Bartons: Pastors and Churches Can Impact Local Government May 27, 2021 | Truth & Liberty Staff Many Christians follow the news about what is happening at the national level, with the presidency, Congress, and Supreme Court, and get discouraged. How can believers make a stand for biblical truth and restore this nation to its foundational values? Tim and David Barton of WallBuilders recently addressed this question at a Citizens Academy held at Charis Bible College in Woodland Park, Colorado. The Bartons detailed the tradition of local engagement by pastors, churches, and individual believers in American history. The academy was a biblical-citizenship event that encouraged Christians to get involved and take responsibility for their communities. “Where the nation is now, there’s a lot of problems, a lot of issues,” says Tim Barton, President of WallBuilders. “We need Christians to be part of the solution.” Turning to a Local Focus According to the Bartons, the local level is where citizens can have the most impact on policies and issues that affect their day-to-day lives. Involvement in local government builds a strong foundation for change in America. “One of the things we have to . . . change is our mindset,” says Tim Barton. “We have way too much attention and obsession with a national focus.” According to Tim Barton, the flood of information about national issues like government-mandated lockdowns, restrictions on worship, and the LGBTQ agenda, coming from mainstream and social media can be overwhelming. It can paralyze people and make them feel as though there is nothing an individual can do to stop radical leftist activism. Revolutionary Roots In the early battles of the Revolutionary War, merchants, tradesmen, and farmers rose up and responded to British attacks on their communities. These patriots did not look to General George Washington or the Continental Army for help, but instead met local challenges directly. According to David Barton, the battle of Lexington is an example of residents, specifically a church, taking responsibility for their own community, standing up for their own rights, and resisting the British invasion. “Rev. Jonas Clark got the guys out of his church and said, ‘It’s our town, we’ve got it, we’ll take care of that,” says David Barton, the Wallbuilders founder. According to the Bartons, those men showed how Christians can secure a national victory through local initiatives. Pastors were significantly important in rallying, recruiting, and responding to the British – and they are equally as important in today’s fight against leftist radicalism. The Pastor’s Power Pastors in Colonial America were able to mobilize their churches because they ministered beyond heaven-and-hell issues – they taught their congregations the biblical response to current events and everyday concerns. Clark, for example, had been teaching his men the biblical position on war and self-defense in the time leading up to the British invasion. By the time the Redcoats marched into Lexington, Clark’s men were ready to respond and able to resist the attacks of the enemy because they were rooted and grounded in the Word of God. Capt. John Parker was so convinced of the biblical principles taught by Clark, that he told the other citizen-soldiers, “Stand your ground, don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war let it begin here.” Courageous pastors preached the Gospel and taught biblical truth to their congregations, rallying them to fight for American independence, and making their churches the local focus for national change. There Is Opportunity for Change Today, according to the Bartons, statistical voting patterns among the electorate show troubling trends. About two-thirds of American adults are registered to vote. Traditionally, just over half of registered voters participate in presidential elections, and less than 40 percent vote during midterm congressional elections. In local elections – county boards, city councils, school boards, and the like – voter turnout is dramatically lower. “At the local level, about 6 percent of registered voters vote,” says David Barton.” Only about 4 percent of adults are voting, and of 4 percent of adults voting, half of that will win the election. So you’re looking at most local elections being won with 2 percent of adults in the community voting.” For example, in California – where churches and small businesses suffered during government-mandated lockdowns– the Democrat mayor of Los Angeles was elected by less than 3 percent of registered voters. How could things have been different in the nation’s second-largest city if Christians had mobilized and simply voted? In traditionally conservative Fort Worth, Texas, the local school board instituted policies to eliminate gender-specific restrooms and locker rooms. That initiative was promoted at the federal level by the Obama Administration, spreading unbiblical principles to communities nationwide. “When you look at Fort Worth, they are a city of 800,000 – the president of the school board was elected with less than 1,200 votes,” says David Barton. “Look around where that president of the school board got elected from – there was a single church in his district that had more than 3,000 adults.” The whole issue over gender identity and school facilities could have been stopped dead in its tracks at the local level if only one pastor had taught the congregation on biblical principles of gender and community responsibility. In contrast, a woman in Bentonville, Arkansas, worked to stop similar policies in her community by running for a seat on the school board. In a district of 40,000 people, she was elected in a race where only 35 total votes were cast. With a local focus, communities become healthy from the “bottom up,” says David Barton, changing the nation and sparking revivals. If Christians stand for biblical truth, get involved in their communities and schools, and participate in local government, America will reclaim its greatness and restore its foundational values. “Focus on fixing where you are, where God has planted you, where you have influence,” says Tim Barton. “Fix this, and then let it ripple out to reach the nation.” Learn More Watch the full session from Citizens Academy. Explore the Truth & Liberty website, and visit our Research Center for great practical resources. Also, learn how you can become a Truth & Liberty Coalition member and join us in standing for truth in the public square.