BATON ROUGE, La. (Christian Examiner) -- A massive training for 1,000 pastors considering a run for political office is set for Friday, Jan. 23 at the Baton Rouge River Center Friday, Jan. 23 -- marking the first of its kind of training event in Louisiana.
"We are going to discuss the importance of raising up the next generation of leaders in America who understand these challenging times and know what to do about them," Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal wrote in a letter to 100,000 pastors endorsing the event that is to train "the men and women of Issachar."
In 1 Chronicles 12:32, the Issachar tribal leaders "understood the times and knew what Israel should do."
Lodging and Friday evening's dinner are provided at no cost by the American Renewal Project, which evangelical activist David Lane started in 2001 to promote people of faith positively affecting public policy.
"There is a great need for the kind of leaders we read about in the Old Testament, 'The Men of Issachar' (1 Chronicles 12:32)," Jindal wrote. "We need such men and women of wisdom today who will accept the challenge to restore our Judeo-Christian heritage in America."
Mobilizer Gary Miller said a follow-up invite was sent to a hundred thousand pastors who received Jindal's letter.
"It is designed to encourage pastors who may be praying about running for office or who need to know how to equip key leaders in their church to enter this arena," explained mobilizer Gary Miller.
Speakers for the event that begins at 3 p.m. Friday include Jindal, Oklahoma Senator James Lankford, former Congressman J.C. Watts of Oklahoma, California Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, pastor and former political candidate Rob McCoy of Calvary Chapel in Thousand Oaks, California, and Old Testament scholar Bruce Waltke Ph.D. of Knox Theological Seminary in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He is to speak on "Proverbs and Politics."
The Friday briefing includes sessions on first steps to running for office, campaign mechanics, and "messaging your race."
The Issachar Training event is part of the thrust of American Renewal Project to involve 1,000 pastors in running for public office.
"The thought that came to me," evangelical activist David Lane told Christian Examiner, "if the Lord called 1,000 pastors to run for an elective office, and each of them had an average of 300 volunteers, that would be 300,000 grass root, precinct-level, evangelical conservatives coming from the ground up, engaged in the political process. It would change America!
"Nobody's confused that politicians are going to save America," Lane continued. "These engaged evangelicals would be voting for their biblically-based conservative values."
The pastors' political campaigns also would likely awaken the interest of the nation's 50 million Christians who in the past have not voted, wrote Paul Bedard in an article for the Washington Examiner newspaper.
A prayer rally set for Saturday, Jan. 24 at 10 a.m. calls for "The Response," at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on the campus of Louisiana State University. Six hours of prayer and fasting, and repentance and celebration are scheduled with Gov. Jindal as keynote speaker.
The Issachar Training and The Response, which technically are unrelated, both are funded by the American Renewal Project, led by Lane.
"Only a merciful God can cause America to change, and God works through His people," Lane said.
That's why prayer is so important; people need God's guidance about whom to elect, Lane explained.
"The mess we're in, having squandered our Judeo-Christian heritage, we need God to show up," the evangelical activist continued. "You always see God from behind. You did not know in 1979 that Ronald Reagan would become the best president, but when you look at Reagan now, you can see God's hand was on him."
See AmericanRenewalProject.org to register for either or both no-cost events. Seating is limited; only ticket-holders will be allowed in, and not all ticket-holders will be able to find seats in the stadium that seats 14,000. A similar event in Houston in 2011 drew at least 40,000 people.