Last week, we told you we would share with you a story of how the partnership between pastors and elected officials is working in other states. I reached out to my friend Greg Baker at the FAMiLY LEADER in Iowa, who shares about the former Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court:
One of the most encouraging and groundbreaking meetings we have ever had in Iowa is with our Supreme Court Chief Justice. In the political world, Christians and this man were supposed to be enemies. Our chief justice was known for writing a Supreme Court opinion that overturned the heartbeat law, the 72-hour waiting period for an abortion, and bringing gay marriage to Iowa. In the political world, pastors are the last people the chief justice would want to meet with, and the chief justice was an “enemy” to pastors. But that is not what happened. After 3 years of praying for a meeting, God opened the door. The Chief Justice agreed to meet with Iowa pastors.
A group of 8 Iowa pastors met with the chief justice on a hot, humid, July summer day for over an hour. The chief justice was nervous, so were we. For over an hour the chief justice gave a lesson on the benefits of a progressive court, and he gave us 5 minutes to respond before having to move on to another meeting. We listened as he spoke, and we made our 5 minutes the most fruitful we could make them. During our time we prayed with him, and shared key verses from Scripture that speak to his unique role. Then we left. Our goal was to start and build an intentional relationship with him that paved the way to more opportunities to sow the Word and partner with him, not win a political argument.
After being told it would be at least a year, Chief Justice met with us again in just a few months. I believe it was because of the way we respected him at our last meeting. This meeting ended up being nothing like the previous meeting. This time he only spoke for 5 minutes and gave us an hour to speak. We were able to share the Gospel with the chief justice. We were able to minister to him and his role with juvenile and family courts. We discussed ways to involve the church in the court system to break bondage and help keep families together. We paved a way for partnership and many opportunities to sow into his work and his life.
We were scheduled to meet with the Chief Justice again, just several months later. Unfortunately, the chief justice died just several weeks before we were supposed to meet with him. I will ever forget the brief relationship God allowed us to build with this man, who for more than a decade served on our state’s highest court. God taught us the value of relationship, and how we can sow into anybody. We were all enemies of God, but through Christ, we become His children. I pray that Christ is his Lord and Savior. I miss him, and I am so thankful God allowed us to meet him, learn from him, and sow truth into his life. We perhaps gleaned more from him than he did from us.
As I’ve mentioned in my last several emails, I’d love to learn more about you and your ministry – what you’re doing and how ACP might connect with you and connect you to elected officials and other state leaders to advance God’s Kingdom. As the opportunity arises in the coming weeks, Lord willing, I will be setting up times for coffee, breakfast, or whatever might work for you and your schedule. I look forward to the chance to meet with you. May God bless you and your ministry.
In Arizona as it is in Heaven,
Chris St. John
ICYMI: A little more about Arizona Capitol Project. Our mission is to build a relationship between the shepherds of God’s Church and the government: from our Congressional Delegation in Washington, D.C., leaders in the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches, and the county and municipal government officials throughout Arizona. Read more…
New & Noteworthy.
- CareforAZ.org. On a conference call with Congresswoman Debbie Lesko last week, Pastors Dan Steffen and Bob Hake from Pure Heart Church in Glendale updated church leaders from across Arizona about a resource connecting churches to local hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic. CareforAZ.org has stated on their homepage: “Churches and hospitals partnering to serve healthcare professionals and their families.” They’ve had an incredible response from both churches and hospitals during this time of great need.
- Politics after Christendom: Political Theology in a Fractured World, by David VanDrunen. Southern Seminary Professor Andrew T. Walker recently posted an encouraging review of this new book published by Zondervan Academic. I just ordered a copy on Amazon.
- From TGC: Normal Again, Thanks to COVID-19. “COVID-19 is causing many serious and unfortunate effects on our society. But shattering our illusion that ‘busy’ and ‘big’ are the same as ‘fruitful’ and ‘effective’ certainly isn’t one of them.”A helpful article on the normalizing of our frenetic pace as leaders from The Gospel Coalition, here.
- Connect with Arizona Capitol Project on Facebook this week and share what you’re doing to stay connected with your congregation. Share your ideas with other pastors and churches!