I have been private about political views and will continue to be.
As a religious leader (Sunday school and small-group teachers are also in my category), I can talk about issues based on Scripture, but not any further.
It is complicated based on Scripture, which is my compass! Two commonly referenced texts are:
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.’ And they were amazed at him” (Mark 12:17).
“But Peter and the apostles replied, ‘We must obey God rather than any human authority'” (Acts 5:29).
There are many ways, as Christians, that we could look at government and politics. I didn’t even bring up Romans 13 as that has a lot to say. I would recommend you read it as well.
Here is my main point as I talk about small groups and Sunday School in relation to politics: Don’t do it!
Let me share four more constructive approaches:
1. Encourage everyone to vote in your class.
We are in the world, but not of it, as Romans 12 reminds us. We should vote our conscience. Allow God’s Word to permeate our present condition, do your homework on all candidates and vote. That is our right and privilege.
2. Do not recommend candidates and do not spend time in class talking about this.
When we do so, we risk three issues:
First, you take the time away from Bible study and how to apply God’s Word to our lives. That is what small groups and Sunday school is about.
Second, we risk alienating class members into an “us versus them” mentality, which will destroy your class.
Third, you jeopardize our Baptist principle of separation of church and state. We do not want the government dictating how we believe and do church. We should not dictate to them in our multi-faith country.
We can talk about issues as they apply to Scripture, but not endorse candidates as the “Christian” candidate.
3. Be careful of your witness on Facebook and other social media platforms.
When we disagree with other’s opinions, we must do so with respect and not anger. I have seen too many Christians spew anger at other’s opinions about the political parties.
When we do, all unchurched persons see it from their friend’s posts and our post. We have sent them further away from God!
4. God is in control.
God can handle our world. The question is: Can we set the example for our world?
I truly believe that the next U.S. president cannot solve all of our problems. It will take every Christian living out of the Great Commandment and Great Commission. As Jesus reminds us in Matthew 19:26, with God all things are possible.
When we share God’s love for every person with respect – because all are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) – and seek to empower every person to become their best, we begin the journey to see that all things are possible with God.
Jesus lived in a pluralistic age. He loved all of humanity, as he was willing to take on a cross. Don’t allow yourself to be caught up in this election and forfeit an opportunity to do Kingdom work.
May we embody Micah 6:8: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Tony Brooks is the Baptist General Association of Virginia’s (BGAV) Sunday School / discipleship specialist and field strategist for the Southside Region. A version of this article first appeared on the BGAV blog and is used with permission. His writings can also be found on his blog, and you can follow him on Twitter @TonyBrooks7.