conference calls, and regional briefings. The next briefing will be held this summer in Central Valley. We are also working on funding to bring other pastoral groups to Sacramento and Washington, D.C., continually building our spiritual web in California.

All of this, however, is dependent on how the Lord moves. God opened doors that Church United could not open. It’s all by faith. For me, it’s a great place to be. We have a Shepherd who manages these things, and I’m trusting and walking in faith with Him.

Our ultimate goal is to transform California – just as David took down Goliath. The pastors share this vision, but they also realize the importance of staying united.

If you would like to invest in expanding the pastoral reach in California, you can partner with us by donating online at: Church United.

Here to serve,

Jim

Pastor Jim Domen, M.Div.

Jesus’ Anger or Trump’s?

Written by Sarah Sumner, Ph.D., MBA on May 30, 2017
President of Right On Mission
Author of Angry Like Jesus (Fortress Press, 2015)
 

America is divided, and according to the media, Donald Trump is surfing the waves of people’s ire.  Many voters feel disgusted not only by the breakdown of our national security, but also of our national core values.  America used to value freedom in the form of religious freedom and freedom of speech.  Likewise, we used to value reason and civility.  That is, we used to value our nation’s social contract.  In the past we were a self-governing society that submitted to the authority of the founding documents of our country.  But now that we’ve been exploited and unlawfully ignored by professional politicians who are caught up in the vortex of self-preservation and runaway power, the population is in a giant power struggle.

More tragic is the fact that the very same disease has been contracted by some Christian organizations.  Lawlessness is contagious.  From what I know anecdotally, millennial “nones” and “dones” have had it with the church partly on account of the leadership abuses they have seen.  When pastors and presidents of Christian churches and nonprofits enthrone themselves to sit above the law, the very notion of the “rule of law” loses its force.  We cannot sustain our democracy unless we play by the rules.  The free market depends as well upon good faith and the rule of law.  Alas, America’s moral decay has progressed to the point that lawmakers themselves have been unethically upended by injudicious judicial rulings of unaccountable judges in our courts.  This may sound like a leap, but in very similar manner, many Christian organizations are being slowly undercut by unaccountable governing boards that allow excessive debt and secularizing forces to corrode them.  No wonder we are entering into chaos.  Lawlessness breeds chaos.  Since sin itself is “lawlessness” (I John 3:4), sin is the root problem in our land. 

So here we are at Church United, standing with each other before God, asking Him to use us as purveyors of His grace because nothing but the blood of Jesus can cleanse a human heart with His forgiveness (I John 1:9) and fill us with the power to honor His ways (Galatians 6:2).

In America we are reaping what we’ve sown.  Trump’s followers want a champion to take on the “Goliath” of the Establishment.  As far as I can tell, Trump’s vitriol does not scare them; it relieves them.  Trump’s followers that I’ve spoken with are relying on Trump’s anger “to set America back on track.”  By contrast, Trump’s dissenters are so extremely angry that they plotting to impeach him and storming the streets with placards that deny the historical fact that he was elected.  

All this is to say, I marvel that so many look so favorably on Trump’s anger, yet so few professing Christ followers are open to acknowledging the Church’s desperate need for Jesus’ anger.  Trump’s anger has nothing to do with trusting God.  By contrast, Jesus’ anger has everything to do with healing our deep-seated faithlessness.

Jesus’ anger is so different from the anger of Trump’s dissenters and from the anger of Trump himself.  The question that this difference raises in my mind is simply this:  Do we, as believers–and as pastors– know the fifteen or more stories recorded in the Gospel accounts that testify of the strength of Jesus’ anger?  Is it clear in our minds that our Lord’s anger holds the power to counteract the anger in our land?  It takes fire to combat fire and a diamond to cut a diamond, and Jesus’ shining anger to displace our darkened anger.  

Jesus’ anger is not what people think.  It is principled and orderly and anchored in His perfect faith in God (Hebrews 12:2).  Yes, Jesus Himself is God, but His anger was human just as His faith was human.  Jesus, the Perfect Human, has anger that imbues us with moral courage.

With the help of Jesus’ anger, we can choose God’s higher ways, even in the face of opposition.  

“Do not let the sun go down,” even on your godly anger.  “Do not give the devil an opportunity.”  But do “be angry, yet without sinning” (Ephesians 4:26-27) and take hold of the truth that while sinful anger extinguishes love, godly anger ignites it.   

Lord, please quicken our hearts.  Make us curious to find out what Jesus’ anger is about. Open our spiritual eyes so that we become willing to worship Jesus in His anger that kept Him from caving into worldliness.  Show us how to fight the good fight.  Make us like our Lord Who was humble and gentle.  In other words, teach us to be angry like Jesus.  I pray this in His Name, Amen.

Creating a Spiritual Web

“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,

Church United

 

Deliberate Disruption

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?

An Inauguration for the Ages

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword; His truth is marching on. – The Battle Hymn of the Republic

Julia Ward Howe penned the words to The Battle Hymn of the Republic during the early days of the Civil War. More than 150 years later, America has found itself in the midst of a cultural war for the soul of our Nation. So, it was fitting that this 19th century war song (among others) was featured during the Jan. 20 inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States.

The entire week leading up to the inauguration was filled with God-appointed moments, but none as dramatic as the inauguration itself. Amazingly – thanks to the generosity of several donors who made this possible – I was blessed to be able to attend Inauguration Day. I found myself front and center – about 30 feet away from the podium – as one of the most polarizing figures of our time took the oath of office.

I felt like I was in the world’s most powerful Capitol as we were worshipping and praising God. Inauguration Day was the culmination of years of heartfelt prayers by Catholics and Evangelicals who have watched their religious freedoms being systematically eroded during an administration that, at times, appeared hostile to the Christian faith.

I was impressed by the attention to every detail during the inauguration. The actual program featured six members of the clergy who read Scripture and prayed, offering up the name of Jesus at least ten times. The enemy must have been trembling. The mood of the event was Church. The presence of the Holy Spirit was there.

One of the most moving components for me was the weather. Forecasters predicted rain throughout the entire program. But the only time it rained was during President Trump’s inaugural address – and when it ended, the rain stopped. To the world, the rain may have appeared as a political dis to the new president, but Franklin Graham offered up his own observation, telling Trump that rain was a sign of blessing in the Old Testament.

I don’t know if President Trump is a born-again believer, but he’s done more for the Church than many Christian presidents have – and time will tell if he keeps to his promises of combating radical Islamic terrorism and their attacks. I’m hopeful that President Trump’s executive orders to protect Christians will bode well for Christians in the days, weeks, and months to come. He’s a champion of religious liberty and freedom of speech from the pulpits, and pastors need to preach freely and boldly on spiritual topics.

Beyond watching history in motion, the trip was a vital outreach for Church United in that it allowed us to connect with some of our Nation’s most important influencers:

  • Trump’s Transition Team: We learned that the new administration has hired more than 4,000 federal employees in strategic positions who have a conservative worldview.
  • Newt Gingrich: In a private meeting, Gingrich described President Trump’s personality as being similar to Andrew Jackson’s and Franklin Roosevelt’s – yet, he is uniquely his own person. Hearing Gingrich’s evaluation of Trump was so exhilarating and hopeful.
  • Ed Royce (California House of Represenative and Chairman, Foreign Affairs Committee)
  • Tim Groser (Ambassador): At the New Zealand Embassy, Groser happily declared that “D.C. is no longer P.C.” He explained that there is finally a freedom in D.C. (and America) for diplomats and Americans to speak their minds, speak the truth, and share what needs to be spoken without being concerned about being politically correct. It was fun to enter New Zealand without having to take a boat or a plane!
  • Father Andre Mahanna (Catholic Priest from Colorado) & a Vatican Official: They both shared stories about working with the persecuted Church and Christians in the Middle East.
  • Former U.S. Navy Seal and Believer: I was able to spend some time with a man who is working to abolish human trafficking using his special ops training to target perpetrators and combat evil. It was inspiring to meet a believer who is committed to combating such atrocities globally.
  • Sharren Haskel of the Israeli Knesset (being groomed to become Prime Minister of Israel)
  • Elsa Prince Broekhuizen (Mother of Betsy DeVos) 

     

     

     

     

    I’m hopeful for America. I believe it’s also divine that we are powering up Church United at the same time that America is under new leadership. We are working diligently here to replicate the new movement in CA. Even though we have a supermajority liberal worldview in Sacramento, I’m hopeful that with Church United we can better partner together to address the spiritual problems affecting our communities so California can be golden once again.

    Although the times look bleak in California, I’m reminded of the myriad of times in Scripture (including Gideon’s army of 300) when the Israelites found themselves outnumbered with no opportunity to win, yet the Lord miraculously battled for His people. We’re seeing it in D.C., and this is my hope for California.

    I have to keep trusting the Lord and moving in faith and humility because we never know what’s next. But I’m seeing the hand of God move with Church United and I am humbled that I get to experience His moving and share it with those connected with our ministry. God’s not necessarily bringing the mighty, most popular pastors to lead the battle: He’s bringing the lowly, the small, the meek, and the humble to advance His purposes.

    Our next step comes at the end of this month when we take 20 pastors of regional influence up to Sacramento for our first-ever Watchmen West. We will also be taking a California contingent to the annual Family Research Council’s Pastors’ Conference, Watchmen on the Wall, in D.C. this May.

    It is through your faithful support that we are able to open doors as we strive to equip pastors to take a vital role in helping to shape California and beyond. We are committed to the long-term battle of upholding religious liberty and traditional values, and we’re looking forward to our continued partnership with you.

    His truth is marching on.

     

    Church United

New Year, New Hope

“So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.” – Genesis 37:28

 Joseph had every reason to seek revenge on his brothers, who – fueled by jealous rage – sold him (their father’s favorite son) to slave traders. But through divine providence, Joseph rose in power and prestige to become Pharaoh’s right-hand man. Years after his brothers’ betrayal, Joseph came face-to face with them, who had come to seek Pharaoh’s help during a life-threatening famine. After listening to their plight, Joseph chose mercy over mayhem and the family was reunited and held in high-esteem throughout Egypt. They prospered and multiplied, but within about two generations after Joseph’s death, the Jews found themselves in bondage to the Egyptians, the very people who had welcomed them out of Canaan.

“Just as the Hebrews were slaves, the people of California are enslaved to the rhetoric of crazy laws,” said Pastor Jim Domen, Executive Director of Church United. And – as recent history has [unfortunately] shown – as California goes, so goes the nation. Over the past few years, other states have imported many of the Golden State laws such as same-sex marriage, open restroom access to transgenders, bans on reparative therapy treatment, and pro-gay curriculum for children as young as kindergarten.

Over the past 8 years, the pattern of executive orders has demonstrated that sexual “civil” rights should trump constitutionally protected religious rights. This mindset is unapologetically stated by Obama EEOC appointee, Chai Feldblum: “There can be a conflict between religious liberty and sexual liberty, but in almost all cases the sexual liberty should win …”

But hope is on the horizon as President-elect, Donald J. Trump has been supportive of restoring religious liberties. Inauguration Day is less than a month away, Trump will take the reigns and his team will begin navigating our nation through a new era.

Remarkably, through a series of divine providences bestowed upon us, Church United has received tickets to the Jan. 20 Inauguration festivities – in addition to other related Washington, D.C. events. We have also been blessed with the use of a friend’s private apartment during our stay. During a time when hotel rooms are going for $1,000 per night – with four-night minimums – to say this is a blessing would be an understatement.

How does this happen?

“Church United just continues to be a voice into the culture and affecting national policy,” said Domen, who has spent years building statewide and national contacts with those espousing biblical worldviews. “All of this is helping us return to our godly, spiritual heritage. We continue to be involved on the national level, as well as equipping our state’s pastors about our forgotten spiritual legacy.”

We hope that this journey to our godly, spiritual heritage will gain more traction, thanks to the team that our soon-to-be-President is assembling. It is encouraging to consider Trump’s recent nominations to his Cabinet and Staff; these individuals have proven to share the values espoused by Church United.

  • Vice President – Former Indiana Governor, Mike Pence. Having been an evangelical Christian since college, Pence has also served in the U.S. Congress, been a staunch pro-lifer, and supports traditional marriage.
  • CIA Chief – Mike Pompeo. Also an evangelical, this Congressman and Army Veteran is a seasoned pro-life advocate, having voted to defund Planned Parenthood. In doing so, the Kansas Republican called the organization the “largest commercial provider of abortions in the United States.”
  • Attorney General Alabama Senator, Jeff Sessions. As an active churchgoer, Sessions has made headlines for his staunch defense of life and traditional marriage. He also opposes stem-cell research.
  • Energy Secretary Former Texas Governor, Rick Perry. Perry ran for president – in both 2012 and 2016 – on a platform that showcased his strong Christian faith. He opposes abortion and stem-cell research, although his position on euthanasia is not clear.
  • Housing and Urban Development Neurosurgeon, Ben Carson. Also open about his faith and the practice of prayer, the former presidential candidate opposes abortion and has publicly criticized Planned Parenthood. He has also publicly opposed physician-assisted suicide. Much of his beliefs and religious influences were revealed in his book, Gifted Hands.
  • Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. A Republican and long-time education reformer, DeVos and her husband, Dick, are champions of open competition by supporting school choice, voucher programs, and ties to the Reformed Christian community. As a product of private schools, DeVos is also an advocate for homeschooling. Through the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, the Devoses have also supported the Heritage Foundation and Focus on the Family.

To see a more in-depth list, visit http://www.lifezette.com/faithzette.

We are eager to see the long-term impact of elevating such godly individuals to cabinet positions with the potential of global influence. So, while we will enjoy the celebration surrounding the Jan. 20 Inauguration, we can’t revel in this change in leadership for too long. There is much to be done as we diligently work to influence culture, particularly here in California.

Next month we will share more about our vision for 2017, including a Moral Compass Community Survey that pastors will be using to poll their congregations to better understand what the church body believes and how to preach to the areas of societal concern through a biblical lens. Church United will also be sharing individual stories of California pastors who are committed to changing culture.

We thank you for your support in helping to make the vision of Church United a reality. Great things are on the horizon!

Lori Arnold, Writer

Gratitude Abounds at Church United

December 2016

What a November! Fresh on the heels of one of the most divisive political seasons in modern history, Americans gathered in millions of homes to celebrate our gratitude for all the blessings God has bestowed on this birthplace of freedom.

Our family was no exception.

There is much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. It’s definitely a season of new beginnings – not just for the United States, but also for the Domen family as we embark on a new journey with Church United.

As many of you have heard by now, the Lord has blessed us with an opportunity to work with California pastors (and beyond) through a rebranding of the former Family Impact Council. As its new Executive Director, I am overseeing the vision, strategy, and mission of our new Church United 501(c)3. Church United is distinct from any other faith-based policy organization in California in that it is dedicated to equipping Golden State pastors to shape and influence culture. Nowhere in the United States is such an effort so vital.

Despite gallant efforts of numerous pro-family policy groups in California, the state’s liberal leadership has persistently – and consistently – stripped away those values we hold closely to our core: life, traditional marriage, and religious freedoms. Unfortunately, even the hard-fought successes we have earned at the ballot box have been undermined by judicial tyranny.

For the past six years, I have been working to build pastoral networks and coalitions throughout the state to help recoup so many of our losses. Let’s face it: at the core of our struggle is a mighty spiritual battle between light and darkness. Who better to lead us in these battles than our spiritual shepherds? They are the core of Church United.

In just a few short months, our Church United team has already impacted California culture in so many ways:

  • Our work captured the attention of the Orange County Register, which was reporting on a battle to save meeting invocations and to keep the motto “In God We Trust” at the Orange County Board of Education. The article mentioned Church United in a story lead (Read the full story here).
  • Pastor Netz Gomez hosted Church United during a Nov. 28 radio interview on Nueva Vida, the largest Spanish-language Christian radio station in the nation.
  • Church United initiates meetings with the Catholic Bishop of the Orange County Diocese; representing 1.3 million people in Orange County (32% of Orange County’s population).
  • Church United is hosting the first-ever pastors gathering in Sacramento, where we have arranged for 25 regional pastors of influence to attend. Our goal is to bring 100-200 pastors from across the state in the summer of 2017.
  • Most of the budget will be used to scholarship as many as 350 pastors to attend the national and state conferences.

This is a movement – not a moment!

While we are excited about this impressive start, we have established even bigger goals for 2017:

Develop a new board of directors to guide Church United into the next decade.

  • Build long-term coalitions through one-on-one relationships.
  • Sponsor 150 California pastors to attend the four-day Watchman on the Wall event in Washington D.C. (up from 6 pastors in 2014, 27 in 2015, and 70 this year) and add an extra day to equip pastors!
  • Expand pastor/clergy networks across California.
  • Create new regional “briefings” to specifically equip California pastors on impacting culture.

Why is pastor involvement so critical?

Such engagement dates to revolutionary times when America’s pastors used their pulpits to encourage the colonists in their efforts to secure freedom from Britain. The success of the effort prompted Britain to label the pastors the ‘Black Robe Regiment.’

“Those pastors boldly proclaimed the Word of God in everything that applied to life, whether spiritual or temporal, whether related to eternal life with Christ or to topics such as taxation, education, government, military, or any other issue touched in the Bible,” said David Barton, President of WallBuilders, regarding the early brigades. “America is longing for a resurgence of the Black Robed Regiment – they want ministers who will provide much-needed community leadership and speak out fearlessly on issues related to today’s culture.”

We are honored to carry that mantle for California and are eager to see how the Lord will work everything out for His glory. Are you able to partner with us in implementing this big vision? Your contributions will help us build on the momentum of our new movement as we head into 2017 and beyond. Our team is eager to build on the work of the past six years.

Our sleeves are rolled up.

Jim

Keeping “In God We Trust” & Invocation Statement Shared to OCBE

Orange County Department of Education, Wednesday, November 16, 2016, 10:00 a.m., 200 Kalmus Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92628

Public Comments: 3 Minutes

Members of the Orange County Board of Education, my name is Pastor Jim Domen and I’m the founder of Church United in Newport Beach. Church United is an organization to help Clergy and the churches they represent deal with the spiritual problems facing our communities. I represent at least 200 evangelical churches in California and we partner with Catholics and Mormons in California.

I am here today to support and encourage you on behalf of thousands and thousands of people to keep board meeting invocations and “In God We Trust” in the Orange County Board of Education chambers.

“We the people,” of Orange County elected you to this office and “We the people” represent the “We the people” in the United States and California’s Constitutions.

I would like to humbly share some of the phrases used in the United States Declaration of Independence prior to writing the Constitution: and I quote “Nature’s God,” and “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator.”

California’s Preamble to the Constitution reads, and I quote: “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.”

Both the United States’ founding document and California’s preamble governing documents reference and acknowledge God. I would like to encourage this board of education to continue the tradition that began over 200 years ago and continues to this day; from the highest office in our country to the most accessible office in local, city government.

On January 20, 2017, “We the people” will hear at the presidential inauguration a prayer/ invocation when President-elect Donald Trump is sworn into office, our country’s highest office – the presidency.

Prayer begins each session of Congress: one prayer in the United States Senate and one prayer in the House of Representatives, every day they meet.

Prayer also begins each session in the California legislature: one prayer in the Senate and one prayer in the Assembly, every day they meet.

This historic and traditional practice occurs in every city in Orange County and almost all cities bear the phrase “In God We Trust” in their respective chambers.

The Orange County Board of Education is in good standing historically, traditionally, and in practice with the rest of local, state and national government.

And the phrase “In God We Trust” is on all of our currency: pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, dollars, fives, tens, twenties, fifties and hundred dollar bills.

So on behalf of the people, clergy, and churches in Orange County, I humble submit that you continue invocations at the beginning of each board meeting and keep “In God We Trust” displayed in our board room – “We the People of Orange County.”

Thank you.

Church United to Change Culture

Senate Bill 1146 was passed in 2016 with most of the harmful language removed because the Church United. Church United is preparing for what the 2017 legislative year will bring and how the Church will respond. This is an example of Church United! I’d love to share with you the vision, goals, immeasurable impact and how God is guiding Church United.

Vision: To see the Church United to change the culture.

Vision Explained: To change and shape the moral culture of our communities in California. The strategy is to equip pastors as culture-changers by sending them to Washington, D.C. and Sacramento, California for annual. These events have and are building a network with those pastors to provide resources throughout the year.

Mission: To respond to the spiritual problems threatening our communities today.

Church United is inviting vetted pastors of influence in regions across the state of California to attend the D.C. and Sacramento events, and then selecting key pastors to receive scholarships for both conferences.

The results from the Washington, D.C. conferences have been amazingly profound! Pastors are bringing other pastors with them, sharing their transformational experiences, and then activating other pastors and their congregations ten-fold.

Getting pastors to D.C. is the igniting catalyst! A scholarship to send a pastor (or pastors) to D.C. and Sacramento will provide more than just attendance at the annual events – it will also provide the opportunity for pastors to attend related regional and monthly meetings with me. One of my roles as a pastor is to build and develop ongoing relationships with these pastors of influence statewide. Through these friendships, I am able to host regular meetings to stoke the fire that began in D.C. and Sacramento to help facilitate cultural change.

After the conferences, California pastors will also attend regional briefings where they can reconnect their pastoral relationships, recruit other pastors from their area, follow other influential regional pastors, and become equipped with the knowledge of what is happening with current events.

2017 Conference Measurable Goals:

The Conferences focus on the spiritual heritage of our country and our state with nationally-known speakers and elected officials (e.g., U.S. Senators, Representatives, and California Senators and Assemblymen) who fear the Lord and vote a biblical worldview.

  • 150 California Pastors to Washington, D.C.  4-day Conference
  • 200 California Pastors to Sacramento, CA  2-day Conference

10 Regional Briefings:

Regional briefings are regional events to connect and build pastor relationships. They educate pastors on cultural issues (e.g., policy, legal, biblical talking points, etc.) and how to preach boldly from the pulpit, engage their congregations, and activate the body of Christ.

  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • San Jose
  • Central Valley
  • Inland Empire
  • Los Angeles County (South Bay, South Central, and San Gabriel Corridor)
  • Orange County (North County, South County, and San Diego)

Church United is seeking to raise funds in 2016-2017 to scholarship over 350 pastors and bring about cultural change in California. Church United needs your help to facilitate revival in our churches and awakening in California’s culture. There are many examples of when the Church United and the Body of Christ helped create good policies, stopped bad legislation, and intervened to do what was right.

Thank you for being part of the movement!

Church United Beginning

Dear Church United Bloggers,

God has uniquely equipped me with a passion for His kingdom in conjunction with public policy. I am reminded of biblical heroes who had great kingdom and policy impact like Joseph, Esther, Nehemiah, Daniel, John the Baptist, and the Apostle Paul. I love what I do and desire to exponentially grow a movement in California. Enthusiastically, I am sharing an opportunity God has presented that would exclusively serve California Clergy.

A New Organization and Position

For several years I have been in relationship with the founder of a 501(c)3 organization with combined interests of shaping family and public policy. They would like to rebrand, reshape, and take this organization to the next level, and have offered me the position of Executive Director. Essentially, I would continue everything I’m doing now, but increase my leadership responsibilities to include setting a vision and leading the organization. Effective immediately, I have accepted this new position as Executive Director of Orange County Family Impact Council (FIC).

 Next Steps

In my new role, I will create a new board of directors and establish the “why” and vision to set an ultimate goal, impact, and strategy. These measurables will determine the most effective ways of equipping pastors and clergy as culture changers to have an exponential impact on changing the church to change culture.

My new role will focus on clergy, including the following:

  • One-on-one relationship time.
  • Expanding pastor/clergy networks across California.
  • Getting pastors to Washington D.C.
  • Starting a new pastors’ annual conference in Sacramento.
  • Creating new regional briefings to specifically equip California pastors.

Thus far, many pastors and potential board members have agreed upon Church United as the new name for the organization and have established the following:

  • Our Vision: To see the Church united to change the culture.
  • Our Mission: To respond to the spiritual problems threatening our communities today.
  • Our Method: Disrupt pastors [to awaken them] and unite the Church to turn these problems around.
  • Our Results: Pastors become action-oriented change-champions, the Church unites against threatening issues, and culture is changed.
  • Our Impact: Economic improvements, emotionally healthy people, reduced government dependency, and a greater spiritual currency.

God has multiplied my efforts over the past six years. These slow, intentional, servant-heart, relationship-building efforts have resulted in successful statewide senior pastor and regional pastor relationships reaching Redding, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, the Central Valley, Los Angeles (South Bay, South Central, and the San Gabriel Valley), Orange County (North and South), Ventura, the Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino), and San Diego. Imagine if we grew and replicated these efforts in each of the 50 states!

As I continue to pursue these efforts, effective September 30th, I will be ending my role with California Family Council in order to focus on my new position with Church United (formerly, Family Impact Council). I pray you will continue to financially support my calling as the Holy Spirit leads you.

I’m excited to see what God will do with this new venture as I continue to put my efforts towards seeing revival in our churches and remaining hopeful for awakening in California!

“For such a time as this.”

Jim