Responses to the November Evangelical Leaders Survey question — What are the needs of the American church in a post-election season? — reveal several common themes: remember Jesus is Lord, focus on evangelism, heal personally and heal communally. However, the most resounding necessity of the church, according to evangelical leaders, is to commit to unity.
“The lines of division have never been so wide in our country. Polarization is like powerful magnets throughout our ideological spectrum. They pull us apart and clump us into tribes. We have a hard time breaking away from the magnetic security of being with like-minded people, who reinforce our like-mindedness. Efforts to move towards others must labor against that pull,” says Walter Kim, president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE).
President of Evangelical Free Church, Kevin Kompelien, reminds us what Paul said in Ephesians 4:1-3. “Refocus on the mission of God for the church in the world and His desire that we make every effort to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.”
Carla Sunberg, general superintendent of Church of the Nazarene reassures the Church there is room for all people across the political spectrum. “[We must] be committed to unity as God’s people. Unity as God’s people is achieved by holding our different views up to God’s truth through loving, gracious and humble conversations. Leadership must serve as responsible servants of our Lord and the church, by creating space for dialogue and graciously setting expectations for God’s people regarding humility, curiosity and respect in such conversations.”
“Healing; the ability to reach across divisions between evangelicals; show, in tangible ways, how Christians can have differing political ideas, but remain in relationship with each other and work together for the kingdom,” is what will lead to a better witness to the world, according to Kimberly Reisman, executive director of World Methodist Evangelism.
Commissioner Kenneth Hodder, national commander of The Salvation Army said, “Our country is in desperate need of unity. Without it, America will be unable to tackle the enormous challenges that so many people now face. I believe that there is no better means of creating that unity than to proclaim the gospel in both word and deed. So, my prayer is that we will see this moment as an unparalleled opportunity to be the redemptive community that Christ called us to be.”
The Evangelical Leaders Survey is a monthly poll of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals. They include the CEOs of denominations and representatives of a broad array of evangelical organizations including missions, universities, publishers and churches.