Groups such as Christian in Politics have long urged individual...
The message of the SHOW UP campaign earlier this year was simple but provocative. It challenged Christians and the Church not to just commentate from the side-lines but to get on the pitch of political life.
We at Christians in Politics thought it would be interesting to get some proper analysis on the campaign's impact. To that end a poll was conducted and the results were both revealing and encouraging.
Of those polled, 96% believed the SHOW UP campaign had an important message for the church.
SHOW UP seemed to gain a new audience for the work of Christians in Politics. Thirty eight per cent had not heard of Christians in Politics prior to the campaign.
Could it become as normal for a young person in Church to want to be a politician as it is for them to want to be a worship leader?
Seventy per cent stated that having come into contact with the SHOW UP campaign they were more likely to engage in politics as a result. The remaining 30%, who stated that they were neither more nor less likely as a result to get involved in politics, were mainly made up of individuals already politically active.
One respondent stated: 'I have been really inspired to get involved with politics in my local area and am even looking into internships/careers in politics...This is something I would never have considered beforehand!'
Another respondent commented that: 'I was already considering embarking upon a political career, but had concerns over how to relate my Christian beliefs to the often worldly actions of all political parties. The Show Up campaign convinced me that this is in fact a reason to enter the political arena, not a reason to avoid it.'
One of the aims of the campaign was to see Christians consider joining political parties. One person commented, 'SHOW UP really struck a chord. I'd been an armchair commentator for way too long and it really prompted me to action. Since then I've telephone canvassed for the Lib Dems and am getting involved with my local party. I want to make a difference to my neighbourhood, area and country and show Christians care enough to be involved in politics and make a difference.'
One of the aims of the campaign was to see Christians consider joining political parties
Respondents also revealed that the SHOW UP campaign had had a positive impact on the church. One leader explained that: ‘SHOW UP gave me a chance as a church leader to present to my congregation the democratic process as part of the life of faith - crossing the sacred/secular divide.'
Another stated that: 'I think ‘SHOW UP’ has gone a long way towards changing a sleepy church attitude into action. I was impacted years ago by CARE book Stand up and be counted and this is a bigger mobilisation than that. It is what I've been waiting for from the church for over 20 years.'
The results are encouraging, but also show how much more work is needed. We long for a day when you can walk into any church in the country and at the back alongside a Christian Aid or Tearfund magazine, you might also find something about our wider political engagement. Could it become as normal for a young person in Church to want to be a politician as it is for them to want to be a worship leader?
To that end the next stage of the campaign is the SHOW UP weekend from Nov 6-8 in Ascot. Christians from across the theological and political spectrum will be coming together to be inspired and equipped for the adventure of political engagement. There will be prayer, worship, working groups and thought-provoking input from incredible speakers like Os Guinness (best-selling author of The Global Public Square and The Case for Civility), Dr. Anna Rowlands, Ness Wilson, Krish Kandiah, Jonathan Oloyede, Gary Streeter and other MPs. We are praying that people will leave even more empowered to SHOW UP in their localities.
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