BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (Christian Examiner) – The Issachar Training event Friday and The Response on Satrurday, January 24, both have been endorsed by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.
Jindal and American Renewal Project's founder David Lane invited 100,000 pastors to the Friday event at the Baton Rouge River Center – the invitation included free lodging and free meals – to encourage these men of the pulpit to consider running for elected office in 2016, and to provide training about how to do it.
The goal is that 10 percent of those invited will accept the challenge to consider how they can influence and raise up the next generation of America's leaders, Lane explained. The Issachar Training was developed "to encourage and equip pastors by hearing from politicians and political operatives as well as other ministers who have run for political office," Lane said.
Jindal and Lane also invited 100,000 people to participate Saturday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on the Louisiana State University campus in Baton Rouge to a six-hour prayer rally they call The Response: A call to prayer for a nation in crisis.
"In 2 Chronicles 7:14," Jindal told Christian Examiner, "the Lord makes this promise to us, 'If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.'
"In high school, Christ found me on the LSU campus and I gave my life to Jesus," Jindal continued. "Now, 27 years later, I'm going back to the LSU campus to pray for God to send revival to this country. The Response is not a political event; it is simply a time for folks to come together and humble ourselves, and repent of our sin, and pray for this great country.
"I believe this world is chaotic and dangerous, and America seems to be slipping from our perch as the world leader," the governor said. "We cannot sit idly by and watch this country slide in a more secular direction. We are in need of spiritual and transforming revival. Leadership will not come necessarily from a politician or a movement for social change. What we truly need is a spiritual revival. We are taking action. It is time to turn back to God – and that's what the The Response is all about."
In 1 Chronicles 12:32, the Issachar tribal leaders "understood the times and knew what Israel should do," according to Scripture.
"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 in his letter to 100,000 of the nation's spiritual leaders. "We need such men and women of wisdom today who will accept the challenge to restore our Judeo-Christian heritage in America."
Speakers for the Friday event included 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.
The sessions offered insights about first steps to running for office, campaign mechanics, and "messaging your race."
"With the retreat of evangelical pastors from the public square it's no accident that America's city halls and statehouses are spiritually empty," Lane, an evangelical political activist, told Bethany Blankley of www.TownHall.com. "The only currency to rebuild America is God's economy rooted in righteousness, beginning with a contrite spirit for what we believers have allowed to happen to America."
To be clear, Blankley wrote, "pastors becoming politicians to influence a nation's direction," to "create a theocracy" is not Lane's objective. He recognizes that government is not the sole solution to societal problems. And Lane, among many others, knows ministers – more than anyone else – are best equipped to meet and suggest solutions for societal problems.
Because ministers are already on the front lines, Blankley continued, already counseling grieving, hurt and broken people, teaching about healthy marriages, relationships, and family development, praying with and encouraging children in various community activities, performing marriages and funerals, and know firsthand the needs, struggles, and dreams of their congregants and neighbors.
Friday's event also was designed to motivate and assist pastors and their congregants to enlist the approximate 65-80 million self-identifying evangelical Protestants and Catholics in America who are politically disengaged, Lane said.
The goal is not to "reshape the face of America into a Christian evangelical one," he said, or create "Christian nationalism" but to preserve America's Judeo-Christian heritage, which first identified and safeguarded everyone's freedoms, which previously hadn't existed in any government in history.
Gov. Jindal also sent a letter to each of the other 49 U.S. governors, asking them to attend Saturday's huge prayer event, according to a column written by David Brody, chief political correspondent for CBN News.
This won't be a political or a preaching event, Jindal promised. "There will be only one name lifted up that day: Jesus!"
Jindal laid out the situation to the governors in his letter to them:
"America, our great nation, is in great need," the governor wrote to his peers. "We are faced with fatherless homes, an epidemic of drugs and crime, a saturation of pornography, an increase in the polarization, division and hopelessness amongst many. We need trust, respect and civility restored.
"Yes as I trust you would agree, there are limits to our own influence at governmental leaders. Lasting change does not come only from laws and legislation, but from the changing of hearts produced by spiritual revival." Jindal quoted from 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Joel 1:14.
All ages, denominations, ethnic and racial backgrounds will gather to pray for America, asking God for His mercy and Abounding Grace, Jindal told the other governors. "Christians will choose to cross their racial, denominational, generational and political preferences, to meet at the Cross of Christ together to pray for revival."
The Response on Saturday will be limited to ticket holders. Seating is limited. Organizers advise an early revival for the event that starts at 10 a.m. and which is to conclude at 4 p.m.