The news is in: Donald Trump is our new President-elect.
He ran a very unprecedented campaign and his victory was an upset in almost every poll. And this morning, the world is watching to see how the church will respond.
Here are five quick thoughts on how we, collectively as the people of God, should think carefully about our next steps.
1. Pursue Unity in the Church
There is a deep division within the church (and our country) about how God wants to work in the world. Let’s be honest about this. Some of you see Trump’s election as an answer to prayer; others see it as God’s judgment. The truth is, we don’t know. But we do know that this President-elect could splinter the church and create division and distraction from the work God called us to. We need to do everything we can to get beyond this fractured worldview and pull our gaze back to the cross—where there’s unity, clear purpose and a passionate mission. Don’t look at other Christians who are celebrating or bemoaning the election results as your enemy—see them as brothers and sisters in Christ, fully embraced and loved by the Father. Start there.
2. Prepare for Action
The church shines its light through action, not its political leaders. The work of the church doesn’t rely, or wait, on politics or policies—it relies on the daily movement of its members. Let’s be a light for the unborn, racial equality, justice, the least of these and, ultimately, the gospel. Get involved in the causes you care about. Find a way to put real feet to your convictions with others in the church. Let yesterday’s vote be a launching point for a personal awakening. Our country is fractured in so many ways and God ordained the church as the solution—to be the very hands and feet of Christ in a hurting world. Let’s put this election season behind us. Let out a collective breath. And get busy.
3. Renew Your Passion for Prayer
This one simple Sunday school lesson is possibly the key to unlocking the blessings of God on our country, or, inadvertently, to allow for its demise. Let these election results sink in deep and turn our hearts to prayer. Prayer for a peaceful transition of power. Prayer for President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Pence. Prayer for the Senate, for Congress and local officials by name. You voted, but don’t let it stop there. Cast your vote for our country daily through prayer.
4. Be Wise on Social Media
The temptation to post in-your-face messages about the election results can be overwhelming. But remember, the world is watching to see how the church responds to the news. In our social media culture, our newsfeeds are real estate for the light of Christ to shine. What you and I post counts for the Gospel. No one gets a pass when it comes to rants, gossip or reckless messages on Facebook. Be calm and discerning in what you post. Collectively, we could show the world a group of people who are unfazed by the direction of our country and totally committed to a Kingdom that’s far above our imperfect political systems.
5. Be Prepared to Honor & Submit to Our New President
For some of you, this is easy. For others, it could be one of the hardest Scripture passages to obey. It could be helpful to remember the biblical context found in 1 Peter 2:13.
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority.
These words were written by Peter during the reign of Nero—one of the greatest persecutors of Christians in all of history. In fact, tradition says Peter, along with his wife, was crucified by Nero. What does this tell us? Even in a volatile and violent government, dedicated to marginalizing Christians, the command still applies.
After all, suffering in the name of Jesus is one of the most poignant ways we shine the light of the gospel to an unbelieving world.
None of this is easy, but following Christ was never meant to be.
And remember, we’re the church—we have the very power of the Spirit who rose Jesus Christ from the dead living within us. So pursue unity, take action, pray like crazy and be wise. The world needs us with our heads on straight more than ever.