REAL CITIZENSHIP

:
Practical Steps for Making an Impact on Your Culture

By Tim G. Echols

Copyright © 2004 by Tim G. Echols All rights reserved. No part of this book, except brief passages for purposes of reviews, may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission by the publisher. Contact address: Tim G. Echols, P.O. Box 9, Jefferson, GA 30549. All Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible. Cover photo provided courtesy of Intercollegiate Studies Institute, W ilmington, Delaware.

ISBN 0-9758614-1-7 Printed in the United States of America

T ABLE OF C ONTENTS

Acknowledgments ............................................................................. i Foreword ......................................................................................... iii Introduction ................................................................................... vii W here Activism Falls Short ............................................................. 1 No Such Thing as a “Junior Christian” .......................................... 7 Having the M ind of Christ Is No Passive Endeavor .................... 13 Communicating Sacred Truths in Secular Settings ...................... 21 Rewriting American History .......................................................... 27 The “Power of One” ....................................................................... 31 Courage Is Caught ......................................................................... 35 Contrary to W hat You M ay Have Heard, It’s N ot All About You ..................................................... 41 The Importance of “Taking People W ith You” ............................ 49 You Can Be an Expert ................................................................... 55 W hy You Need to Know and Be Known by Elected Officials ..... 63 Proximity to Power is Power ......................................................... 71

Activism Begins at Home .............................................................. 77 Don’t Be Threatened by a Little Competition ............................. 85 Slow Judicial Tyranny ................................................................... 89 Help! M ore Christian Journalists Needed ................................... 95 The Preeminence of Christ ......................................................... 101 Developing Your Family Name ................................................... 105

A CKNOWLEDGMENTS

M y thanks to my friend N ed W illiams for his fine work in editing this book and preparing it for publication.

F OREWORD

In 1789, America needed change. The government under the Articles of Confederation simply was not working. M en that were brave and wise had drafted a proposed solution— a new Constitution of the United States, drafted in the name of “W e the People.” But other men—equally brave and wise, opposed the ratification of the Constitution. Patrick Henry, George M ason,

and others wanted America to succeed but doubted that the correct path for the future had been found in the Constitution. Although there were concerns about taxation and excessive federal power, the central criticism of Henry and M ason was that the lack of a Bill of Rights would eventually cause our national government to become an agency of tyranny. On June 4, 1788, on the floor of the Virginia ratification convention, a hero of the Revolutionary W ar stood as one of the

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first speakers. George N icholas had fired the first shot in defense of Virginia when the British invaded. He was a supporter of the Constitution and rose in its defense with this observation: “An

enlightened people w ill never suffer what was established for their security to be perverted to an act of tyranny.” W hile Henry objective— securing and M ason failed to the on their immediate before

amendments

Constitution

Virginia’s ratification, they were ultimately successful in gaining the Bill of Rights. But their success did not detract from the truth of Nicholas’ observation. Unless we have an enlightened citizenry,

our government will turn from a protector of liberty to a source of tyranny. The reality is that we have marched too far down the road toward tyranny. But it is not too late for America. If we train the next generation of leaders to believe in the principles of freedom, our constitutional Republic is capable of securing the blessings of liberty for us and our posterity. Tim Echols and TeenPact have been an incredibly dynamic force in training future leaders. At Patrick Henry College we are blessed to have a number of his alumni as key leaders who are

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being prepared for careers that will enable them to lead the nation and shape the culture. This book will open a door for the future of our nation by opening the minds of many young people to both their

responsibility and their opportunity as citizen leaders. I can’t wait to see what these young people will do to help return America to its godly heritage.

M ike Farris Chairman and General Counsel, HSLDA President of Patrick Henry College December, 2004

INTRODUCTION

Ask several “men on the street” for their opinion about politics or government and you’re bound to get some combination of blank stares, opinions regurgitated from the typical newspaper, and apathy— lots of apathy. It is difficult to say whether apathy is a product of being uninformed or vice versa; nevertheless, making a difference is the last thing on the average person’s mind. In fact, most people would say it can’t be done, certainly not by one person, and most certainly not by a person who has yet to reach voting age. I feel comfortable in assuming that because you are reading this book, you are at least somewhat concerned about America’s political and popular condition. Nonetheless, you may still

question your ability to help reverse the moral decline. So, can one person really make a difference? And is it possible for one person to m ake a difference if that person is too young to even cast a

viii ballot?

R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP I believe that if the principles in this book are taken to

heart, you and your family will become a significant part of the solution to America’s woes. I believe this book will help you

become a better steward of the God-given opportunity of living in America. M ost importantly, I believe this book will challenge you to live a life more pleasing to God. Each chapter concludes with a “chapter challenge” section to spur you to make some application of the principles presented in the text. I hope you will finish each and every challenge. If you do, please write me so I can send you a special award. Is the term “real citizenship” presumptuous? Perhaps. But as I will explain in the coming pages, believers in Christ are called to more than simply remembering to vote. As we live out Christlike consideration for our fellow citizens, and Christ-like respect for the p rocedures an d p eop le in volved in the p olitical

process— attitudes which can only come from placing our hope in Christ, we will be examples of “real” citizens. In sum, as believers we are called to something greater than earthly citizenship or electoral “success”— we are called to be

R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP faithful citizens of heaven.

ix M ay God bless you as you seek to

faithfully live out your “dual” citizenship.

Tim G. Echols P.O. Box 9 Jefferson, GA 30549 August 2004

C HAPTER O NE

Where Activism Falls Short

H

ow many emails, newsletters and calls do you get from organizations wanting you to make a phone How many zillions of

call to some elected official somewhere?

times have you been asked to boycott, picket, turn-off, tune-out or protest something? W hat would you think if I told you I believe m ost of what you and I do in the way of political activism has very little impact? Yikes! that would be a little discouraging. That was my feeling as I heard Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, make the following statement to a small group of Christian public policy leaders: “Everything you all are

doing [to impact public policy] is just stopgap until God sends revival.” The statement was sobering but true, because Dr. Dobson was reminding us that America’s social problems are too severe and pervasive to be solved in the power of the Flesh.

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R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP Lately, it seems that society’s drift away from God has

become an outright sprint, and the culture is growing more and more hostile toward Christianity. Inspired by the works of Darwin and Freud, American liberals have attacked all that Christians hold dear and the principles which are, in m y opinion, the foundation upon which this country w as built. Additionally, the M odernist

movement has been a poison pill inside our society, turning our citizens against the best ideas of W estern Civilization and wreaking havoc on families and communities. That brings us back to revival.

America’s social problems are too severe and pervasive to be solved in the power of the Flesh.
Revival, as portrayed in the Bible, is a theoretical concept to most of us. It has long been a tradition in certain southern

denominations to spend a week each year doing “revival” services. But the revival that America needs is a massive return to God— an awakening of sorts. Biblical revival is accompanied by repentance,

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brokenness and people coming to Christ. These three “fruits”— not clever marketing of any man or ministry, would bring about societal change. America, there Although there have been pockets of revival in have been none that have occurred across

denominations or nationwide . . . at least not in my lifetime. This is the kind of revival that we all need to be praying for. In II Chronicles 7:14, God says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” This verse explains why I have linked revival to prayer, because God promises to heal our land if we, His people, do certain things. I believe the prerequisite to revival is repentance— or a change of heart and action concerning sin. And repentance is evidenced by humbling ourselves and giving voice to our belief that God is the only one who can relieve us of the judgment we deserve and the only source of societal healing. Prayerlessness is a sin that has dominated my life and only God knows the price I have paid and will pay for it. Perhaps you feel the same way. In those times when prayer has been a priority

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in my life, great things have happened: Family Resource Network, the ministry I founded in 1993, was born in private prayer; TeenPact was conceived amidst a regular prayer meeting I participated in at the Georgia Capitol; and at various tim es God has revealed direction for my family through prayer. One would think that with all of these experiences I would pray more. But no, I allow the

busyness of life to crowd out this most important of Christian disciplines. Like any other spiritual discipline, prayer doesn’t come naturally (with the exception of so-called “foxhole prayers”), and we are often too busy to pray. M y good friend Allen Parker, of the Justice Foundation, has found a creative way to pray for revival. Every morning he hosts a prayer “conference call” with other men across the country. I

encourage you to consider how you can make prayer, or humbly seeking God, a central part of your life. Think of ways to make

yourself accountable to others about prayer, and develop a means by which you can be reminded of ways God has previously blessed you through prayer. Certainly, this failure to pray must be the Achilles’ heel of the Am erican church, and we cannot expect revival or radical

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change in our society if we do not change our habits. I urge you to be resolute in addressing this deficiency.

Chapter Challenge 1. Start a weekly prayer group with some friends that meets either in person or by conference call. See

www.freeconference.com to set up a free call for up to 100 people. 2. Read Sammy Tippett’s book, The Prayer Factor (M oody Publishers, 1988). 3. Begin journaling your prayers each day, and take the time to w rite down prayer requests that others share with you. 4. Plan a prayer walk. See the book Prayerwalking,

(Steve H awthorne and Graham Kendrick, Creation House, 1993), for more information. 5. Begin to pray daily for revival, on behalf of those in authority and for your family.

C HAPTER T WO

No Such Thing as a “Junior Christian”

believe in the spiritual capacity of young people.

T

here is something you should know about me right up front (or at least pretty close to the front). Do you? I

Not

sure? W ell, ask yourself if you think children and teens receive a “kid’s portion” of God’s spirit when they become Christians. Years ago, my friends at Youth W ith a M ission (“YW AM ”) persuaded me that God can use younger Christians in powerful w ays because He has equipped them with the same capacity to believe, trust and obey God as any adult. Ever since that time I have been

challenging young people to trust G od for big things, even though they may possess less life experience and may not be deemed “competent” by the world. Ephesians 2:10 states, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Some of these good works are for our children and teens. I remember when my oldest

daughter was only eight years old. She cam e to me quite burdened

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in her heart about sharing the Gospel with a visitor to our home. Thinking it was not a good time for her to share her faith, I was on the verge of suggesting that she wait. In this case though, the Holy Spirit “checked” me. I remember her saying, “Dad, where is the booklet about Jesus?” I told her and the next thing I knew she had her little pink Bible out and was reading her favorite verse to the visitor. The visitor called me the next day and confided that he

had placed his faith in Christ as explained in the booklet Emily had given him. Two weeks later I baptized him at our church, and

learned an unforgettable lesson about doubting the spiritual capacity of youth. W e live in a culture that expects very little from young people. In fact, our culture presumes that teens will be

We live in a culture that expects very little from young people.
disrespectful, disinterested and irresponsible. Thus, it follows that our culture generally “under-challenges” youth. This low view of

our youth can seep into the Church with the result that our young people can miss out on the blessings that come w ith obedience. The task of reaching this culture for Christ is daunting, so giving our youth a “pass” and encouraging them to just “enjoy” their teen

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years amounts to squandering a valuable resource for fulfilling the Great Commission. In his book The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager, Thomas Hine asserts, “Teenagers m ust be treated and educated as the young adults they are and encouraged to participate more fully in our social, economic, and political life.” I agree wholeheartedly; thus, a theme verse in TeenPact is, “Let no m an despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (I Tim, 4:12) David Alan Black emphasizes a similar principle in his book, The M yth of Adolescence: Raising Responsible Children in an Irresponsible Society. (Davidson Press, 1999) Black writes, the theory of adolescence undermines the Christian understanding of human nature. It underscores the modern disinclination to treat a person as responsible for his or her actions. W hen we assert the “fact” that teenagers are to act like irresponsible children rather than like responsible adults, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. And when school, church, and family treat 16-year-olds like young children, teenagers act in ways that justify that treatment. In TeenPact we believe young people are really young

adults— capable of enormous impact now . . . and later. Have you ever heard a parent say something along the lines of, “I’ll be happy if my kid just stays off drugs, stays out of jail, and doesn’t make me a grandparent”? I know young people make mistakes and they do

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not always live up to our expectations, but don’t you think we have set our standards too low? I believe we need to consistently communicate to our children that God has called them to dedicate themselves to His service, to engage the culture, to make an impact on their community. I know we cannot guarantee how they turn out, but I believe we should seek God’s face about their unique calling and the role we can play to prepare them for the future. W indy and I prayed before each of our children was born that God might give us some hint about how to steer them. In five of seven of those cases, we are confident that we have received specific direction on which we have acted and continue to act. A couple of years ago my oldest daughter and some other TeenPacters around the southeast brought suit against the Federal Election Commission. Tucked away deep into the bowels of the

M cCain-Feingold Campaign Reform Act was a provision which, by prohibiting minors from making monetary contributions to

candidates in federal elections, exemplified the overbearing and overreaching regulatory impulse of big government.

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Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice (“ACLJ”) contacted Em ily to ask if he could represent her and her colleagues. After a deposition, many

interviews and a trip to the Supreme Court, Emily emerged just about the only winner from that landmark case. I will never forget seeing my 14 year old step in front of a bank of television cam eras with M r. Sekulow and make a statement. Because of Emily and

her friends, minors’ constitutional right to contribute to federal campaigns has been restored. In TeenPact w e challenge students to dream big and believe that God can use them to change their culture. W e ask students to step out of their “comfort zones.” For some, that will mean doing a better job in their own family— cooperating with parents or serving brothers and sisters. For others, it m ay mean changing their

ambitions or taking seriously G od’s leading in their lives. W e have seen students become effective legislative aides in their state capitols at 15 years of age. W e have watched tireless campaign

workers who are only 14 years old. W e have seen eight-year-olds learn how to speak in public. W e have seen young people of all ages pour their heart out to God in prayer.

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R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP W hile all of the above are examples of the skills we teach in

TeenPact, students need to be challenged in a variety of areas and on a variety of issues—learning to trust in Christ all along the way. I believe that we must prepare the next generation of political, business, and cultural leaders. Scripture admonishes the older to train the younger, (Titus 2:3-5) and our failure to do so will have grave consequences in our country’s future. God has important

work for the next generation of believers to do— starting today.

Chapter Challenge 1. Read Rick W arren’s The Purpose Driven Life: W hat on Earth A m I Here For (Zondervan Publishing Co., 2002). See also, www.purposedrivenlife.com. 2. Take a spiritual gifts test and ask God to show you more ways to use your gifts. See www.Lifeway.com for a great booklet containing a number of tests like this. 3. Read the stories of Daniel, Esther, and Joseph again, and ask God to speak to you about your future. But be careful, He might do it!

C HAPTER T HREE

Having the Mind of Christ Is No Passive Endeavor

“T

hink Hard, Think W ell.”

That’s the motto for

W orldview Academy, a ministry established by my

buddy, Randy Sims. Randy and his crew believe that students face tremendous challenges in our world today: a popular culture that encourages selfishness and mediocrity; an education system based on atheistic and/or New Age assumptions; and cultural leaders driven by a lust for power and personal gain. W ho can stand firm against such forces? I agree with Randy that only the Christian

who courageously pursues a deeper relationship with Christ, learning to think His thoughts and follow Him, will be able to make a real impact.

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R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP The Apostle Paul wrote that w e, as believers, have “the

mind of Christ.”

(I Cor. 2:16)

So, how Christ-like is your

thinking? Or, viewed differently, how “worldly” is your thinking? It’s kind of difficult to tell unless you can compare it to something else, so ask yourself: how does the way I approach life or make

decisions differ from the way in which my non-Christian friends do the same? W hat we are talking about here is the importance of

having a “biblical worldview.”

Essentially, one’s worldview provides a basis for understanding reality—for understanding how and why things are the way they are.

A “worldview” is just like it sounds; it is our perspective on— or a way of viewing, the world around us. It would seem

logical to conclude that every person views the world around them the same way, after all, the world is what it is. But the challenge in life is comprehending how things became the way they are and

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predicting the consequences of certain acts and events. Essentially, one’s worldview provides the basis for understanding reality— for understanding how and why things are the way they are. Needless to say, a Christian has a different understanding of reality than an atheist or even a deist. And I would contend that a Christian worldview is the most accurate and m ost reliable view of economics, politics, religion, education, social issues and any other subject. As a result, I believe that every idea or plan that is devised in conflict or without regard to a Christian worldview is destined for abject failure or, at best, ineffectuality. Often students and adults alike are surprised to see how much the culture, media and secular educational institutions have handicapped their ability to think and reason from the Bible; nonetheless, ministries, organizations and churches are increasingly offering intense worldview training and materials with the goal of helping the next generation think and reason from a biblical perspective. This is an encouraging development, but while “going back to the Bible” for clarity may sound simple, it really isn’t. Indeed, the American Christian culture has “blurry vision.” Christians disagree on issues such as the proper role of government

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in society, when or if abortion should be allowed, what level of taxation is acceptable, and a myriad of others. W hile arguing a

position on these issues is beyond the scope of this text, every Christian needs to develop the habit of going to the Bible in search of how God would have him stand on issues of the day. Eventually, as you spend time in God’s W ord and become saturated with it, biblical reasoning becomes easier. I tell young

people to stock their mental warehouse with Bible verses and biblical principles so that when issues or situations arise, their mind can go to the warehouse and pull the appropriate truth to apply.1 Let’s consider a simple illustration of this principle. You are asked by a sincere friend w hether you think abortion is wrong. The

popular culture insists that, when it comes to abortion, women should be in control of their bodies and that this principle trumps all others. How should you answer? And m ore importantly, what biblical principle is operational? The counsel of Scripture— both Old and New Testaments, is that God places the baby in a woman’s body and that no

1

See Gary Ezzo’s treatment of this in Growing Kids God’s W ay (M icah 6:8 Publishers, 1997).

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government or individual should destroy innocent human life. So the right conclusion is that a Christian cannot support abortion. H aving the biblical principle in his or her warehouse allows a student to retrieve it and take the appropriate action. The same is true on more complicated issues although considerably more reasoning may be required. W hile storing the principles in the “warehouse” is one element of the process, ordering the principles and reasoning with them is another skill altogether. George Barna, Christian author

and founder of the m arket research company Barna Group, has stated, “Our research among people who have a biblical worldview shows that it is a long-term process that requires a lot of purposeful activity: teaching, prayer, conversation, accountability, and so forth.” I agree, and that’s why I highly recommend that young any person, acquire at least a year’s worth of

people— or

argumentation and debate training.

If possible, a person should

participate in a cross-examination debate league, moot court

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program, or m ock trial club. 2 Even if an organization is secular, it can teach valuable reasoning skills. Cultivating your Christian worldview is something you can start doing right now. M any of our country’s Founding Fathers

excelled at reasoning on public policy from the Bible. Accordingly, I suggest a thorough study of select w ritings, speeches and sermons from Am erica’s founding and colonial periods.3 Developing a

library of general reference materials is a good idea as well.4 If you want a tool to help you assess how you are doing in biblical worldview training, use an instrument like the “PEERS Test” (Politics, Economics, Education, Religion, and Social issues Test).5 This 70-question test— which can be taken at home, will help uncover faulty, unbiblical thinking in adults and students alike.

Consult the Bar Association of your state for m ore details about their young lawyers programs. Also, most schools have literary programs that include competitive debate. Homeschoolers can get involved through www.ncfca.org . 3 See www.face.org for their famous “red and blue books” that contain copies of originals. 4 I suggest Josh M cDowell’s book, Evidence that Demands a Verdict (N elson Reference, 1999), and David Noebel’s book, Understanding the Times (Harvest House, 1994). 5 The PEERS Test is available from TeenPact (1-888-343-1776) or the Nehemiah Institute at www.nehemiahinstitute.org.

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Finally, I recom m end participating in one of various intensive training programs like W orldview Academy, The Summit, Focus on the Family Institute, Patrick Henry College Summer Camps, and, of course, TeenPact. 6 I believe these intense programs are more beneficial than books, because they provide an inspirational environment. Participants in these programs are challenged by

highly-trained speakers to step out of their “comfort zones.” Participants see their peers getting excited about cultivating the mind of Christ and engaging the culture; and that excitement rubs off. M ost im portantly, participants can store up biblical principles on the shelves in the warehouse of their minds. Having the mind of Christ is no passive endeavor, and as you seek to have God’s perspective on the issues of the day, I know He will lead you to resources that can help you and your family.

Chapter Challenge 1. Attend a Christian worldview camp. See

www.worldview.org for more info.

See www.worldview.org, www.summit.org, www.family.org, www.phc.edu, and www.teenpact.com respectively.

6

20 2.

R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP If you are in college, sign up at www.isi.org to receive complimentary literature that will help you develop your mind. 3. 4. Begin memorizing scripture daily. If you are interested in journalism , attend the W orld M agazine Journalism Institute. S ee

www.worldmag.com.

C HAPTER F OUR

Communicating Sacred Truths in Secular Settings

U
audience and

nfortunately, just thinking biblically is not enough. Christians are ambassadors to a lost and dying

world; therefore, we must learn to com m unicate biblical truth in a relevant, attractive manner. M y friend, David Barton, models the importance of this concept.7 The idea is that we should know our adjust our speech accordingly . . . without

comprom ising our core values.

For example, if you have the

opportunity to speak to a secular audience for a fundamentally secular purpose (e.g., a lecture on horseback riding, babysitting, or making a m odel car), then remove any “religious” words from your prepared rem arks. Think through how you might communicate a

7

Order the tape by the same name from www.wallbuilders.org.

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given biblical principle without citing chapter and verse in the Bible. I am not saying that you should not seek opportunities to share your testimony, the Gospel, or even something as direct as “The Four Spiritual Laws.” Indeed, you should always pray for

evangelistic opportunities and be ready to share on a moment’s notice. Rather, I am thinking of opportunities you might have in front of a civic club, in a classroom experience, in a legislative

Your ability to influence the audience toward one or all of your positions represents a stewardship opportunity.
committee hearing, or even in a one-to-one meeting with an elected official. These are situations when you need to be ready to share your “biblical worldview” in a secular manner. This is not as easy as it sounds. Your ability to influence the audience toward one or all of your positions represents a stewardship opportunity. mentioned earlier, Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are As I his

workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God

R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

23 If God has

given you opportunities to get in front of people, it is incumbent upon you to take the “good works opportunity” soberly. As the

verse above reminds us, God prepares many “good works” ahead of time specifically for you to do. Have you ever asked yourself,

“W hat if I don’t do these good works?” M aybe if we do not obey, God will have to recruit someone else in our place. For example, how could you communicate the devastating impact of an abortion without saying, “God hates abortion”? If

your goal is to persuade your audience (which it usually should be), then you must ask some questions: W here is m ost of my audience spiritually? audience? W hat part of the country am I in? H ow old is my How

W hat organizational affiliation do they have?

familiar are they with medical technology, such as ultrasounds? How am I being introduced? W ill I have a chance to respond to questions? W ill I have a chance to speak to the group again? How should I dress? . . . you get the idea. Incidentally, Ephesians 2:10 applies to more than just public speaking opportunities or personal appointments. There are what may seem like tiny things God wants us to do and about

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which we need to be faithful: maybe that is good works at home that God has uniquely prepared you for; maybe something at church or on a mission trip; possibly something as simple as a note or call by which God wants to bless others through you. Regardless, our objective as Christians should be to prevent use of religious words or term s to distract from the principles we are trying to communicate. That requires us to be intentional in how we communicate.

Chapter Challenge 1. Begin by writing an outline of how you would communicate the plan of salvation to a totally secular audience without actually quoting chapter and verse from the Bible. Hint: you can use a

biblical principle or concept, just put it into a “speech format.” 2. Now, prepare an evangelistic presentation of only three minutes to a “church audience.” Assume that some in the audience are not Christians. U se only four Bible verses in the presentation. home. 3. Begin compiling clever and compelling phrases that you hear other speakers use to communicate Practice at

R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP biblical truth to a secular audience.

25 Remember

always to give a person credit if you use their quotations. 4. Order David Barton’s video, Biblical Truth to a Secular “Communicating Audience” at

www.wallbuilders.org.

C HAPTER F IVE

Rewriting American History

B

y any objective measure, the United States of America is the freest, most prosperous nation in the

history of the W orld— clearly, our country is a remarkable success despite its faults. It should not surprise us, therefore, that

members of various schools of thought consistently clamor to take credit on behalf of their ideological school of thought for America’s success. And one outworking of this struggle is the Left’s

determination to obscure America’s religious heritage. Public school textbook authors are removing any references to our Christian heritage. Entire generations of school kids are

graduating from high school ignorant about some of the most important facts in our American experience. Even those attending Christian, private or homeschools often receive a minimal amount of historical information due to tim e pressure from competing

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subjects. And our ideological opposition is constantly pushing for dominance over what is taught in our schools. Alan Sears of

Alliance Defense Fund says that if a M artian came to earth in the 21 st Century he would think there were more gays than evangelical Christians in America. Unfortunately, the situation is not any better in higher education. As M ark C. Henrie of Intercollegiate Studies Institute (“ISI”) has noted, college education in America has deteriorated from the acquisition of a body of knowledge to merely the “cultivation of abstract instrumental rationality— divorced from any content and divorced from any end.” For this reason, I highly recommend that families supplement their student’s education with additional historical material— regardless of what textbook is being used. The entire family can be exposed to this information via books, videos, or even family read-aloud times. Regardless,

students need a steady diet of historically-accurate textbooks, stories, and inspiring biographies. W here can you find this info? I believe every home should have a “big red and blue book” sold by

R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP the Foundation of Christian Education. 8

29 These reference books

contain copies of original letters, manuscripts, sermons, speeches, and other writings that have been all but forgotten from modern culture. ISI, our college ministry partner, specializes in texts that promote order, liberty and justice and offers any number of books available at www.isi.org. America’s history is being hijacked by atheists, multiculturalists, and humanists— many posing as nice people. If we are not careful, we will find ourselves on the outside looking in. Translation: the direction of our society is at stake. There are

people who want to see Am erica go in a different direction and want to erase the record of America’s spiritual roots. You can

counter this by making it a habit to gain a working knowledge of America’s Christian heritage. And be prepared to use that

knowledge in conversations, speeches, and even letters to your local paper. W e cannot afford to forget all that God has done for us.

8

See w w w .face.net for how to order. Also, www.providencefoundation.com and www.wallbuilders.org supply great historical material.

30 Chapter Challenge 1. Purchase a “red book” or

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“blue

book”

from

www.face.net and begin reading portions to your family on a regular basis. 2. View videos produced by David Barton, of

W allB uilders, or Steven M cDowell, of The Providence Foundation. 3. W rite a letter to the editor of your local paper about some aspect of America’s Christian heritage. 4. If you attend school, cover Am erica’s spiritual heritage in a speech or paper, or find other ways to expose others to the truth. 5. Join ISI and receive free journals and materials at www.isi.org.

C HAPTER S IX

The “Power of One”

S

o, now you are praying for revival, thinking hard and getting the word out that America was and is a

“Christian” nation. But can one person really make a difference in such a “big” country? You probably have heard that one person

can make a difference, but maybe you doubt that it could be true of you. M y friend Randy Hicks introduced me to the phrase “the power of one.” It refers to the incredible change that can occur

when one person submits to God and becomes obedient to God’s plan for his life at that moment. W e all know stories about

extraordinary men and women who, by sheer magnitude of their gifts or stature, were able to seemingly change the course of history. But, I want to demonstrate how it can happen on a much smaller scale as well.

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R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP Recently, I took a Delta flight to Colorado Springs for the

taping of a guest appearance on a Focus on the Family radio broadcast. The in-flight video feature was a variety of news, Included in all of this was a M ariah I was concerned

entertainment and sports.

Carey music video that was incredibly lewd.

because so many of our young people fly Delta around the country as they lead TeenPact classes, and when I got back to Atlanta, I quickly emailed a complaint to Delta via the company’s web site. Before long, a generic response came back apologizing for the “impression” I received, and the letter had a name at the bottom. I wrote again asking this person to personally view the

video and confirm that the video, in fact, accurately reflected the values of Delta Air Lines. A few days passed and this time an email came back saying that they had forwarded my comments to their marketing department. In time, I received another email with the words I had hoped to hear. The letter read, in part, Again, let me restate that it is always a question of judgment on what is considered acceptable content. The video presented did meet broadcast television editing requirements. Traditionally, we follow and in most cases exceed broadcast television standards

R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP when displaying content on our aircraft. However, with the above stated, we agree that this does not meet Delta's standards and have removed the video in question from display onboard and are reviewing the music video policy with our programming service to ensure that this content is not presented in the future.

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I couldn’t believe it. Not only did Delta pull the video from all of their airplanes, but they w ere going to make sure that “this content” was not presented in the future. So, three emails from my home computer resulted in thousands and thousands of people being spared the polluting influence of M ariah Carey doing inappropriate things in a music video. This seems too easy, doesn’t it? Countless times I have

challenged a grocery or convenience store manager to remove or cover inappropriate magazines. O nce, I even persuaded a tanning salon (no, I was not a customer) to rem ove a giant poster of a scantily-clad woman from their front window. You can be a catalyst for this kind of change as well. But you have to exercise courage. Learn to challenge evil and speak up for decency. Ask God for the courage, creativity and influence to make an impact. You never know when H e will open the door for you.

34 Chapter Challenge 1.

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Identify blatant forms of evil in your community and begin to ask God to overturn them.

2.

W rite a letter to the editor exposing an evil in your community. Call your community to action.

3.

Look for opportunities to speak out, and do it often and effectively.

4.

Compile a list of people who have demonstrated the “power of one” and interview them to discover why they do what they do.

C HAPTER S EVEN

Courage Is Caught

C

ourage is something that is hard to teach. You can read stories on it, write papers about it, and even

aspire to have it. But more often than not, you attain a courageous spirit by catching it— that is, by being around people who already have it. For me, it was caught from people mentoring me in my early 30s: a pastor, named John, who alerted m e to the plight of the unborn; a congressional candidate, named Dan, who ran for office and addressed the issue of abortion head-on; a wom an, named Nancy, who ran for m ayor of Atlanta and was unafraid to challenge a corrupt system of politics. I cannot overstate the importance of courage and of seeing it firsthand. As courage takes root in your life, you are not afraid to take a stand for your convictions or to risk losing important positions as a result. There is no better example of this to me than

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my friend Judge Roy M oore— the former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Four years before he was removed from office, I saw his courage and was drawn to it. His courage was

borne out in personal conversations with him on several occasions: this m an was on a mission for God. He was determined to “force the hand” of the Supreme Court of the United States and give them the opportunity to make the right decision regarding the public display of the Ten Commandments. 9 T herefore, he set a

course for making that happen: first, getting elected to the position of Chief Justice w here he would have control over the Alabama Supreme Court building; next, placing a display in the building that opposing groups could not resist suing to remove; and finally, resolving not to back down, no matter the cost. Judge M oore’s courageous spirit is like that of Esther in the Bible. He was born “for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:13) In the face of losing his position as Chief Justice, he refused to back down, temper or water down his statements regarding his motivation for

Unfortunately, on October 31, 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to grant certiorari to Judge M oore and his case was dead in the water. Nevertheless, he accomplished his goal by giving the High Court a chance to make the right decision.

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taking a stand. Regardless of whether one agrees with what Judge M oore did, none can argue that he lacked courage. Those closest to Judge M oore, through all of this, have gained courage

themselves.

And the hundreds of TeenPacters, w ho m et Judge

M oore and interacted w ith him, had an opportunity to see this man’s faith being lived out in one of the greatest displays of courage in our day. Recklessness can be confused with courage, but to discern whether an act is courageous or reckless requires close examination. Throwing away a judicial career may seem reckless, unless you understand Judge M oore’s calling. Judge M oore was called to bring the Ten Commandments issue to the forefront of national debate

God reserves the right to allocate His kingdom resources however he pleases to accomplish a “calling” he has placed on our hearts.
and urge America’s governmental institutions to acknowledge God. He simply used his position as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court to make that happen. In our way of thinking that

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may seem wasteful or wrong, but God reserves the right to allocate His kingdom resources however he pleases to accomplish a “calling” He has placed on your heart. I saw this happen on another occasion. Earlier in this

chapter, I mentioned a congressional candidate named Dan who ran controversial ads on television in his 1992 campaign. Here

again was a man called by God to use a position— this time as a candidate for U.S. Congress, to confront our culture with God’s truth. D an Becker was neither an officeholder nor a candidate

when he learned that federal election law required owners of television stations to air political ads unedited— regardless. So,

D an decided to run for office, make commercials that depicted the truth about abortion, and run them on television. Dan used the campaign as a way to widely publicize the devastation of abortion. Up to this point, TV stations had been able to refuse, edit, or otherwise discriminate against “pro-life” commercials. Under these circumstances, however, federal campaign law did not allow them to edit even for a second. They were not happy campers. We

were, though, and D an Becker (with me as his campaign manager) ran graphic pictures of the horrific consequences of abortion to the

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disbelief of a previously-indifferent Atlanta citizenry. People were stunned that someone would do this. W ell-wishers said to Dan

that he was throwing away a great opportunity to be elected. Even “certified” pro-life groups thought we had gone too far. H owever, Dan felt called to play a prophetic role in his sphere of influence, and we may never know in this life the extent to which God used Dan’s actions to prick men’s consciences. W hen God burdens men like Dan Becker or Judge M oore with a mission, they are compelled to carry it out. Both m en have had death threats on their lives and the lives of their families. Both men have been criticized by prominent Christians and political leaders. And for those of us who have had the opportunity to see their courage up close and personal, our lives are changed forever. I personally have caught the “courageous spirit of Esther” that I have seen in Judge M oore and Dan Becker. move forward and stay on course. It helps me

It causes me to live with a

seeming reckless abandon in an effort to fulfill God’s call on my life at any given time. I highly recommend that students be exposed to those with great courage. Having an opportunity to listen to, talk

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with, and w ork w ith courageous folk will do more than any lecture on the subject.

Chapter Challenge 1. Ask God to build courage into your life by giving you the opportunity to work closely with a person of great courage. 2. Read and/or have your children read books from the G . A. Henty series (available from Vision Forum). 3. Read W itnessing W ithout Fear (Bill Bright, Here’s Life Publishers, 1987); and Foxe’s Book of M artyrs, (John Foxe, W hitaker House Publishers, 1981). 4. M ake a list of the three things you most fear doing in your life. Pray about the list and call on God for the courage you will need to accomplish these tasks.

C HAPTER E IGHT

Contrary to What You May Have Heard, It’s Not All About You

W

inning the culture war is a mammoth task that will require strategic partnerships, shared

resources, and a servant’s spirit.

Unfortunately, Christians have

had a hard time accepting this truth. For most of my adult life, I had a hard time with this truth as well; however, in my late

thirties, I began to form partnerships and develop alliances. I tried to serve other ministry leaders as often as possible. The older I get, the more convinced I am that we need to make serving and blessing others a top priority in our lives. After all, Jesus Christ cam e to serve, right? If His overarching motive was to serve, ours should be as well.

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R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP Regardless of your age, you have people in your life that

you can serve— even if it is only immediate family members. W hen I was 16 years old, I was presented with a Rotary Club “Student of the Year” award by Truett Cathy, the founder and CEO of Chickfil-a, Inc. After the presentation was over, M r. Cathy asked me to come by his office just down the street. There, he presented me with a tape recorder, a set of Zig Ziglar See You at the Top tapes, a set of Charles Stanley Supernatural Success tapes and a check for $50. He asked me to listen to the tapes and promised they would

If Jesus’ overarching motive was to serve, ours should be as well.
help make me a successful person. I did listen to the tapes and I still remember hearing Zig Ziglar say, “You can get everything you want in life if you w ill just help enough other people get what they want.” W hile that is not biblical advice per se, it is generally true. Unfortunately, I waited a long time before I actually began to apply Zig’s advice—a very long time. Too bad for me. Because once I

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adopted this as a life principle, I saw a drastic change in my relationships. Let me explain. I am talking about pro-actively looking for ways to bless others, serve others, and make the projects and activities of their lives successful. If it is within your power to help them, you

probably should. I am not talking about losing your focus, getting ultra-distracted or meddling. help— not just get in the way. In 2001, my family experienced a crisis when my wife, W indy, fell ill. The illness resulted in W indy needing a year of You must be able to genuinely

semi-bed-rest and extraordinary care from our family. Needless to say, these increased demands on my time had the potential to bring my vocational ministry to a standstill. Fortunately for me, four Curtis W hatley, his

young employees surfaced to give me aid:

sister Jenny, Cindy Cha, and my personal assistant for that year, Gabe Bratcher. A certain degree of willingness would be expected from them because they were on the payroll; nevertheless, they served tirelessly and well beyond the call of duty. much of them, it seemed. I could not ask too

Nothing prompted a complaint or

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grumble. They anticipated my needs and the ministry’s. W e had a record year, despite my family’s difficulty. This effort on their part demonstrated their character. Their confidence grew, and together we moved our ministry forward during a year in which the ministry could have “gone south.” during that difficult time. Likew ise, I try to work toward the success of others. Offering to share my mailing list, my money, my advice or even my employees proves to people that I care about them, their I will always be grateful for their help

organization, and their mission. For example, I actually promote other fine organizations to the greater TeenPact fam ily. N o one has influenced me more than our friends at Focus on the Family in this regard. Dr. Dobson and his staff promote the success of thousands of organizations and ministry leaders. And God has blessed them for it. In TeenPact, w e hire “guest directors” from other ministries who need revenue in their “off-season” to provide for their families. W e offer as many scholarships as we possibly can. W e try not to negotiate ourselves into the bad graces of vendors, and we pay our bills. W hen I can, I actually promote others in public or over the

R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP airwaves:

45

through my talks, in print, and in radio appearances.

People often find out that I have mentioned them or their ministry, and they really appreciate it. If I have an opportunity to host or serve someone, I strive to do an excellent job with the aim of making him or her more successful. M aybe a friend just needs an introduction to someone important, a referral, a meal, or simply

Whenever possible, I look for ways to make a colleague’s life’s work easier, more successful and more reflective of Christ.
being walked to his car. W henever possible, I look for ways to

make his or her life’s work easier, more successful and more reflective of Christ. For m any reading this book, you can start applying this principle at home with your family. Ask yourself, “How can I make m y siblings more successful?” “How can I make my parents’ lives easier?” “How can I build my family’s name and reputation?”

(See Proverbs 22:1)

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R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP You may feel inadequate, right now, to do some of the

things I have suggested. But, over time your relational assets will grow. Build a file of business cards from people you meet. Get in the habit of asking people how you can help them or even how you can pray for them. Begin to anticipate the needs of those around you and do things without being asked. Start giving your money (regardless of the amount) to the legitimate needs you see around you. Help whomever you can to succeed and G od w ill bless your work.

Chapter Challenge 1. M ake a list of needs of the people closest to you. Think through the things you can do for them that might assist them. feedback they Pay close attention to any and adjust your help

give,

accordingly. 2. Ask your parents or your children for a list of three things you could do to make their lives easier. (Be careful to prevent the frustration of unmet

expectations; it is better to under-promise and overdeliver.) 3. Begin to notice small things you can quickly do to make the lives of others easier: returning a

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shopping cart that has been left in a parking lot; giving an apple or bottle of water to a panhandler you might pass on the street or at the end of an exit ramp; picking up after yourself or others at home without being asked; publicly praising other people, etc. There are thousands of these things

you can do without spending any money or more than a minimal amount of time. and a lifestyle. 4. H int: be careful. Avoid flattery! Learn the It is a mindset

difference between meaningful praise and deceitful flattery. This subject merits further study.1 0

10

See Gary Smalley’s book, The Five Love Languages (M oody Publishers, 1996), concerning meaningful praise.

C HAPTER N INE

The Importance of “Taking People With You”

M

y convictions about the importance of mentoring really began to develop my freshman year of

college when the president of the Baptist Student Union offered to “disciple” me along with another friend. I knew there were 12

disciples who followed Jesus, and I could sing the little song about it, but that was the extent of my knowledge of “discipleship.” Foolishly, I turned down the offer and it was not until years later that I benefitted from a discipling relationship courtesy of my good friend, Dave H ill, of the Christian Business M en’s Committee (“CBM C”) of Atlanta. Through CBM C’s weekly meetings,

Scripture memory and prayer times, God prepared me for the

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national ministry I founded and now oversee. Dave Hill and the men of the Atlanta CBM C chapter took me with them on evangelistic appointments, prayer breakfast meetings, and even retreats in order to build into me certain character qualities. I am forever grateful.

Of course, the idea of mentoring is not a new one. Jesus selected a small group of disciples and spent untold hours with them.
After I went into full-time Christian ministry, others stepped up to mentor me in the Faith. M artin M organ, M ark

M cGoldrick, and Kevin Young of Campus Crusade for Christ’s high school ministry, Student Venture, spent countless hours training me by exam ple and formal instruction. After I struck out in ministry on my own, my dear friends John F. Rowell and Dr. Ron Crews did more of the same. Tagging along with these men, watching them work, and having them speak into my life has had more impact on

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me than any other experience in my life (with the exception of receiving Christ as my personal Savior). Of course, the idea of mentoring is not a new one. Jesus selected a small group of disciples and spent untold hours with them. And despite having Christ’s ultimate example of how we

should operate in personal m inistry, the busyness of life, the pride of the Flesh, emotional insecurities— among other issues, deter us from following Christ’s mentoring model. Second Timothy 2:2 says, “And the things that thou hast heard of m e among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” As a result of my experiences with personal discipleship, I have adopted this same commitment to II Timothy 2:2 in relating to my own children, employees, and staffers. Our ministry is built on this

apprenticeship or disciple-making model. W e try to bring people along— giving them greater and greater opportunities as faithfulness is demonstrated. W e stress humility, teachability and respect. Assuming a mentor is trustworthy and worthy of

emulation, this type of training is unquestionably superior to “book knowledge.” Along those same lines, I highly recommend that due

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diligence be performed on a potential mentor’s character and background before a young person is released into his or her tutelage. W e live in a perverted world. But mentoring does not have to be a long-term or rigorous commitment. Numerous apprenticeship opportunities require a

lower level of commitment. For example, m ost state legislators hire students to serve as their aides or assistants. This seasonal position usually lasts only as long as the legislature is in session;

nevertheless, these relatively brief experiences give the student intensive interaction with elected and non-elected government officials. Similarly, congressional campaigns usually have the

money to hire students that last 90-120 days of an election. These positions can also put the student in regular contact with the candidate. Your church might be a good place to look as well. Internships with a youth or college pastor are usually available in the summer. There are sometimes even opportunities for extended mission trips that put you under the direction of a missionary. Probably the m ost convenient, and most important,

mentoring opportunity is that of parent to child. I frequently take

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one of my own children or a friend with me on ministry trips or even while running errands. Conversations during these times can be very fruitful and life-changing. But more importantly, extended time together makes it possible for me to teach and train formally and informally about the need to develop a biblical worldview. Too often, as humans we believe we can invent a novel or easier means of accomplishing a given objective, but much of

effectiveness is sim ply making ourselves available and faithfully committing to execute a simple plan of attack. M ake time for

mentoring relationships in your life and God will bless your efforts.

Chapter Challenge 1. P ra y about a sk in g one so m e o n e of your in parents your or

comm unity— even

grandparents, to mentor you.

(Going through a

chapter of a book together each week can be fun and challenging). 2. Read The Lost Art of Disciple M aking (Leroy Eims, Zondervan Publishing Company, 1978). 3. M aybe you need to be someone else’s mentor. Consider challenging a younger person in the faith to meet with you on a weekly basis.

C HAPTER T EN

You Can Be an Expert

M
skill. intellect.

y family loves the G.A. Henty adventure books that my friend, Doug Phillips, sells through Vision

Forum. W e own practically the whole set. A common “device” in the books is a H enty lead character acquiring an expertise in some M aybe the skill is in language, marksmanship, oratory, or An additional quality found in most of Henty’s lead I don’t think

characters is faithfulness, even in the little things. these two qualities are unrelated.

One reason we like these books, I think, is because we vicariously enjoy someone who is proficient at a skill. I think we enjoy imagining ourselves as someone who rises to the occasion or creatively uses a skill to meet a challenge. But I also like the books because they contain a lesson for all of us: we are wise to become

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experts in one or two areas, and such expertise comes from being faithful in small things. Developing a “niche” skill can make you extremely valuable to employers, political campaigns, your church, and even your own family. should For example, I think virtually every student these days become an expert in using computer programs for

spreadsheets, databases, word processing and em ail.

If you are

really ambitious, tackle desktop publishing or graphic design software. W e live in the digital age of personal computing, and you

We are wise to become experts in one or two areas, and such expertise comes from being faithful in small things.
will consign yourself to mediocrity if you are not comfortable with using these productivity tools. The ability to speak in public is next on my list of “must have” skills. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of learning to communicate your faith, beliefs, and values in a one-to-one or group setting. The Apostle Peter wrote in I Peter 3:15 to “. . . be

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ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear . . . .” There are a variety of excellent ways to develop this skill: joining a cross-examination debate team, participating in a Toastmasters group, or competing in a m oot court program like the TeenPact Judicial Program (www.tpjudicial.org) are some examples. Programs like this force you to practice, which, in truth, is the only way to get better. W ith public speaking, it is easy to assume that we can never gain expertise simply because it doesn’t feel natural, but the reality is that even the most accomplished speakers get butterflies in their stomach at the thought of addressing a crowd of people. But I have seen hundreds of students dramatically improve their speaking abilities through participating in these types of programs. After computers and public speaking, pick something that really interests you and take that interest to the next level: try to master it. This interest might be raising horses, breeding dogs,

learning foreign languages, waxing cars, studying stars, teaching swimm ing, playing an instrument, drawing cartoons, painting pictures, photographing weddings, arranging flowers, mowing The list is never

lawns, editing books, or building furniture.

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ending, but the key is to become highly skilled at something. This pursuit of expertise will pay great dividends for you down the road. I remember a friend of mine who started, as a youngster, collecting half-dollar coins that were minted 1964 or before. He

would ride his skateboard from bank to bank on “bank row” in Atlanta buying all their half-dollar coins each morning. He would keep the coins with high silver content and sell the others back at face value. He had to rent a safe deposit box to hold them

eventually, and his interest in coins led to an interest in rare coins. Now, he is so good that people pay him to appraise their coin collections for insurance purposes. I consistently counsel students to seek God’s will and His calling on their lives. Specifically, I suggest that they ask God to direct them in the preparation that they need. By doing this, they will be ready for those “good works” that God has prepared ahead of time for them to walk in. (Eph. 2:10) So, if God is leading a person to the mission field, that person should be busy mastering language and cross-cultural skills. M aybe that person should

consider doing without luxuries and other “American” things to “buffet” their body and mind. (I Cor. 9:27) Learning to share the

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Gospel with foreigners, who are in America, would be a good idea as well.1 1 On the other hand, God might be calling a young person into law. Such a student m ight consider serving as a legislative aide or working in a law office during the summ er. Regardless, I highly recommend that students pursue an apprenticeship opportunity in a field of interest. Being mentored, learning about an “interest”

firsthand, and moving beyond “book knowledge” accelerates your acquisition of expertise.

Being mentored, learning about an “interest” firsthand, and moving beyond “book knowledge” accelerates your acquisition of expertise.
On the subject of apprenticing, it is the educational model at the center of all TeenPact programs. Our staffers mentor our

interns who then mentor our student staff. The entire experience

I recommend the ministry of International Students, Inc., for learning to share with international students who are in the U.S. See www.isionline.org for more info.

11

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for our students puts them in the middle of the action at their state capitol during a legislative session. W hat they see, the people they meet, and the spontaneous opportunities that occur on capitol grounds bring to life the lawmaking process more than any textbook ever could. For m e, inspiring students to be involved for a lifetime is my ultimate goal. That involvement is made even

more effective by having your skills honed, so that you bring a degree of excellence to every project you are involved in. I cannot close this chapter without emphasizing the importance of growing in the Faith. Too many of us are still

“infants” in regard to the things of God. (See I Cor. 3:1-3). Relying simply on Sunday school lessons to prepare you for the spiritual battles that loom ahead will leave you too vulnerable and unprepared. You must discipline yourself to do more. Let me

suggest a few things: first, ask someone— maybe a pastor or parent, to disciple you by taking you through a Bible study or Christian biography. Second, learn how to inductively study the Bible.

Especially helpful would be learning to use a Bible study computer tool like Online Bibleâ or BibleSoftâ. W ith this type of program,

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you can double-click on a word and the software pulls up the Greek or Hebrew equivalent with the original definitions. Learn to study entire books of the Bible and not just small portions, so you can get the full context. Next, consider going to a Bible college for a year before you attend a secular college (if that is your intent). Getting “grounded” in God’s W ord should be a priority for all Christians— especially in your teens. Finally, learn to share your faith. Completing a course like Evangelism Explosion, MasterLife or a similar training program will equip you for a lifetime. As believers, our first or fundamental area of “expertise” should be our Christian faith.

Chapter Challenge 1. M aster a com puter Bible study program or use tools like www.crosswalk.com. 2. Buy a G.A. Henty and note book the from expertise

www.visionforum.com developed by the hero. 3.

Pray about having someone meet with you on a weekly basis to help you further develop your targeted skills.

62 4.

R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP Begin an inductive, verse-by-verse study of the book of Acts.

C HAPTER E LEVEN

Why You Need to Know and Be Known by Elected Officials

I

f you ran into your state representative on the street, would you know him or her? M ore importantly, for the

purposes of this chapter, would he or she know you? W e conduct our TeenPact Four-day State Capitol classes because we want young people to see that legislators are just, well, regular folks. W e want them to meet and converse with their elected officials. Ideally, we want an ongoing relationship to begin. First, I want to emphasize that all legislators deserve some degree of respect and honor simply by virtue of the position they hold. Even if you totally disagree with an official’s political views, you are wise to build a relationship w ith them, pray for them, and speak kindly to them. W hy? Because the Bible commands us to

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pray for those in authority, (I Timothy 2:1-2), and lifting up those in positions of authority, even our political enemies, shows our Christ-like love for them. In addition, speaking kindly and treating elected officials with respect is not just a TeenPact distinctive, it is how the Bible teaches us to treat all persons. Though it might please our Flesh or “seem” right to treat certain politicians with disdain due to their personal or political faults, our hope must be in God and in the truth of His word. And practically speaking, angry Christians at

Speaking kindly and treating elected officials with respect is not just a TeenPact distinctive, it is how the Bible teaches us to treat all persons. Our hope must be in God and in the truth of His word.
the Capitol usually do not accomplish much (though anger and/or passion has its proper biblical role).

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That leads me to my second point: building a relationship with even your most bitter legislative enemy might pay off some day. Let me explain. The former governor of Georgia was pro-

abortion, pro-gay agenda, and fairly hostile to traditional family values. However, I began a friendship with him when he was a He was articulate, humorous and rather

state house member.

likeable. He was elected Governor of Georgia, and we continued to talk with him, honor him , and introduce our students to him. He even dropped in one night and spoke at a TeenPact banquet. During his administration, our Board of Regents for the state university system had developed a hostile admissions policy for homeschool students: specifically, the Board required that each homeschool applicant take seven— yes, seven, SAT2 subject tests and score at an “Ivy-League” level. This hurdle was unfair and

discriminating, but homeschoolers did not have the political muscle in the Democrat-controlled House and Senate to change it via legislation. So, I (along with others, I am sure) asked the Governor to use his political influence to correct the inequity. H e did! Even up until his defeat in the next election, he continued to be a friend of TeenPact. Unfortunately, m any Christians have a hard time

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working with people on anything if the person is not in “lockstep” with them on everything. This probably hurts us more than we

know. W e need to learn to build relationships with people and it may surprise us how often they will be willing to work with us. As scripture explains in I Chronicles 29:11-12, “This realm is [God’s] kingdom” and H e can turn the heart of the King (or President or Governor or Legislator). In 1994, the U.S. Congress was considering an omnibus education bill. Unfortunately, there

was an amendment passed in committee which required anyone teaching their own child to be certified in every subject they taught. Yikes! This bill, as amended, w ould have placed an enormous and unnecessary burden on families who chose to homeschool their children, with possible ramifications for private schools. quickly organized a lobbying trip of 45 people. So, I

One of the

congressional offices we visited was that of notoriously liberal Representative Cynthia M cKinney, an African-American Democrat from metro Atlanta. Rep. M cKinney was overtly hostile to

anything that resembled a Conservative public policy position. I will never forget going into her office accompanied by two African-American students from her district who were armed with a

R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP scrapbook, of all things. mementos, and sample

67 This scrapbook contained photos, schoolwork from African-American

homeschoolers. I decided to have the two young women do all the talking. After a five-minute appointment turned into a 30-minute

Unfortunately, some Christians have a hard time working with a person on anything if the person is not in “lock-step” with them on everything.
pow-wow, we emerged from the meeting as tears trickled down Rep. M cKinney’s cheek. She hugged the students and said

goodbye, and promised to vote against the anti-homeschooling amendment. And she did. Am azing! This congresswoman had

never met a black homeschooler and was completely unsympathetic to homeschooler’s concerns. However, with simple initiative and

gentle persuasion, a friend was made on that issue. As real citizens we must realize that elected officials are just people like you and me. M ost legislators serve for little pay at

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some sacrifice financially. These part-time public servants usually have a full-time job, not to m ention a family, back home in their district and comm uting between their competing duties is rarely feasible. If you will treat them the way you want to be treated,

take time to get to know them and their staff, and maybe volunteer in some capacity in their district office, you might be surprised at what you can accomplish. And as I tell my children, it is hard to win a person to Christ if you cannot even carry on a conversation with him. In closing, I have to give you a word of caution. Some

Christian activists in your state have more of an “attack dog” mentality and will dismiss this approach as too diplomatic or soft. Hopefully, they w ill learn from your example and eventual success. M ay God bless you as you honor Him in your future relationships with people in “high places.”

Chapter Challenge 1. Do a survey of a few Christian activists you know, and ask them for the “top five” potential enemies of Christian causes in your state legislature. Then, start praying for these officials and look for ways to cultivate relationships with them.

R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP 2.

69

Order an “adopt-a-leader” kit from the National Day of Prayer task force. Begin praying for those in authority on your list.

3.

Invite your state representative or state senator to your home to meet your family. Hint: this works better during an election cycle.

4.

Bonus:

do

#1

again

and

include

unelected

potential “political adversaries.” Begin praying for them as well.

C HAPTER T WELVE

Proximity to Power is Power

O
serve.

ne of the best ways to learn about leadership is to be near “real” leaders. “N ear,” in this context This may

means close enough for regular interaction with them .

surprise you, but in our culture, those closest to the “powerful” actually wield almost as much power as the person whom they Consequently, one of the things we try to teach young

people in TeenPact is that simply being close to those in power can give you a surprising degree of influence. Christians need more

influence— not less, and too often, we in the Christian com m unity not only are denied a “place at the table,” but we are not even “in the house,” so to speak.

72

R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP David, Joseph, and Nehemiah of old are illustrative of this

principle. By occupying a position of service to those in authority, they exerted considerable influence that subsequently impacted families of their day. If you ever go to W ashington, and walk through the House Office Buildings, you will see “twenty-somethings” running

congressional offices.

These aides, staffers, and interns make up

the layers that separate mem bers of Congress from those seeking to influence them. These young people are the gatekeepers. W e encourage graduates of our state capitol program to consider becoming a staffer for a representative or senator in their hom e state’s legislature. capitols and seen I have walked in offices at some state

a former TeenPact student sitting at the

representative’s desk, answering his phone, responding to his constituents and deciding who gets an appointment and who does not. TeenPact graduates have had the opportunity to research and draft amendments to bills that subsequently get voted into law. In one instance, a TeenPact student’s mock bill was taken up by a

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73

sitting state senator and adopted into law.1 2 Hundreds of TeenPact students have received national attention for their work in a successful campaign, and as students get close to those in power, they gain influence. W hen used properly, the influence can pave the way for biblical and traditional family values to be reflected in public policy. One bit of caution is in order, however. Lord Acton, a

British historian of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, is famous for stating, “Power tends to corrupt; and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” 1 3 As a person begins to lust for power and influence, he or she will be tempted to make detrimental compromises. W ashington is awash with “intern” stories of young people who sacrificed their integrity to climb the ladder. And, there are those in authority who will take advantage of young people and their desire to gain influence. One should exercise extreme caution

Chris Cottrell from Arizona had his bill hiking the bail rates of certain criminal offenses taken up by Senator Dean M artin and then signed into law by the Governor of Arizona after passing the Senate and House. 13 For more on Lord Acton and his writings, visit www.acton.org.

12

74 the closer you get to power.

R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP Carefully research the person or

persons you plan to work for to make sure they have a good nam e and reputation. Have accountability partners who can keep an eye on you and ask tough questions. Find a like-minded Christian near your job location and encourage each other when possible. tide of moral compromise begins to pull some out to sea. willing to walk away if inappropriate situations arise. In the sense that proximity to power is power, we need right-th inking people— young and old, near law m akers, The Be

policymakers and their staffs, to ensure that our priorities are addressed and our ideas are considered.

Chapter Challenge 1. Review the stories of Nehemiah, D aniel, and Joseph, taking note of the influence they had as a result of their proximity to power. 2. Ask around about Christian legislators at your state capitol who might allow you to intern (N ote: pay is, at best, limited to a small stipend). 3. Become a regular volunteer at your local

congressman’s district office.

R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP 4.

75

Select a candidate with character and volunteer regularly in his or her campaign.

C HAPTER T HIRTEEN

Activism Begins at Home

I
holding a

t has been said that politics is “showbiz” for ugly people. And most people can appreciate the allure of office or having a vast amount of

prestigious

governmental resources at your disposal.

W hile some of you

reading this book are champing at the bit to obtain one of these important jobs, others of you are intimidated by the aura that surrounds such people or positions. But it is crucial that any

person who aspires to have a great influence in our culture understand that the best place to get involved is in your local community. This principle is one reason I start training students at their own state capitol instead of the daunting city of W ashington, D.C. Not only does this discourage them from overlooking the

opportunities that are more “local,” but when students go to their

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state capitol, and meet state legislators, government becomes m ore familiar and less intimidating. This effect is amplified when a

student is involved with a city council or county commission. The problem with starting your “civics” education in W ashington is that Capitol Hill is so complex (I still get lost in the basements of those buildings myself). You rarely see your own

member of Congress and you leave the city feeling like you have to be a millionaire to get elected to the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate. On the other hand, going to one’s state capitol for four to five days leaves students feeling like they “own the place.” And the reality is, we do kind of own it, don’t we? M y goal at TeenPact is for students to leave a capitol class saying something like, “M y dad (or mom ) could be a state representative!” I want students to see that such positions are

attainable. I want students to leave the capitol at the end of the week believing that Christians not only need to be in many of these positions, but can reasonably aspire, plan, and work to attain them in God’s time. Another aspect of this principle is plain ol’ supply and demand. Students who get involved with local cam paigns for

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“lower” offices can be assigned significant roles. I have seen young people given the opportunity to run campaigns for state house and mayoral races. The experience gained gives these students a

lifetime of ambition to influence government. Indeed, one of the first few interns in our program, Stacie Stone, actually ran for the State House in Georgia at only 21 years of age. M any Christians are frustrated that our culture’s mores are moving away from biblical standards. W e go to the polls to vote and have to choose between the “lesser of two evils.” This should not be so. To see more immediate impact, get involved on a local level. W hen we moved to Norcross, Georgia, just after leaving the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ, our little town of 5,000 people had a five-member city council, a mayor and a $10 million budget. A council seat came open and I helped persuade a friend to run. This fine Christian man did not exactly fit your small-southerntown profile of a councilm an. H e was a recent immigrant with a non-native-sounding name; he was a hairdresser by trade and had been a drug dealer prior to becoming a Christian. I offered to be his campaign manager, and the fun began.

80

R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP W e bought a voting list from our county registrar, analyzed

it, and then mailed personal, handwritten notes to everyone who had voted in the last three elections. Surprisingly, that turned out to be only around 700 people. Yes, 700! I discovered that most people were apathetic, uninvolved and uninformed. W e won that election with just over 250 votes, defeating a candidate who had previously served six terms on the council. M y friend wound up serving two terms, and God used the experience to teach us many things. M y family and friends learned about tax rates, zoning laws, mosquito eradication and constituent services as we rallied around “our” councilman. And I concluded from the experience that God was leading me to launch TeenPact. Your local church is perhaps the most local community you belong to. If you are like me, you attend church with people you would consider pretty conscientious. I think it would really

surprise you how many people in your church do not vote. You would likely be even more surprised to see how many of them aren’t even registered to vote. Apathy has crept into the pews today and many Christians have succumbed to the lie that they are not

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81

needed in the “culture war.” That is one reason we are losing the culture war. Aside from your immediate family, your local church is the first community you should begin to influence toward real

citizenship. Generally, all that is needed is a little initiative and a servant’s heart. M y friend, Nancy Schaefer, began what she called a “Family Concerns Committee” in her church because she was concerned about what was happening in the culture w ar and the impact on the family. Through that vehicle, she kept church

members and staff informed of im portant legislative goings-on in her state, the U.S. Capitol, and even the United Nations. Nancy’s committee idea grew, and other churches followed suit. Through her encouragement, many churches have mobilized their members toward real citizenship. Georgia State Senate. M aybe you could exercise leadership to begin something like a Family Concerns committee in your church. These Nancy has since been elected to the

committees usually m eet once a month, have a short program and cost very little to operate. Another great idea is to conduct a voter registration drive in your church. Young people can help staff a

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table and you will likely have 10% to 20% of your congregation register. Through this initiative you make it easy for them to be a better citizen. Some have had success at asking their pastors to mention a particular public policy issue at significant times during the year. For example, many churches observe a “Sanctity of Life” Sunday in January around the anniversary of Roe v. W ade. 1 4 You could also feature something on “Christian Action” around the time of an election or near the Fourth of July. Sometimes, a pastor will be hesitant to speak out on political issues—especially during the Sunday morning service. Although some pastors’ concerns are based on a misunderstanding of the law and although there are resources to give clarity to the issue, it is best not to pressure your church leadership. 1 5 You can offer to play a role of keeping members informed of important issues affecting the Body of Christ at large. M aybe you can make

Roe v. W ade is the infamous 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that effectively legalized abortion in all 50 states. The decision was announced by the Supreme Court on January 22, 1973. 15 The Alliance Defense Fund (alliancedefensefund.org) and American Center for Law and Justice (aclj.org) are examples of helpful resources on this point.

14

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83

announcements in Sunday school classes, set up an information table, or even produce a church-wide newsletter. M y church owns a radio station, so I volunteered to do daily reports on the station during the legislative session for their local newscast. It is only 45 seconds of air time, but it is a simple way I can keep believers informed about issues before the state and federal legislatures. I am always on the lookout for potential political

candidates in my church as w ell. M aybe you have someone who would make a good mayor, city councilman or state officeholder. Challenge them to run and offer to be on their team. Getting involved in campaigns and politics on a local level is the first overt step to making an impact on your culture. I hope you will begin today!

Chapter Challenge 1. Go to your city council or county comm ission meeting. Afterwards, go up and introduce yourself to each of the elected officials. 2. Participate in a program like TeenPact, City on a Hill, Student Statesmanship Institute or a similar local Christian program on government.

84 3.

R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP Sign up to work in the campaign of a good candidate for a local, state, or federal office. Volunteer on a regular basis for best results. The Student Project program, which I conduct separately from TeenPact, is also a great experience. www.studentproject.net). 4. Call your county registrar and ask for details about conducting church. 5. Start a Family Concerns Comm ittee, Right-to-Life chapter or similar group at your church after conferring with your church staff. a voter registration drive at your (See

C HAPTER F OURTEEN

Don’t Be Threatened by a Little Competition

A
“competing”

s you are developing into a leader and fine-tuning your own ministry, you may be discouraged by organizations or even individuals who seem

threatened by your success. territorial we are as Christians.

I am constantly amazed at how The idea of a little competition

scares some people to the point where they can be downright ugly. Being a fan of free-market economic theory, I am

convinced that competition can bring out the best in us and can help us to more efficiently allocate scarce resources in the face of an immense challenge. W e need more churches and more ministries carrying the standard for real citizenship. W e need more people

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sharing the Gospel and more like-minded people running for elected office. Though our Flesh wants to have a monopoly on

whatever we are doing, practically speaking that inclination is usually counterproductive. Economics aside, most believers would acknowledge that we are called to regard others as more important than ourselves, (Phil. 2:3-5) and to concern ourselves more with God’s glory and purposes than with our own. So, while we may not need to be

convinced that we should do things “God’s way,” we often need to be reminded of that fact.

While Christians may not need to be convinced that we should do things “God’s way,” we often need to be reminded of that fact.
In TeenPact, we had a ministry in California that would write and call us once a year asking us not to bring our program to their state. “You are not needed,” they would say, “You might

jeopardize our legislative agenda by bringing those kids into the

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87

Capitol.” Because I am convinced of the need to be a team player and really want to be a blessing to Christians in states where we work, we have not entered that state yet. W e keep asking God to provide clear leadership and give us “favor” by opening all doors necessary for expansion. A frank discussion of turf wars in the Body of Christ is necessary because I believe that each of us can play a peacemaking role and take the lead in creating more of a “team environment” for our work. The ability to “compete” in a friendly manner is a

crucial character trait and is not limited to “pee wee” sports. W hen we see other Christians as a threat to us, it often stirs up the Flesh and results in disunity within the Body. Obviously, such conflict is not attractive to those outside the Church. I highly recommend the Peacemaker series from Ken Sande at Peacemakers M inistries. 1 6 One high-ranking official in the George W . Bush administration employs the principles put forth by M r. Sande. This official has told me, on more than one occasion, that m uch of his day-to-day activity involves helping people work out

16

See www.peacemakerministries.org.

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their differences. If a student learns these principles and begins to apply them now, he or she will be better-equipped for God’s future use. At first it may only be within families and peers, but as they (and we) are faithful, God will expand our influence and our ability to bring peace amidst conflict. After all, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” (M atthew 5:9)

Chapter Challenge 1. Examine your life ask for broken to or damaged you any

relationships and

God

show

necessary action steps. 2. Read Ken Sande’s book, The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict (Baker Books, 2004). 3. Have a frank discussion with your pastor about “turf wars” in the Body of Christ, and ask your pastor what you can do to promote unity within your church.

C HAPTER F IFTEEN

Slow Judicial Tyranny

W

hen is the last time you read about a Federal judge being impeached? Never? That’s w hat I

thought. And while it is possible and has occurred in the past, it is a very infrequent event.1 7 Because its members are literally

appointed for life, the Federal judiciary is the least responsive and least accountable sector of government. Of course, the non-

democratic character of the Federal judiciary would be less significant if more judges acknowledged their constitutionallyprescribed role of interpreting legislative intent rather than

legislating from the bench. Unfortunately, without ethical restraint on the part of judges, and without the feasibility of impeachment,

One modern example is the impeachment of Federal District Judge Alcee L. Hastings in 1988, who, in an ironic turn of events, was elected in 1993 by the citizens of M iami to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.

17

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the best plan to m ake sure that good people end up on the Federal bench is to make sure there is a pool of qualified prospects from which an adm inistration can choose when making judicial

nominations.1 8

It is crucial to make the judiciary a long-term priority and to encourage a figurative judicial “farm team.”
As we adopt such a plan, we must realize that the judicial branch, more than any of the three branches of our government, is least conducive to meteoric rises to the top. W hy is that so?

Probably because there are certain professional prerequisites to being a judge, while any person may conceivably serve in the other branches as long as they meet basic age and residence

requirements. But regardless of the causes, it is crucial to make the

18

Incidentally, there also must be enough U.S. Senators willing to confirm those nominees, and that is one reason you often see so much energy, time and money invested in senate elections.

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91

judiciary a long-term priority and to encourage a figurative judicial “farm team.” The vast majority of lower court and non-federal judges are elected— this includes trial court judges and appellate court judges. These judicial candidates are attorneys, most of whom have never before run for elected office. And while judicial elections are candidates most definitely

characteristically non-partisan, the

approach the job w ith political views, philosophical convictions, and character strengths or weaknesses. You might not think the

office of local trial judge is that important, but such offices provide important experience: experience that might put a person in better standing for advancement within the judiciary of your state or position him or her for an appointm ent to the Federal bench. In addition, such jobs can even help them acquire “name recognition” for future political races. 1 9 Aside from the professional prerequisites mentioned above, judicial politics is similar to legislative politics— both usually are

19

For a scholarly treatment of the judicial process, see David Barton’s, Original Intent: The Courts, The Constitution and Religion (W allbuilder Press, 3 rd ed., 2004), available at www.wallbuilders.org

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stair-step in progression. A simple formula for judicial politics is as follows: good lawyering + politics = a judgeship. M aybe you

know of a good attorney who might make a good judge. To qualify as a candidate, such a person simply must have several years of practicing law, pay a qualifying fee, and then, of course, be willing to campaign for the seat. The same principles that apply to other campaigns apply here: develop your message, identify your voters, and get them out to vote on Election Day. 2 0 And because these

people need help to get elected; you can participate as a campaign manager, as one of many committed volunteers or as a financial supporter. Unfortunately, most people cast their vote for a judge with little or no interest or information on the matter. Christian

conservatives need to be proactive in our efforts to move good lawyers into judicial politics. judicial tyranny recede. Only then w ill w e begin to see

20

The Leadership Institute in Arlington, Virginia offers some of the best campaign schools I know of. Find out more about them at www.leadershipinstitute.org.

R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP Chapter Challenge 1.

93

Think of five Christian attorneys you know, and ask them for their opinion of the current state of the judiciary. If you don’t know any Christian

attorneys, ask your pastor for some names. 2. Go to www.aclj.org and look at current cases being handled by Jay Sekulow and the other attorneys at the ACLJ. 3. Call your local county voter registration office and ask when the next judicial elections will take place. 4. Go to www.tpjudicial.org and find out about TeenPact Judicial’s Summer camps.

C HAPTER S IXTEEN

Help! More Christian Journalists Needed

I

used to relentlessly criticize and complain about the M edia. That is until I started my ow n tiny, semi-

weekly capitol newspaper in Georgia. And while we only operated that paper during one legislative session (I have also served as a capitol reporter for two different Christian radio stations), I began to appreciate the challenges of producing a publication of any size: keeping good help, meeting deadlines, and managing the ongoing costs, to name a few. W hile I agree that journalists have an ethical obligation to be honest in their reporting, I have concluded that if you are hiring the reporters, paying the rent and buying the proverbial ink, then you have the right to determine the point of

96 view from which you report the news.

R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP Unfortunately, the “Big

Three” Networks try to pretend they are unbiased. Another turning point in my attitude about the M edia was the result of a talk by M ike Farris, of the H ome School Legal Defense Association (“H SLDA”), to a TeenPact National Convention. In his speech, Farris described the importance of viewing writers,

reporters, and editors as individuals.

W hile campaigning to

become Lt. Governor of Virginia, M ike reaped the benefits of “fair and balanced” reporting of his campaign, but it wasn’t because the journalists covering his campaign were ideologically different than journalists anywhere else in the country. Rather, it was primarily because M ike took the time to extend common courtesies to the journalists covering his campaign. Indeed, even when dealing with members of the M edia, we are not exempt from demonstrating a Christ-like attitude and proper respect. In light of these principles, I believe we need to complain less about the M edia and concentrate more on getting Christian conservatives to become reporters, photographers, and even owners of media outlets. Nevertheless, I’m very concerned about the lack of Christian young people even aspiring to enter the field of

R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP journalism.

97

How can we really expect to see a more “Christian-

friendly” media when we have little or no stream of talented young people heading that way? A pro-traditional-values media will not just happen. W e must encourage more of our young people to

pursue journalism as a career. Further, if we are constantly criticizing or complaining about the M edia, our children and others around us are likely to

A “fair and balanced” media will not just happen. We must encourage more of our young people to pursue journalism as a career.
assume that we view the field of journalism to be sordid or unsuitable for a Christian. Incidentally, this is exactly what has

happened regarding the field of politics in general. Believers view politics as “dirty,” full of compromise and incompatible with the Christian life. In actuality, journalism is a much safer field in that regard. H ow often do you see a reporter attacked for his personal views? How many times have you seen a media personality

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dragged through the mud? Not too often; but it happens all the time in politics. Not unlike Academia, the field of journalism is largely hostile territory for Christian conservatives. Accordingly, w e must make sure young journalists are ready for the opposition they will face. I highly recommend that students with a journalistic bent

attend the W orld Journalism Institute or the TeenPact M edia Training camp in Colorado Springs. 2 1 These programs are two examples of conservative training programs for budding Christian journalists. M edia professionals like Cal Thomas, Pat Robertson, and Janet Parshall are too rare. And publications like W orld M agazine are even rarer. If we are going to change mainstream media, we

must send some of our best and brightest into the newspaper rooms, radio booths and TV studios around the country.

21

See www.worldji.com for the latest schedule of classes. Our friends at W orld Magazine founded this program. Find out about the TeenPact M edia Course at tpmedia.org.

R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP Chapter Challenge 1.

99

W rite a letter to the editor of your local paper about an issue that concerns you. and to the point. Keep it short

Better yet, write your letter

specifically addressing an article, op/ed or letter recently printed in the paper. 2. Call your local Christian radio station and ask to volunteer in some capacity so that you can learn more about broadcasting. 3. Subscribe to W orld to learn M agazine more (see a

www.worldmag.com)

about

Christian perspective in the news. 4. Consider attending the W orld Journalism Institute, TeenPact M edia Training, or the Focus on the Family Institute (see www.family.org). 5. Read W hy You Can’t Stay Silent (Tyndale House Publishers, 2002) written by Tom M innery who is an ex-journalist and current vice-president of Public Policy at Focus on the Family. Pray about letting

your voice be heard in some capacity.

C HAPTER S EVENTEEN

The Preeminence of Christ

A
permeate our

s Christians, our loyalty to Christ should trump everything, including loyalty to our country and even Therefore, knowing and honoring Christ

loyalty to our family.

should go to the top of our priority list as Christians and should every decision. This is the concept of “Lordship.” W e serve Him, not the

Jesus is not our genie or cosmic Santa.

other way around, and we too often selectively apply this principle. But guess what! Jesus wants all of us. If you are uncomfortable with this concept, you might want to look into another religion. Biblically, there is no other option. One of the snares awaiting politically-active Christians is the temptation to assign more loyalty to a political party than to Jesus and His precepts. Party politics can become a religion unto

102 itself.

R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP Indeed, political parties covet your time, talents and

treasures. That said, I should tell you that at press time I am very involved in the Republican Party, and there are areas where my faith and party loyalty come into conflict. The bottom line is that I am politically active to promote a biblical worldview in political campaigns, legislative chambers and on battlefields of the culture war. Any party involvement or other affiliation that I have must help to further that agenda in the long term. Note that I said “long term.” There are instances where I support a measure that is at least arguably “neutral.” That support, however, usually procures for me greater leverage in lobbying on behalf of issues that I have strong convictions about. Therefore, strategically supporting For

certain neutral issues can benefit your core objectives.

example, maybe you decide to support creation of a bike path in your community. In m ost instances, this is not a “biblical issue”; however, your vocal support of this arguably amoral initiative could allow you to be part of a coalition w ith certain individuals (e.g., environmentalist-types) with whom you may disagree on many issues. Such a collaboration can give you influence and favor which

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103

could come into play later on as other issues of deeper concern to you are considered (e.g., H om eschool or private education issues). This kind of strategic thinking is too rare in the Christian political community. Sometimes our people are so passionate, so narrowly focused or so “black and white” on issues, that we are unable to see the value in coalition building. As a result, we often lose important legislative battles or guarantee that traditional family values will be shut out of the discussion. W e can change that with common-

sense resolve to look for ways to work with others. Speaking of black and white, let me say a word about the importance of racial coalitions in the Christian com m unity. Too

often, black Christians and white Christians are pitted against one another in political battles. For people who plan on spending

eternity together, this should not be the case. As fellow Christians, we should make an extraordinary effort to understand the issues important to our respective communities, and when possible, show up to support one another. For example, blacks and whites came together in 2004 on the traditional marriage issue wielding influence beyond that of any single political party. Imagine the

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impact men and women of faith will have when we exhibit this kind of cooperation on other areas of importance to Christians.

Chapter Challenge 1. Think of an issue that might be considered

“biblically neutral” in your state and ponder what coalitions might be built by your involvement. 2. Check out the party platforms of the Republican, Democratic and Constitutional Parties at their respective national websites. See w hich of the

parties best reflects your biblical convictions. 3. Consider m aking a contribution to a political party or candidate to show your support. 4. Read Garland Hunt's book, "The M andate: A Call to Biblical Unity," available through TeenPact by calling 1-888-343-1776.

C HAPTER E IGHTEEN

Developing Your Family Name

M
citizenship.

y purpose in writing this book was to inspire others, particularly young people, to aspire to real

One byproduct of such a pursuit is that you, and

perhaps your family, will be a pillar in your “city” or community. But how can you help ensure that this pursuit doesn’t begin and end with you? I believe it is by seeking to cultivate a “good” family name. M y longtime mentor, Truett Cathy, signs his books with Proverbs 22:1: “A good name is rather to be chosen than great

riches . . . .” M r. Cathy invented (as he likes to say) the chicken sandwich and is probably the most generous person I have ever

106 known.2 2

R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP As a result of years of Truett Cathy’s faithfulness to

Christ and stellar success in the business world, the Cathy name is now synonymous with generosity, integrity and quality in the State of Georgia and beyond. Have you ever thought about your family name and what it means to others? M aybe it is tainted by the actions of a relative up the family tree. that. Regardless, you have an opportunity to change

You can prayerfully seek wisdom from God on what you

want your name to stand for. Joseph Kennedy distinguished his family name as well as anyone in America. Granted, his family name is now synonymous with liberalism and personal tragedy, but Joe Kennedy undoubtedly imparted to his nine children, his grandchildren and even his great grandchildren a vision for their family. They have ascended to the heights in American government propelled by Joe Kennedy’s vision, and he built the family into a dynasty of sorts. It wasn’t always that way. The Kennedy family bond was forged when it was

unpopular to be Catholic in Boston— they encouraged each other

22

Buy his book at any Chick-fil-a store or by calling 404-765-8000. Ask for an autographed copy.

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and were committed to see those with the Kennedy name persevere and succeed. They worked to establish a legacy for their name, and now they guard it tenaciously. I challenge you to do the same. Talk to your parents,

grandparents and other relatives on both sides of your family to find out exceptional character qualities in som e of your

descendants. Look for patterns, traits, achievements and blessings from God which are manifested in your family history. Also,

consider qualities you would hope w ill be synonymous with your family name. M aybe God will use you or your offspring to

continue or even initiate godly qualities. I am grateful for the heritage passed to m e on both sides of my family. entrepreneurs. M y dad, granddad, and great granddad were all Their encouragement and mentoring of me

throughout m y childhood and teen years produced in me a capability to try new things, overcome obstacles and compete tirelessly. On my mom’s side, I gained the “Tum lin” fun-loving M y grandpa

attitude that is so prominent at family gatherings.

Tumlin is a man of integrity and character and always encouraged me to stake the “moral high ground” in word and deed.

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R EA L C ITIZEN SH IP M y challenge to you is to discover or develop a family

mission statement.

Seek God for the purpose H e has for your

family. Then, set your sights to accomplish that purpose. It will require planning, preparing, and continuing to seek God for refinem ent, insight, and help; but it will help determine whether or not you leave a legacy of real citizenship. God bless your efforts!

Chapter Challenge 1. Look around your church and community and note families of great influence or integrity. Set up a

meeting with a member of the fam ily and inquire about their family nam e and any influence they have had to make their name what it is today. I think you’ll be surprised that it is no accident. 2. Interview your own relatives to discover the same about your family. 3. Read a book on dynastic families like the Bush family, Kennedy family or John Adams family. Note things they did to develop their family names. 4. Seek God about how He wants you to develop your family name. At the same time, consider if there

are aspects of your fam ily’s history that need to change. Record all this in a journal.

To order more copies of the book, contact TeenPact at 1-888-343-1776, or visit us on-line at www.teenpact.com.