Bunni’s Book Club: Running into The Fire by Terri Hasdorff

Stressing the importance of "adopting" Christian candidates.

By Bunni Pounds Published on August 12, 2023

Why a Book Club for The Stream?

I love to read. Especially about my two favorite subjects — Jesus and politics. People always ask me about my favorite books — so for a fun exercise, I am going to write each month about some of the books I am reading — new releases, old classics, books by friends and books that have shaped me through the years. The Bible is always the most important book to read each day. Start with that — then be fed by His Body through the wealth of books. Join my Book Club here on The Stream each month and find some great books to empower you.

My First Pick – Running into the Fire

I am going to start with a book that I wish I had written: Running into the Fire by Terri Hasdorff.

As a former political consultant, campaign manager and fundraiser — I cannot tell you how much supporting candidates for office makes a difference in their individual lives, their races and the overall health of our nation. We CANNOT be apathetic anymore. One of the easiest ways to get involved is to adopt a candidate. Pick one, get to know him or her, help them through monetary donations and your volunteer time. Pray for him. Serve him and watch God work in his life and yours.

Running into the Fire: Why More Christians Need to be Involved in Politics  (Published by FrontLine/Charisma House) is a great learning manual for believers all over this nation to sink their teeth into a starting place for engagement — specifically on supporting candidates.

In the book’s introduction, Terri Hasdorff says, “We Christians have forgotten who we are. We have been deceived into thinking we are powerless. We are not!”

Like the firefighters who run into the buildings when the flames are high and terrifying, we need more Christians who will run into the flames of destruction all around us, lift the water hose of the Word of God, and run straight into the action.

Terri pushes back in this book on the fallacy that we don’t need to be involved in politics as Christians, but more than that — she makes the case of WHY we need to be involved and the HOW we can make a difference. Everyone who knows me knows that I can’t stand it when we don’t give people practical action steps or advice on what to do. Terri gives us all of that in her book.

Less Than 1 Percent

Our apathy and inaction are blaring as very few Americans give money to campaigns and help get people elected. According to the research she did for the book via OpenSecrets in 2016, the percentage of Americans who gave more than $200 to political campaigns was less than 1 percent of the American population.

The statistics on Christians voting patterns show that there is not much difference if any between those who call themselves “born again Christians” and the general public that doesn’t profess the Christian faith at all. Not enough of us are voting; and we are definitely not voting regularly! We might begrudgingly pull ourselves to the polls during a Presidential election, but we forget voting in local, state, or primary elections to our detriment.

Tasked to Raise a LOT of Money

I met Terri Hasdorff at a conference in 2022 and she is a new friend who I have enjoyed getting to know over Zoom, on phone calls, and on our Conversations with Christians Engaged weekly show. (Check out Terri’s appearance with me here). Terri and I think a lot alike because we have both been in government and politics for years and we have a similar passion and calling to empower the Body of Christ for this moment in history.

Sharing her personal heart-breaking story of the apathy of Christians she makes the point clearly. She had people who told her that they wanted better government and godly people elected. But when asked directly if they would help her after she ran for Congress for Alabama’s Second Congressional District, they replied with Nos. I experienced that as well when I ran. As recorded in her book, one high net worth man said, “Terri, I’m sorry, but I’m not going to be able to help you. My wife and I decided a long time ago that we just don’t get involved in politics. We only give to Christian nonprofits. We don’t give money to political campaigns.”

Here is a woman who, according to her bio, “worked as an executive-level leader with over twenty years working at the intersection of faith and politics. She began her career in 1991 in what is now called the White House Office of Public Engagement, working with faith leaders and nonprofit organizations from across the country. She then served on Capitol Hill for more than six years before returning home to Alabama to help empower grassroots and faith-based organizations with state and federal government resources.”

As she said in her book, she was tasked to raise $750,000 in her race by her consultants and at the end of the election cycle pulled in less than $100,000.

This beautiful woman was highly qualified, rich in experience in federal public policy, yet couldn’t pull out a primary win because of lack of funding. From knowing her in just a short amount of time, I believe she would have made a great representative.

In my race for Congress in 2018, I was tasked to raise a million dollars to have any chance of winning a primary runoff against a sitting state representative at the time. Raising more money than any other candidate in the six Republican open seats that year in Texas, I came close to that goal, but still couldn’t pull off the race. Between the SuperPACs that supported our campaigns and our direct campaigns, we had over $1.3 million spent on each side for someone to win a Republican nomination for a safe Republican seat. It is not cheap to run for elected office!

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Even though I knew the political donors in and around the district and many of them believed in me to go to Washington D.C., it was still the hardest thing I have ever done. And remember that in federal races, candidates must raise that amount of money or above with federal limits of only $3,300 per person per election. When I ran, it was only $2,700 per person per election.

Terri shares how we, as believers, can step up to the plate and actively support those who are called, trained and empowered in these races for city councils, to state offices, to Congress by coming along side of them. People of faith need to support people of faith at every level of government. Proverbs 29:2 says, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.”

As Terri writes “To a candidate, every dollar counts. With the massive campaign budgets required to send a candidate to Washington, you may think that candidates are only interested in million-dollar donors. Many Christians have given up and don’t think they can make a difference because of the vast amount of money that pours into politics from special interest groups. But that is simply not true. Crowdfunding — gathering small amounts of money from large groups of people — is shifting this dynamic.”

She also writes about the ins and outs of political contributions from Super PACS on down and helps navigate believers who want to start giving and participating in the political process a road map to make the wisest decisions.

Terri’s emphasis in Running Into the Fire on the importance of investing in individuals who have a call on their lives in this arena cannot be understated. Regardless of whether they win or lose, you are investing in their voices, their messages and what God wants to do in their lives.

For me, my loss for Congress in 2018 led to a national movement of Christians praying, voting, and engaging regularly through Christians Engaged. For Terri, it led to one of the best most comprehensive practical books I have ever read from a Christian perspective on this topic: Running into the Fire: Why More Christians Need to be Involved in Politics. Once you are sold on the fact that you must get involved somehow, this is the book for you.

Grab it today via Christians Engaged, Charisma House, or on Amazon.

While you are at it, please go adopt a Christian candidate today.


Bunni Pounds is president and founder of Christians Engaged — a ministry activating the Body of Christ to pray, vote, and engage regularly. Formerly a congressional candidate and 16-year political consultant, she is a motivational speaker and preacher of the gospel.

Her book — Jesus and Politics: One Woman’s Walk with God in a Mudslinging Profession comes out nationally on 2/6/24. Preorder it now.

Bunni is also the host of “Conversations With Christians Engaged,” seen here on The Stream each week — a podcast dedicated to helping believers continue walking in faith while navigating the muddy ways of politics and culture. Connect with her on Facebook @bunnipoundsTX, X — formerly known as Twitter @bunnipounds, or Instagram @bunnipounds.

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