April 26, 2017
Last month, over three hundred pastors and church leaders descended upon the Florida state capital in Tallahassee. Meeting with state congressmen and the governor, they went to pray for their state’s lawmakers and to lobby for biblical values.
Taking Biblical Values To Tallahassee
As representatives of the Hispanic Action Network, Marilyn and Abraham Rivera led a group of pastors to the state capitol in partnership with the Florida Family Policy Council. They have pastored in Miami for over ten years at La Puerta Life Center. Returning to South Florida they were kind enough to share with me why opportunities like this are so important for the Hispanic church.
Me: What was your focus in visiting the state capitol?
Pastor Marilyn: We went to lobby on a few specific bills in the state congress and we wanted to make sure those lawmakers who have a faith based worldview, know we are supporting them.
Me: How do the lawmakers respond when you arrive in the capitol to pray for them and show them your support?
Pastor Marilyn: We see it in their eyes. They thank us for going and they beg us to come back again. It’s a very hard desert for many of them, as they face their battles.
Me: How were you exposed to these bills?
Pastor Abraham: The Florida Family Policy has been a great resource for us over the years, to help us stay up to date with the specific bills in our state that could really impact our church and our family. They identify the bills that have the greatest possibility of passing in congress for that session and then we focus our attention to lobby those specific bills.
Me: What has been the response to your visit, since returning to south Florida?
Abraham: With regards to political effect, the bills are still being worked through congress. But in terms of the lawmakers themselves, we found that they really appreciated our visit. Many of them feel isolated, especially as they take a stand for biblical values. When we prayed for them, it had a profound impact on many of them. And in our community, many came back excited and were wanting to get more engaged in the political process.
Me: After an experience like this, how do you appeal to a pastor who is hesitant to get involved?
Pastor Abraham: What I usually say is, don’t look so much as what’s happening now, but look at the role that pastors played in the revolutionary war when they commanded battalions. Those who came to this country, came because they were searching for religious freedom. This wasn’t always a secular government. And when I explain these things to pastors, they start to realize we aren’t trying to make our government into something it never was. We are just trying to take our government back to what it was originally intended to be.
Pastor Marilyn: There is always something we can do and we have to step out beyond prayer. We need to step up into a role beyond the four walls of our church and stand for God’s kingdom in the world.
Me: What do you believe is the biggest misconception facing pastors about politics?
Pastor Abraham: We ourselves are not political insiders and we don’t have any background in politics. But because we have decided to get involved, God has opened doors for us to have influence with the governor of our state and with the President elect. As we’ve gotten involved we are recognized and respected in our state legislature and city for our involvement. We as average citizens and that’s the way our government was designed. For the everyday person to interact with our elected officials. On top of that we also have an extra advantage with God on our side. I tell our people to consider these opportunities as missions trips, because we are going into a different part sphere of our society to make and impact for God’s Kingdom.
Pastor Marilyn: God calls us to be the light. When we see something in the world we don’t like, are we going to get involved and change it? We have to be willing to step in as the light and bring change to those things that don’t agree with God’s kingdom. What better way to stand for God’s kingdom, but than to visit our capitol. We have to be doers – if you don’t like it do something about it.
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