By Jeff Ziegler
Published May 1, 2001
How to Build a Christian Political Farm Team
The great dynasties of Major League Baseball have always maintained supremacy of the ball diamond through the development of supportive minor league teams, more commonly referred to as the farm system. When properly supported, the farm team-minor league organization cultivates young talent that can be employed for the “big leagues” when the need arises or a position has opened up. This is an inherently “bottom-up” approach which, in the long term, provides a particular franchise with stability and success.
In the political world, success is measured in the terms of victories, from which the projection of power determines policy. Even if one desires to decentralize and restrict political power, such policies must at some point be enacted from a position of authority. In order to achieve that influence, one must field candidates, win races, and control political parties at the local level. Unfortunately, most politically active Christians think in terms which cripple any long term development of local “talent.” Such talent could be called upon to cogently represent the claims of Christ in the “big leagues” of civil discourse and policy making.
In America, politically active Christians are eerily uniform in their reactive response to negative and sinful national trends. They are very good at the point of protest, and can marshal grass roots outrage on the national stage. Yet, even when victorious at blunting an onerous policy, such obsessions with all things national brings a woeful neglect to the gateways of political influence at the local level. This negligence ensures that explicitly Christian candidates are not developed. Therefore, the saints are nearly always left outside the political process, first at the local level, and then in the larger arenas. Local political farm systems support the development of national candidates. Yet, as most Christians hold to a “top-down” approach that deleteriously ignores such foundations, the saints are marginalized as protestors with little, if any, bite. Indeed, if I had a dime for every sincere saint who said something akin to, “I don’t care about this local stuff…look at what Clinton is doing to the nation,” I would be a very wealthy man.
When you add the varied conspiracy theories to the milieu, the saints are at a huge disadvantage. “Success” is deemed impossible in that even if some measured advance is noted, “the conspiracy,” either real or imagined, will succeed in thwarting any meaningful advance. Hence, local politics is seen as naive and without hope for promotion.
A Dominion Attitude
A dominion attitude rejects defeatist notions, and embraces long term biblical strategies which ensure a “little by little” conversion, or defeat, of entrenched political adversaries. Some of these strategies include:
- Training explicitly Christian candidates in issues of civil polity, campaigns, and theology.
- Building campaign organizations that are not dependent on the party; that is, a self-sustaining entity at every level of campaign involvement.
- Training precinct committeemen for party service. Concentration is on trained Christians who look to control the executive committee and various other committees (finance, public relations, candidate recruitment, etc.) with an eventual Christian party chairman.
- Running races at local and state levels; for instance, zoning boards, city council, county offices, health boards, school boards, state representative, etc.
Involvement in vital peripheral organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce.
- Discipleship of existing civil magistrates.
- Committees of correspondence and phone/email/fax networks to bring public pressure to bear on various issues.
- Cultivation of personal relationships with newspaper reporters. Lunch and dinner go a long way in helping to control your own press and keeping your name in the public eye for free.
- Using antithesis both in campaigns and in marketing to help define the battlefield in the community.
- After sufficient control is established in one local county party, branching out into the contiguous counties within the same congressional district.
- Encouraging Christian independents to run for non declarative races (city council) so as to raise up an alternative group of candidates that can assert pressures from outside the main parties.
- Start National Reform Association “open houses” in public libraries to educate and recruit new members.
The average Reformed church has a membership of approximately 190 people. If each church represented on the National Reform Association mailing list were able to activate 10% of their parishioners toward service in the civic realm, a great political force would arise.
The old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” may not be universally true. However, it does help to serve the purpose of this article. Illustrated here is a cross-section of men from Shiloh Christian Church in Leroy Township, Ohio. Their involvement spans five contiguous counties and is expanding. They represent approximately 10% of the total membership. May this short treatise, with an introduction of the “Shiloh farm team” along with the positions that are held, give practical inspiration for what can be done at the local level to enforce “The Crown Rights of Christ.”
Your comments are welcome!
With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?
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