Ten years ago this fall, I was working on an off-year political campaign and took a call from a reporter who wanted to talk about religion and politics. For the first time, I found myself challenged to clearly articulate where I thought the models I was seeing for “doing politics Christianly” fell short.
Fast-forward to 2016, when a good friend and I began putting a small team together to slowly build the Center for Christian Civics. We saw an opportunity through our friendship across party lines to encourage the Body of Christ to have more fellowship like ours.
Today, we exist to provide the church with an affirmative vision for the public square that is bigger than rank partisanism, develop practical models for putting that vision into practice, and overcome the partisan divide in our churches.
After a busy election year that had us writing and teaching classes at a rapid pace, 2017 gave us a chance to start working for the long-term. We grew our board, refined our strategy, and began identifying the right people to fill some of our part-time positions. And along the way, we’ve had some big wins.
We launched a new podcast, providing people who have attended our classes or read our blog a chance to take our ideas with them on-the-go and share them more easily with others. This has been a huge area for growth—we knew from the get-go that producing a podcast well would mean developing a whole new skillset and adding a lot of hours to our time—but it has paid off. Our audience feedback has been very encouraging.
This autumn, we also partnered with the internationally known Christian organization Q Ideas to host an evening of teaching and discussion in Washington, DC, exploring how Christians can be agents of healing in our divided nation. The night was a massive success, with attendees excited to take the ideas presented from the stage and put them into practice in their church lives.
And these big wins happened alongside the everyday work of building relationships with pastors to encourage them and their congregations as well as continuing to bring great content through our website.
As we look ahead to 2018, we have some big pieces of news to share:
First, and perhaps most dramatic, I am about to leave my “day job” so that I can serve the Center for Christian Civics as Executive Director full-time. This is a big milestone for our team, as I will be Christian Civics’ first full-time team member. This is also an act of faith, as we still need to raise at least another $1300/month next year for my position to be sustainable. But that faith is warranted: Our Executive Board sees tremendous opportunity to help the church forge a new path forward next year, and doing that faithfully and well means devoting more time to our upcoming projects and to developing the organization.
What are those upcoming projects that need more time and attention?
- Developing a new curriculum for pastors and seminary students dealing with the challenges of shepherding politically polarized congregations.
- Producing a series of podcast episodes guiding listeners through how to think about and engage with the 2018 mid-term elections constructively.
- Introducing you all to the new team of Christian writers from across the political spectrum who will be engaging in careful, faithful discussion about discipleship and the public square on our blog.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
As we prepare for 2018, I’d like to ask you for help in a few different ways:
- Help us meet a giving challenge. A generous first-time donor kicked off the holiday season for us with a one-time gift of $2,000 and a challenge to match it before the end of the year. Will you join other readers and listeners in meeting this challenge by making a one-time end-of-year gift of at least $25 to help us reach this goal? You can make a tax-deductible donation online today.
- Share our work. If there’s someone you know who might be grateful to know that we exist—either a friend who would think our podcast is a breath of sanity or a ministry leader who might think our resources are useful—please let them know about us, and feel free to connect me to them directly.
- Pray for our organization to find the right supporters, partners and opportunities for this next season of our work. Pray especially for the classes we will be teaching this winter, the new classes we will be piloting in the spring, and all of the new material we will be developing throughout 2018. Pray also for Christians around the country to take the responsibilities of self-government and caring for our neighbors seriously, pursuing them as honors entrusted to us by our Lord.
Thank you all again for your friendship and support. We deeply appreciate it, and we hope that the work we are doing is encouraging to you and useful for your community. I look forward to hearing from you and serving you in 2018.
Have a very Merry Christmas!
On behalf of the Christian Civics team