It’s nice to live in a country where we are born with a voice in the leadership of our nation, but elections aren’t made of the same stuff they used to be. The issues are wilder than ever before, and the stakes are higher than ever. All of our Christian sensibilities are under constant attack, and it seems like no candidate truly has the church’s overall best interest in mind half the time. Despite the wave of election fever that will be sweeping the country for yet another several months, your church can experience some major growth that wouldn’t be possible during any other time.
Your church and community will be made up of two kinds of people as they pertain to elections. The first kind of person is what I call the “deVOTEe” See what I did there? The devotee is someone who is dedicated to the electoral process, and regardless of how they will vote in the upcoming election, they’re devoted to being involved in the political landscape somehow. The second kind of person is what I call the “Politically Disinterested.” These are the people who live life normally, without any interest in talking about politics; they feel as if the entire idea of politics is uninteresting or out of their control.
These three election based ideas are designed to engage both groups in your church. However, what’s more important is that these three ideas can also help increase weekend attendance because they engage your community at large. When it comes to election time, you have a rare opportunity to engage and attract all the devotees in the community. Outside of a presidential election year, this isn’t quite as easy to do, but the idea here is to become a part of the election buzz going on in your community for the purpose of absorbing some of that attention.
I feel like I am somehow obligated to mention a little side note here though; it is against the Unites States federal tax law for churches to publicly endorse or support a political candidate. This includes making any financial contribution to a candidate or party. Your church could lose its tax-exempt status under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) for doing so. The ideas presented here are creative methods of getting involved in the election buzz while exercising complete impartiality as to avoid breaking any laws. Besides, being politically partial is a very easy way to shrink your church’s influence and slow its growth, but that’s another story for another day.
three ways this year’s election can increase weekend attendance
#1 create an impartial, totally amazing, presidential candidate prayer event
I think we can all agree that everyone could use a little extra prayer. So it’s almost impossible to be partial when creating a time and place to pray for our presidential candidates. Whether you’re Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton, it can’t hurt to have a group of people passionately praying for your success in leading the nation. That’s the beauty of any prayer event; regardless of the subject matter, there is a strong spirit of positivity, unity, and love that anyone would want to be a part of. The affects of doing something like this at your church can be very wide reaching, it breaks down a ton of boundaries, and it creates a brand new on-ramp for people to check out your church.
So be bold, and choose a night of the week that your church can host a “Pray for the U.S.A.” event. Invite all of the local and state political candidates to join you, and treat those who accept your invitation with boundless respect and kindness. You’re not just praying for the election when you plan an event like this; you’re creating a place for people to call home that would not have ever otherwise done so. This type of event should be open to anyone from any background with any political views.
There is simply no better place in the world for a neutral zone of conversation, understanding, prayer, and love than the church itself. All of these folks who wouldn’t have stepped into your church have now seen what you do and why you do it. Therefore, you’ve officially tapped into an entirely new segment of people in your community outreach efforts. This means you’ve further exposed your church to your community, and increased your weekend attendance through the process.
#2 invest in your local city government by providing refreshments at the next city council meeting
Your local city council may not exactly be home to your all time favorite people, but they are influential men and women who need a message of hope as much as anyone else does. Leading up to the next election, or even beyond, send some food and drinks in the care of your church and pastor to City Hall. Include a well-written note describing how your church is praying for them, their responsibilities, and their families.
The truth is, there is no more stressful time for these folks than election time itself. So if you want to attract attention from the giants in your community, you need to be paying attention to them as well. Trust me, these men and women love every ounce of positivity they can get; they work in a world of constant ultra negativity. As a bonus, consider asking your Kid’s Department to spend a Sunday making cards thanking your local public servants for their service. Then include these with the refreshments you send over.
Public servants work very hard, despite their agendas, opinions, or goals that conflict with your own. In my experience, they’re usually trying to do their best with what they have to make the biggest difference they can. If you honor your leaders for their dedication, I believe God will honor you and your church.
#3 encourage your church to vote
Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest. I know this is a tall order when it comes to impartiality, but encouraging your congregation and community to participate in democracy is a surefire way to attract the attention of “deVOTEes.” Taking the time to teach your church how it plays a part in a larger global community can go miles towards stimulating growth. People want to be a part of something big, so spend a Sunday teaching on our nation’s humble beginnings and how freedom of religion is one of the greatest blessings we have. It’s okay to give a history lesson while you’re preaching.
Our nation’s history is filled with stories of those who opposed freedom of religion and the church specifically. Share some of these stories, and have a time of thankfulness for all those who fought for the freedom we have to worship today. Encourage them to get out there on Election Day and do their part to change the shape of our country for the next four years. Put the word out on social media that the church is calling on the community to get involved in democracy.
The best way to give people hope for the future of our nation is to show them that despite coming a long way and fighting many battles over the decades, our Savior hasn’t let us down yet.
Chief Executive Officer
TK has worked in the church for over a decade and brings years of executive leadership experience along with years of experience in media and technology. TK has a Masters in Public Administration and is an expert of navigating the minefield of procedural issues churches experience. He’s not quite so stuffy though; he is vibrantly creative and understands what it takes to create and plan a weekend from start to finish including video, music, and production.