Three points on importance of political organization in churches

Church organization pointsAs I have mentioned before, it’s hard to imagine conservatives being more successful at the ballot box without being joined by even MORE conservatives at the ballot box.

That means that in order to win, we have to do more to identify, educate and mobilize others who think like we do.  And to make the best use of our time and leverage our existing relationships, it makes sense to spend some time focusing on organizing in churches.

Importance of Political Organization in Churches

1) Churches are where the conservatives are

The statistics don’t lie.  Conservatives are more likely to attend church than liberals.  Very conservative individuals attend more frequently.

If you want to look at it from a partisan standpoint, all you need to know is that Romney beat Obama by 20 points among those who attend church at least once a week.

Again, it’s a matter of hunting where the ducks are.

There are hundreds of thousands of churches all across the country that bring their members together every Sunday, and they can have a tremendous impact when they are informed and motivated.

Sadly, people in most churches are little better than others when it comes to the basics of citizenship, such as registering and actually voting on Election Day.  On average, only about half are actually registered, and about half of those that are will cast a ballot in most elections.  Not a recipe for political success.

Given that the average race is usually won or lost by about five percent, the possibilities are obvious.

2) Organize with “Church Contacts”

In order to organize something, somebody has to be in charge, or else not much gets done.  That’s where a church contact comes in.  A church contact is simply someone whose job it is to serve as a point of contact between their church and outside conservative political groups and activity.

The three primary goals of church contacts are:

  1. To identify fellow conservatives
  2. Make sure they are registered to vote
  3. Keep fellow church members informed.

(Get details on “how” to organize churches with church contacts here)

Since politics is cyclical, the activities that a church contact would focus on will vary from season to season.  But whether it’s preparing for an election, or educating people on how to lobby those who have been elected, there’s always something to do.

Once somebody is actually in charge, things are more likely to get done – and people in the church know who to go to in order to stay informed or get involved.

3) Know what churches can and cannot do in politics

As I’ve mentioned before, there’s always a lot of confusion over what churches can and cannot do in politics.  Of course a lot of this confusion is generated by liberals who don’t want to see churches dominated by conservatives get more politically involved.  (Go figure)

The thing to know is that there is a LOT that they can do that most of them currently don’t do.  Most of what pastors and church members hear about it being legally “taboo” is garbage.

Lack of knowledge leads to fear…and that leads to inactivity and ineffectiveness.

That said, it’s important to get informed and know the rules.  So click here for the full list of What churches can and cannot do in politics.

***

Remember, politics is all about math, and our job is to focus on addition and multiplication.  That means getting more conservatives involved – and churches are full of them.

Have any other thoughts or experiences with political organization in churches?  Feel free to share in the comments below!

(Get more tips like these in my “Grassroots 101 Training Series“.  Check it out!)

What churches Can and Cannot Do in Politics

church and stateWhen it comes to politics in churches, there is a lot of confusion (especially on the part of pastors)about what type of political activities churches can engage in given their non-profit tax status.

Some believe that all political activity is out of bounds and would put that status at risk.  Wrong. 

Of course a lot of this confusion is generated by liberals who don’t want to see churches dominated by conservatives get more politically involved, (go figure). As a result, most of what pastors and church members hear about it being legally “taboo” is garbage.

The problem is that a lack of knowledge leads to fear…and that leads to inactivity and ineffectiveness.

The thing to know is that there is a LOT that churches can do that most of them currently don’t do.

Church based groups do have some limitations when it comes to political advocacy however.  In order to be more effective, (and avoid any problems), it is important to know what type of activities can and cannot be conducted in or by a church.

The Dos and Don’ts for Politics in Churches

A Church Can:

  • Conduct non-partisan voter registration drives
  • Conduct non-partisan voter identification drives to identify conservative voters
  • Conduct “get-out-the-vote” drives, encouraging conservatives to vote
  • Distribute non-partisan voter education information
  • Allow political candidates to address the congregation
  • Host candidate forums where all candidates are invited and allowed to speak
  • Educate church members on legislative matters
  • Lobby elected officials on behalf of specific legislation
  • Make expenditures on behalf of state referendums
  • Rent church member contact lists to favored candidates at fair market value
  • Pastors may endorse candidates as individuals, but not on behalf of a church

A Church Cannot:

  • Directly endorse candidates in the name of the church
  • Contribute money to a campaign, or make “in kind” contributions, (such as resources or services), to a candidate or party
  • Contribute to political action committees (PACs)
  • Distribute materials that endorse a particular candidate or political party
  • Pay for partisan political events with church funds
  • Allow candidates to solicit funds from the congregation (from the pulpit)
  • Create a church political committee that would do any of the above

The bottom line is to avoid any partisan preferences in any activity done on behalf of the church itself.

However, what people do on their own time is their own business.   Once they are registered to vote, or receive information that educates them on how various candidates stand on important faith and family related issues, it probably won’t take them long to figure out who to support.

Encourage your church to do what it can do and get engaged!

***

Related entries:

(You can find tips like this and much more in my “Grassroots 101: Grassroots Training Series”.)

Organizing Churches with Church Contacts

leadership 2So, what are church contacts?  A church contact is someone who serves as a point of contact between their church and outside conservative political groups and activity.

They can help distribute critical and timely information, such as non-partisan voter guides, legislative alerts, legislative scorecards, leadership training, as well as other seasonal political information.

By initiating voter registration drives, petition drives, and offering time-sensitive information, church contacts can help mobilize a large bloc of conservatives to influence the political and legislative process.

The Primary Goals of Church Contacts Are:

1) Identify fellow conservatives in your church

Review a list of the members of your church (via a church directory) and identify those that you know to be conservatives.  Use this information to create a database of identified conservatives for your church.

2) Register individuals in your church to vote

Most churches are little better than the general public when it comes to levels of voter registration.  This makes voter registration a critical function of the church contact, since it’s impossible to be effective in the political system without being registered to vote.

Cross-reference the list of identified conservatives in your church with the county voter registration list to determine who needs to be registered.

3) Keep fellow church members informed

The more informed conservatives are the more effective they can be.  Church contacts should work to provide information about lobbying opportunities, political candidates, ballot issues, petitions, opportunities to get involved in a local political party, as well as how they may be able to participate in other activities you may be planning.

Keep a calendar of important political dates for your area, such as party primaries, general elections, county council or school board meetings, political party meetings, or meetings of other conservative political organizations.

***

Remember, politics is cyclical.  Based on which elections are approaching, or what’s happening in Congress, your state legislature or local government, the type of activities a church contacts should focus on will vary.

***

Related entries:

(You can find tips like this and much more in my “Grassroots 101: Grassroots Training Series”.)

Why Conservatives Should Organize in Churches

ducks 2It’s hard to imagine conservatives being more successful in politics without being joined by even MORE conservatives at the ballot box.

That means that in order to win we have to do more to identify, educate and mobilize others who think like we do.  The question is what’s the most effective way to go about finding them?

One of the answers to that question is to look in the churches.

Focusing on organizing in churches offers a great way for conservatives to leverage their time and existing relationships to have a great impact on the things they care about.

Churches are where the conservatives are

If you want to shoot ducks, you hunt where the ducks are.  It’s the same principle with politics and organization.

The statistics don’t lie. Conservatives are more likely to attend church than liberals. Very conservative individuals attend more frequently.  If you want to look at it from a partisan standpoint, all you need to know is that Romney beat Obama by 20 points among those who attend church at least once a week.

Again, it’s a matter of hunting where the ducks are.  There are hundreds of thousands of churches all across the country that bring their members together every Sunday, and they can have a tremendous impact when they are informed and motivated.

Sadly, people in most churches are little better than others when it comes to the basics of citizenship, such as registering and actually voting on Election Day.  On average, only about half are actually registered to vote, and about half of those will cast a ballot in most elections.

That is not a recipe for conservative political success.

Tremendous latent potential

Given that the average race is usually won or lost by about five percent, the possibilities are obvious. Just imagine the impact if every church in your community had a contact person who worked to register and inform their fellow members and get them involved in the local political system. What kind of difference do you think that would make?

Simply put, more organization in churches means more victories for the conservative movement.

The goal is not to make churches into an annex of a political party, but rather to educate and encourage conservatives in those churches who share your values to become better citizens and advocates for their values in the public arena.

Remember, politics is all about math, and our job is to focus on addition and multiplication. That means getting more conservatives involved.

Churches are full of them.

***

(You can find tips like this and much more in my “Grassroots 101: Grassroots Training Series)