Hand in the Field

Commemorate a New Season of Christian Civic Engagement

Highlights from the past year of our work, and a look at what we hope to accomplish in 2019 with your help.

This year has been thrilling: The Center for Christian Civics has transitioned from a part-time passion project into a full-time ministry, and we’ve road-tested all of the products and programs we need to begin effectively resourcing the church to meet this moment of challenge in our nation’s history. God commissions his people to make his healing, character and restoration felt, and 2019 is going to be a make-or-break year for the Center for Christian Civics to advance this mission.

I’m really excited to share a little bit of what we expect the year ahead to look like and how your end-of-year gift can help, but first, it’s worth looking back at a few highlights from 2018, celebrating God’s faithfulness in letting us be a part of his work in this world:

Quick Highlights from 2018

One of the most exciting moments of 2018 for me was getting the feedback from the pilot of our new curriculum for pastors, seminarians and ministry professionals. We started by presenting it to a small team of pastors at a range of career stages, and the feedback was incredibly encouraging. We expect this program to be a key part of our work with seminaries, churches and ministry teams in the years ahead.

In addition to continuing to lead classes for churches and ministries in other parts of the country, this year we began equipping and encouraging Christians living in the trenches of politics here in Washington, DC, as well. Our local 2018 event schedule included our “Foundations of Christian Civic Engagement” workshop, a conference on bridging partisan polarization, a forum on the role of church authority (hosted in partnership with The Davenant Trust), a conference on Christian hospitality and community action (hosted in partnership with the international non-profit Q Ideas), and an Advent celebration commemorating “The Politics of the Incarnation.”

And this autumn, you may have noticed that we launched a new website, built to support a wider range of content and products than we were able to offer before now. Some of these new capabilities are already being put to work (check out our podcast transcripts and dynamic “related articles” links), and you’ll see us start to put it to fuller use in the year ahead.

Coming in 2019: New and Updated Products, Plus a Suite of Events

We launched our organization with the release of Light to the World: Making Politics Safe for Christian Community, a five-chapter Bible study on living faithfully during polarized elections. It’s been a valuable resource to scores of churches, and we expect it to continue growing in relevancy as the 2020 presidential elections approach. But there is a real need for more resources in a similar vein. So, we are going to introduce three new products in early 2019: Two new one-chapter Bible study guides on specific questions about Christianity and citizenship, as well as our first training manual for ministry leaders. We’ll be offering you more information on each of these products as they become available.

We are also already scheduled to lead seven events over the course of 2019—four for college students, two for general audiences, and one for pastors and ministry professionals. These events will all be held in Washington, DC, with many of them staged out of the offices we moved into on Capitol Hill earlier this year.

In the midst of all of this work, the core publications that form the heart of our work will continue steadily: We are currently planning on publishing 24 more articles on The Christian Civics Blog, 12 new episodes of The Christian Civics Podcast, and 15 editions of our newsletter over the next 12 months.

Making These Resources Available to the Nation: Our Monthly Giving Challenge

At our current budget level, we can do all of this work, and with our current team we can do it faithfully. But we’ll need your help to actually get these resources into the hands of the people who need them most.

If God sees fit to grow our financial base by another $2,500 in monthly support, we will be able to move this work forward in incredible ways:

  • Get our new training manual into the hands of hundreds of pastors across the US.
  • Produce an additional 24 blog articles (48 in total).
  • Produce six more podcast episodes (18 in total).
  • Bring our workshops out of DC and into two regions of the country we’ve never taught in before.
Ongoing Support for Church Leaders: Our Annual Giving Challenge

Developing and deploying our classes over the last two years has been an incredible experience. I believe that God intends to use these workshops to meaningfully strengthen his church.

But I’m also convinced that sustainable change doesn’t come from a single exciting afternoon. The hardest and most important questions about what it means to be a Christian in the public square don’t come up until believers are actually putting their hands to the plough and tending to the fields. It is critical that we serve ministry leaders well by equipping them in the weeks and months after our classes.

Building the capacity to consistently and reliably support the ministry leaders who come to us means adding dedicated ministry support staff to our team. While those staff positions will eventually require long-term commitment from our financial supporters and partners, we can begin building those positions with an additional $40,000 in pledged annual support each year for two years.

How You Can Help

I would ask you to please do three things in response to this letter:

  • First, pray repeatedly and consistently for God to raise up the financial support needed to carry this work forward, and for God’s glory to be shown in the character of his people in the public square.
  • Second, tell a friend who may also be encouraged to know that our team is helping the church forge a better path forward in the public square. Forward them this letter with a quick note about why you like our work, and even encouraging them to make us part of their plan for giving and generosity.
  • Lastly, please make an end-of-year gift. We expect a big calling for the year ahead. Delivering our new resources to hundreds of pastors and bringing our classes to new corners of the country will take over 100 people each contributing to our first goal of raising an additional $2,500 per month.

Would you commemorate this new season of work for our ministry, for our country and for Christ’s church with a gift that’s significant to you?

Thank you so much for your continued friendship and partnership. I’d love to hear from you if you have any questions or comments, and I hope to serve you well in the year ahead.

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Authors

  • Rick Barry is Executive Director of Center for Christian Civics, where he helps ministry leaders and faith communities develop missional approaches to their local public squares. He has worked on campaigns for local, state and federal office, is a former writer and editor for Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and oversaw communications for the Grace DC church network. He and his wife live in Washington, DC.

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