Kingdom Influence: A Challenge to Young Pastors and Leaders…
What a difference one phone call can make.
Just over a year ago, I was invited to a listening session with then-candidate Donald J. Trump, along with several other very prominent Evangelical leaders. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that meeting would be the first of a series of meetings that would culminate at a pulpit in St. John’s Cathedral, where I was to read scripture and speak into the lives of the President and Vice President-elect just moments before they would stand before the world and take the oath of office.
And it was nearly one year ago in my first face-to-face meeting that I had the privilege to look candidate Trump in the eye and ask one of the most important questions asked in this process: Would Mr. Trump give his word that he would never nominate a pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice?
He lowered his head for a moment, then looked up and looked all of us straight in the eye and gave his solemn word that he would never nominate a pro-abortion candidate. He has kept that word with the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch.
Hope on the March Right Out of the Gate
Also, just days into Trump’s presidency we witnessed, with one swipe of his pen, one of the most sweeping and dramatic assaults on the abortion industry since Roe v. Wade, as federal funding was ceased immediately for overseas organizations who provide or fund abortions.
Following the signing of this executive order, hundreds of thousands of women and men marched in Washington D.C. for the 44th annual March for Life. But this year would be different.
Previous Republican presidents have expressed support for the march in various ways — Ronald Reagan through a pre-recorded video message and George W. Bush through a phone call. However, President Trump is the first to send high level representatives to address the march real-time and in person, including White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway, and one of the most godly men I have ever met, Vice President Mike Pence.
Further, given this pro-life administration, 52 GOP Senate seats and an eager House, there is now a clear pathway to defund Planned Parenthood.
It’s a start.
Our Time to Act
To say that millions of voting evangelicals affected the outcome of the presidential election would be a gross understatement. And I believe the Lord used the men and women who served in these listening and advisory sessions in very profound ways.
I would like to say my involvement in this process was because of the cry of those millions of unborn babies, or some other compelling reason, but really, it was because for the first time ever, I was invited into the process.
The church had been kept silent for far too long.
But what I have seen with these eyes and what I have experienced over the course of this past year has revealed to me a whole new dimension of the power of God and the influence of Godly men and women over the affairs of a nation, if we are but willing to go.
I’ve taught from my pulpit about Esther, Daniel, Joseph, and others who would be called on by God to risk their lives and reputations and go before rulers and speak the truth, knowing that truth could cost them everything.
This was my time, and this is our time. This is your time.
I’ll be honest and tell you that many of those who have served in these advisory roles have been called everything under the sun and have suffered a loss of reputation among some of their constituents, myself included. But not once did I ever think it was wrong for me to use every ounce of influence I had to speak the Word of God into someone who could become the leader of the free world. Why would I?
And why would you?
A Word to Young Pastors and Leaders
Young pastors: God is calling us to come out from the safety of our buildings and church communities and speak life into this world in profound ways. These are extraordinary days and the hand of God is with us in extraordinary ways.
Our flocks walk out of our services and face a world governed by secular laws and send their children to schools with worldly value systems five days a week, that are very different than the values they learn in an hour or two in your children’s program.
I want to challenge you to begin to pray about how God might use you and your influence to begin to engage your community, state and nation. I believe God is raising up prophets to speak into the lives of leaders and rulers here in the U.S. and in the world as well.
God can still steer the hearts of kings and rulers the way he has for thousands of years. The courage of Esther saved an entire nation, the wisdom of Joseph helped feed nations during one of the most severe famines in the history of Egypt, and the obedience of Moses resulted in the deliverance of God’s people from 400 years of slavery and oppression.
But it is the words of King Darius in Daniel chapter 6 that are the most compelling for the age we live in. After Daniel had been rescued from the hungry lions, Darius, a pagan king said these words:
I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. For He is the living God and He endures forever; His kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and He saves; He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.
I have been reminded that even presidents have souls and that the Holy Spirit can move in the life of any man or woman. I have learned that God can use a simple pastor from North Carolina to speak life into a president, and I sense very strongly that He is raising up prophets who are willing to be shaped and molded for such a time as this.
Our nation is entering an extraordinary season where things are changing at an unprecedented pace. There are open doors all around us and we must be strong and courageous; very strong and courageous for God is with us. Pray that the Lord would open doors of influence … and when that door opens, we would go with boldness and the knowledge that it is God opening the door … not man.
Best-selling author Jentezen Franklin is pastor of Free Chapel Church, with three campuses in Georgia, one in South Carolina and one in Orange County, California. To learn more about him and his ministry, visit jentezenfranklin.org.