Perry Noble is a pastor at NewSpring Church. He shared his very real story of overcoming anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts in his book and sermon series “Overwhelmed.” On this episode of the ChurchLeaders podcast, Perry shared with key thoughts on how pastors can lead well through this political season.
How do you lead your people well during an election season?
“I tell people, especially in the Southeastern part of the United States. If you want to start a war, talk about college football, Jesus, or politics. If you combine any two of these, there is a lot of emotion around those subjects. And so, I always encourage our church, “Hey, I think you should pray about it, I think you should know what the candidates stand for, and I believe you should vote. I really do. I think it’s just a privilege as an American. I think we should pray for our leaders, the Bible says pray for our leaders, but I’m very, very, very careful to not specifically endorse a candidate or a party. Some pastors do, and that’s their prerogative. I’m just the guy that’s never going to do that.
One of the things that even over the last couple Sundays, I’ve told our church one thing the Democrats and Republicans all have in common is they’ve disappointed us all. Don’t put your hope in a political party, put your hope in Jesus, but be involved. It’s a tension, right? It’s a tension that we manage. I’m not trying to necessarily solve all the problems. I’m addressing it and encouraging them to participate in the process. Ask Jesus, ask the Holy Spirit to lead them in how they vote.”
What is the potential problem when pastors endorse a political candidate?
“It’s a personal conviction of mine. So if a pastor wants to endorse a candidate, that’s up to him or her. I think that at the end of the day, if we use our platform to endorse a party or a candidate, that’s for me, taking the attention off of Jesus and putting your hope into a policy or a party. And I just don’t want to lead the people that God’s called me to lead that way. I don’t want to put their eyes on a political party or a particular person. I want to put their eyes on the person of Jesus, and be like “Hey, Jesus is our hope, and He can save people no matter who is in office.”
I did an interesting thing the other day week where I was like, “You know, it doesn’t matter really who the leader of the country is. Let’s say we get the worst leader ever. God’s used some pretty horrible leaders in the scripture for his glory.” And so I just think it’s the wrong place to put time, effort, energy, and hope.”
Listen to the entire episode here: