I mentioned in last week’s email that in addition to our Statesmen Academy® conference, Family Policy Alliance hosted the annual gathering of state leaders from around the nation – including almost 30 of my counterparts from other states. In addition to a wonderful time of fellowship, we undertook an exercise digging down into the core of our organizations. In other words, the “why” of our existence. Take a moment right now and think about why Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota exists.
You might think it would be an easy exercise to answer why we exist, but it really becomes a challenge if you follow the question to its root. The group of roughly 30 Executive Directors were broken out into six smaller groups to answer the question. Here is an example of how our group’s conversation went.
Group Participant: We exist to advance God’s kingdom in the area of policy.
Participant: Because we live in a fallen world and God wants us to take a stand for biblical truths.
Participant: Because the Bible is the source of truth and we need to spread the news of salvation and good news of the Christian life though our work.
Participant: Because we love God and we love our neighbor as ourselves.
Here’s the really interesting thing. A number of groups came up with the same final answer. I had the sense that many of us in the room were a bit surprised where we ended up, but if you think about it, that answer makes perfect sense for an organization such as ours founded on the truths of the Bible.
So, we had the answer to “why”, but what did that mean for how we conduct ourselves? How should “love God and our neighbor” be lived out at Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota?
My first takeaway was that love needs to be foremost in all we do. As love is the fulfillment of the gospel, we need to love God above all and take His direction in all we do. Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota is commanded to place God first, and then let the operational work we engage in flow from Him, not the other way around.
The second takeaway for me was the “love thy neighbor” part. There are two distinct pieces here. First, we need to demonstrate God’s love to our allies, ministry partners, business leaders, churches and legislators who stand with us – our brothers and sisters in Christ. As Ephesians 4:2 says, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
The second part of “love thy neighbor” is much harder. We need to be winsome and mirror God’s love to those who oppose what we stand for – a sometimes very difficult and arduous task. It is very easy to become so focused on achieving objectives, no matter how biblically-based and laudable they may be, that we lose the character of Christ along the way. If we do, we lose one of our most powerful witnessing tools. Displaying Christ’s love in today’s broken world of animosity and division will is certain to prompt people to pay attention and wonder who or what could cause us to love those opposed to us and our beliefs.
As it states in 1 Corinthians 16:14, “Let all that you do be done in love”. We must be Christ-bearers in all things, in the policy world and in all other facets of life. Let’s make sure we are bright lights in this often dark world, so that all may see our love of God and neighbor. That’s the answer to “why”.
President and Executive Director