Renewing our Public Witness with Civic Revival

Without a doubt this was the most productive, helpful conference I have attended focusing on the importance of faith and the public conversation. -Woody Roland, Retired Pastor of Missions, Autumn Ridge Church

More than 250 church leaders looking for a new way to approach the coming election cycle joined Transform Minnesota at Cedar Valley Church for Civic Revival. The group, ranging from pastors to laypeople and students to elders, learned more about how Christians can prioritize their public witness and find language to speak into a landscape in need of Christian presence.

Prioritizing our Witness

Kaitlyn Schiess, doctoral student at Duke University and co-host of The Holy Post, looked back at examples throughout American history of faithful use and egregious misuse of the Bible in politics. Both examples help demonstrate ways Christians today can learn a more faithful use of scripture. The way forward isn’t to remove the Bible from politics. Rather, Schiess encouraged participants to read more broadly throughout the biblical canon, to understand their feelings as they approach the text, and to recognize where God’s word offers us correction.

Justin Giboney, president of the AND Campaign, followed by discussing practical tools found in the AND Campaign’s 10 Christian Civic Disciplines that can help Christians adjust their posture as they go into the election. Giboney asked participants to consider whether our public witness in politics is being led by moral imagination or mortal panic. When we yield to mortal panic, we take actions that justify ugly ways of getting things done and obscure the Gospel with a cloud of bad faith. We must instead move forward with humility, recognizing the flaws in human-made ideologies and inspiring discipleship and peacemaking.

Bringing a Christian Voice

As the day moved to panel discussions, participants were able to interact with issues around racial justice with Rev. David Myles and Dr. Ed Uszynski; religious freedom with Kaitlyn Schiess and Jason Adkins, Executive Director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference; and a holistic pro-life approach with Adkins and Rev. Chris Butler. Through these discussions, conferencegoers learned more about how they can strengthen their public witness and bring a distinctly Christian voice to a space that has been dominated by secular voices. 

The Church Politics Podcast

Transform also partnered with the AND Campaign’s Civic Revival Tour to host a live recording of the Church Politics podcast. Justin Giboney and Chris Butler discussed several current events to open the podcast before opening the floor for live Q&A. They then invited Transform CEO Carl Nelson and Deputy Police Chief Brian Hubbard from the Crystal Police Department to discuss policing and the community response after George Floyd’s murder.

So helpful to engage the complexity of politics from a biblical perspective with nuance, multiple perspectives, historical context, etc. moving toward greater wisdom, and to do it with brothers and sisters and other ministry leaders who are likewise trying to navigate wisely. -Rev. Steve Rasmussen, Lead Pastor, Bethel Christian Fellowship

May 30, 2024
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