My Faith Votes, a nonpartisan movement that motivates, equips and activates Christians in America to participate in elections, has launched Our Church Votes, a campaign to equip pastors and encourage church attendees to register to vote in upcoming national and local elections, beginning in Virginia, Georgia and California.
"The strength of the effort is its simplicity," said Rev. Johnnie Moore, who is co-chairing the initiative with Rev. Samuel Rodriguez and Pastor Jentezen Franklin. "We are just telling Christians to go to ourchurchvotes.org, and there they can find out what they need to register to vote as an individual and to download resources to help get their church community registered. We are expecting to register at least 50,000 new voters in Virginia alone, through church communities."
While the initial campaign is focused on local pastors and churches, any individual can find the information they need on the website to register to vote.
The campaign equips pastors and church leaders with free professional resources to empower and mobilize people in the pews to action. Some of the resources include a step-by-step voter drive guide, sample sermons and group discussion guides and legal guidance to help pastors and church boards navigate concerns that arise when mobilizing voters.
"Through this effort, we simply want to make it easier for churches to do what they know they should: tell their congregations to vote," added Rev. Rodriguez, who is the pastor of New Season church in Sacramento, California, and the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, a network of more than 40,000 Hispanic/Latino churches in the U.S. and Latin America.
"Our faith belongs in the public square, but it is nonoptional at the ballot box! Christians and pastors cannot stand on the sidelines. One's vote is the first line to protect righteousness and justice in our society," Rev. Rodriguez said.
Our Church Votes is part of a nationwide election and media campaign My Faith Votes has launched to mobilize Christian voters. My Faith Votes, which played a significant role in the 2016 historic turnout of evangelical voters, has a 92% turnout rate for people who use its voting tools.
"This resource is one of many efforts My Faith Votes has launched to engage voters at every level across the country. Our simple call is to motivate people to vote. We are not telling anyone who to vote for," said Jason Yates, CEO of My Faith Votes.
Pastor Franklin, who presides over Free Chapel in Georgia, added, "Absurdly, some Christians think that their votes don't really make a difference. They are wrong. If the faith community participated in full force, it would easily decide any election. Our vote is essential for keeping faith in the heart of a free America."
This year, more than 100,000 elections will take place in the United States, from national elections to local elections. In Virginia alone, where 44% of residents attend weekly worship services according to Pew Research, 609 seats from school board to U.S. Senate are up for election.
"As an advocate for religious freedom worldwide, I have seen firsthand how easy it is for governments to silence the faithful. Vigilance to protect our freedoms begins at the ballot box," Rev. Moore said. "Voting is a privilege, and it is a responsibility."
Our Church Votes offers comprehensive online resources for pastors that provide crucial information for congregations in each state, including Virginia, Georgia and California, such as:
—A guide to hosting a voter registration drive.
—Personal voting assistance with automated reminders.
—My Faith Votes' Voting Assistance Center with all its comprehensive voting tools
The Our Church Votes campaign will subsequently launch in additional states throughout the next six weeks.
To learn more about Our Church Votes and to register for a toolkit, please visit ourchurchvotes.
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