If you are a pastor or church leader in the US, you’ve probably come to dread our every-four-year election cycle. Each time the divisiveness and vitriol seem to get worse. Precious time and energy are taken away from serving the community, evangelism, outreach, and growth in discipleship. Instead, your time gets sucked into the vortex of culture wars, anger, and an us-them mentality. No matter which side of the political spectrum you find yourself on, you seem to be spending most of your time on conflict management and fruitless attempts at redirection toward the gospel and the kingdom of God. 

It’s like a hurricane comes every four years to try to knock down your church. What can you do to strengthen and reinforce it?  

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Church During this Election Year

ministry and politics

1. Preach the gospel, not politics

Preach from the Word of God on the life and love of Jesus. If you find yourself trying to make the Bible back up your political persuasions, that’s a big, red, flashing warning sign that your exegesis has been compromised.  

2. Keep Sunday about Jesus

In your services, keep the main thing the main thing. This time is for worship, prayer, fellowship, and examining the scriptures. You do not need to encourage people to vote, pray for the election, sign petitions, or otherwise play into the frenzy of current events. That is the static your people live with the rest of their week; give them one hour a week where they can safely ignore it and focus on Jesus.   

3. Love One Another

We are called to love one another (John 13:34-35) and to live peaceably with everyone—even those we consider enemies (Romans 12:17-18). Encourage tolerance and the right to disagree. Your church is not a cult. People are allowed to think differently on all different kinds of topics, politics included. Encourage your congregants to be polite and to respect the fact that others may think differently from them. 

4. A Neutral Pulpit

Pastors can feel pressured to take a stand on political issues but doing so can confuse your message. Don’t take sides, even if you have one. Regardless of your political beliefs, don’t use your position to broadcast them. I know of one pastor who refused to tell anyone in his church how he planned to vote—not even post-election. That was not what he was to use his role for.  

5. Teach Unity

Unity doesn’t mean that everyone thinks the same. People following the way of Jesus are unified by their love for God and for others. Point your people toward their ultimate allegiance: Jesus. Jesus was not a Republican or a Democrat. He didn’t champion Democracy or Capitalism. He was not even an American. People can equally follow Jesus regardless of their nationality, political party, or the type of government they support. And Jesus related to everybody. 

Consider this…

I recently saw an interesting article about how the Army is training its officers about their allegiance being to the constitution, not to any particular president. The idea is that country is bigger than any one person, who you may like or dislike, and the goal is to prevent further division within the ranks of the Army over politics. Similarly, Christianity is much bigger than any political leader, political party, or even type of government.


A lot of ministry happens apart from the church building—and is outside of your control. Training your small group leaders is absolutely essential. Here are some resources we recommend:

Finding the Flow*– This excellent resources helps small group facilitators juggle priorities and personalities while creating a space where people know and are known by others, and to open people up to encounter God more deeply.

Finding the Flow Small Group Leader Training– This downloadable kit includes everything you need to train small group leaders. Following the course set out in the book Finding the Flow, training is done in 8 modules:

  • The water source: knowing yourself
  • Charting the course: stages of group life
  • Exploring the undercurrents: listening to God and others
  • Stirring the waters: asking good questions
  • Rocks in the riverbed: navigating conflict
  • Creating new streams: developing new leaders
  • The river widening: spiritual transformation
  • Packing the boat: getting started

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

*Amazon affiliate link