President Trump’s campaign slogan, Make America Great Again, has been the talk of the nation since the announcement of his candidacy, but let us remember that our nation will never be great again without a passionate church fulfilling its roles of proclaiming truth, leading people to faith in Christ on a large scale, embodying community transformation through applying biblical principles, demonstrating divine power to a lost world, helping the poor, and serving as the conscience of the nation. Any attempt to make America great again without God and His presence is nonsense.
If the direction of our nation is not first-and-foremost laid at the feet of the president and Congress but rather at the foot of the church, how can the church once again be used of God to make America great again? The following outlines a few starting points.
The Church Must Lead the Nation into Repentance
If righteousness exalts a nation, sin disgraces and weakens a nation (Prov. 14:34). In the church, are we pursuing righteousness through repentance and walking in the truth so that the church becomes an unstoppable force within culture? God told King Solomon, “If My people, who are called by my name will humble themselves, pray, seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land” (2 Chr. 7:14). There is no proven way to make a nation great except by first getting God’s people—the church—in a right relationship with God.
The Church Must Be Emotionally Healthy
Every psychological malady in broader culture has crept into the American church, including fear, anxiety, and depression. Christian author and pastor, Peter Scazzero, asks in his book The Emotionally Healthy Church, “How can a Christian be spiritually healthy if he or she is not emotionally healthy?” Christians awash in their own emotional struggles will not and cannot change themselves or their families, much less the nation.
However, according to Scripture, Jesus came to bind up the brokenhearted (Isa. 61:1). Also, Isaiah teaches that Jesus’ death not only paid for our sins, but that He also took our griefs and sorrows to the cross (Isa. 53:4). Is the church helping people find emotional health, or are we simply letting the flock languish in its many struggles?
The Church Must Be Equipped to Navigate Spiritual Darkness
The schemes of the enemy are many: Tempt the pastor and church leadership into sexual sin; cause divisiveness; convince the church that dark spiritual forces are not active in America, and many more. A deceived church cannot be the ignition point for turning our nation around. Paul said that he was not ignorant of the enemy’s schemes, and Jesus encouraged His followers to use their God-given authority over the demonic spiritual realm (2 Cor. 2:11; Luke 10:17–20). To make America great again, the American church must accurately discern its adversary and be determined to vanquish him.
The Church Must Move in the Supernatural
So much ministry throughout America can be explained by human effort. Do we in the church believe that the Bible documents a God who is supernatural, defies human explanation, and knows how to take care of business on a national scale? If so, are we challenging believers and the lost alike with the good news of this amazing God and demonstrating His miraculous work (Gal. 3:1–5)? It is this miraculous power of God that must move from the pages of the Bible into our daily experience, or America will not be great again.
Making America Great
A church that has dealt with its widespread compromise through repentance, is pursuing emotional health, knows how to expose the enemy, and is carried by God’s supernatural presence and power is a church that can be used by God to change our nation.
This approach relies first upon the church to instigate national change and expects politicians to catch up later. Such an approach is not only a biblical teaching but has been exemplified these last few decades in countries like South Korea and Uganda, and it is currently a work in progress in countries like China, India, and the Fijian Islands. Moreover, this approach was the tactic used in colonial America to establish America as a nation uniquely blessed by God. In other words, this is what originally made America great.
For Christians to sit as spectators in the stands while rooting for President Trump to Make America Great Again is foolishness. Government and legislation are important but can only take a nation so far. But a church that is active in the four areas highlighted above will get the attention of every segment of society, resulting in systemic change. Founder of Citizens for Community Values Patrick Mangan likes to say, “The church decides everything!” Do we believe it? Do we believe the church can accomplish meaningful societal change? Similarly, do we believe in the dire consequences of a compromised church?
Perhaps it is because we have ignored the consequences of being compromised as the people of God that we have lost confidence in the effectiveness of the church. However, God can do more than we can ask or imagine through His people (Eph. 3:20–21)? Perhaps it is time we start imagining and asking for more than enough inspiration to get us through the next week. As the church, let’s make our experience bigger than ourselves. Let’s take the field and make a difference before the final minutes run off the clock.