What to share from the pulpit and with other pastors in your city
This email (Part 3) highlights the actions of pastor Tim Thompson, as well as his role in fighting this ongoing battle.
How Pastor Tim Thompson Became Involved
As a pastor, Tim Thompson never questioned his role in helping to shape the culture. He always saw it as a fundamental responsibility.
“Pastors have typically shied away from politics,” said Thompson, lead pastor of 412 Church Murrieta. “We have just tried to shape the culture from the pulpit.”
Several years ago, realizing the church was ceding more and more territory to secularism, Thompson determined his posture behind the pulpit was no longer enough.
“We are losing the battle in the public square,” he said. “I have always felt a responsibility to lead by example. I do not think it is fair for me to ask my congregation to do something I am not willing to do myself. So, I started getting involved.”
The first step was attending Church United’s first-ever Washington D.C. Awakening Tour. A cornerstone of Church United, the Awakening Tours provide the opportunity for California pastors to meet with and pray for members of the House and Senate; attend keynote sessions on immigration, racism, economics, life, and religious freedom; and tour historical landmarks, including the U.S. Capitol. The agenda also provides time for worship and establishing relationships with other pastors who are also committed to transforming California.
“Going to Washington D.C. with Church United opened my eyes to the possibility of getting out from behind the pulpit, forming relationships with elected officials, encouraging them and even holding them accountable.”
Since returning, there’s been plenty of room for accountability.
“I was really excited to get something going with someone at my church who had the same passion as I did,” Thompson said.
So, he dispatched a member of his congregation to investigate what the school districts in Murrieta, Menifee and Temecula were teaching on the topics of sex education, gender, marriage and Islam. Thompson wanted to use the information to develop sermons motivating his people into action.
Taking a Stand
“I was looking for something where I could stand in the pulpit and tell the congregation, ‘This is where we have to stand as believers.’ The Bible is very specific about these matters.”
What he and his team discovered was alarming. In Menifee, the school board approved a new sexually-explicit curriculum for the third year in a row. Thompson called it vulgar. One section, for instance, focused on anal sex, promoting it to children as a “safe alternative” when used with a condom, even though the FDA has not approved a condom for use in anal sex, Pastor Thompson said. You can click here to read more, but WARNING: Website is graphic.
In another instance, Pastor Tim reviewed a textbook that exposes children to gender identity issues through a game that involves blindfolding students, then spinning them around to unsettle their equilibrium. The students are then told to envision what it would be a gender other than the one assigned at birth while being asked a variety of leading questions. Pastor Tim was floored.
“That was just the first chapter,” he said. “I thought, ‘We need to get the word out. We cannot sit idly by and not have the release of the curriculum go unnoticed another year.’”
Even more incredulous: California law only allows parents to opt their children out of sex-ed classes. However, if homosexual and transgender issues are discussed in other subject areas such as history or social studies, parents are prohibited from removing their children from the classroom.
The Ripple Effect
Thompson decided it was time to get other pastors out from behind their pulpits. After making several calls, the clergy rallied their congregations to attend a school board meeting where the curriculum was on the docket. Before the meeting they carefully read the materials and prepared for public testimony. Thompson also reminded the Christian parents about the importance of reflecting Christ in their demeanor and the danger of using the Bible as a weapon. Ask logical questions and avoid using church language, he recommended.
“We are going to be the salt and light that He told us to be,” Pastor Tim coached them.
When it was time, about 130 people showed up for a meeting that typically draws 20 or so, the pastor said. Thompson said district officials seemed flustered by the showing and shut down the meeting before everyone had a chance to speak. It was the beginning, the pastor said, of a pattern of persistent resistance and inconsistent statements by district administrators. Despite sharing their concerns at the school board meeting and two other venues — a private meeting with the superintendent and a face-to-face with two board members — the district declined to reverse its position, instead offering to let two pastors from their group sit on a special curriculum committee. Pastor Tim immediately suspected their motives.
“It was a stall tactic to get us past the  election,” the frustrated pastor said.
Similar issues have also emerged in Murrieta and are starting to spread to other Riverside cities. Proactive attempts to work with Murrieta administrators to draft new curriculum standards were rebuffed, Thompson alleges. Despite the setbacks, Thompson said the pastors are committed to being spiritual watchdogs for the region. They continue to monitor what’s going on in their schools and plan to hold their elected officials accountable.
“We may not have any victories, but we’ve had success,” he said. “We find our success in our obedience, not in the results. We are only called to be obedient. The results are up to God. The pastors have been obedient in working together and the churches have been obedient to be salt and light.”
Pastor Thompson attributes their success in enlightening their people to the ongoing work of Church United. In addition to the education tours to Washington D.C. and similar outings to Sacramento, the ministry’s Regional Briefings and other gatherings have helped to forge strong church networks beyond city boundaries, creating rippling spheres of influence.
Unity in the Spirit
“That’s never happened in this valley,” Thompson said. “It’s brought us together in a way that nothing else has. Before it was all about the pastors protecting their flock from other flocks. That’s all gone away now. We see the urgency for unity. Churches have to work together.”
“Quite frankly,” Thompson said, “The reason California is in the state it’s in is because of the disunity that has been going on. We recognized the unity we have in the Spirit is what’s going to change things. It’s been very evident that God is using Church United to bring the pastors together.”