Bob Vander Plaats at the 2016 Family Leadership Summit on 7/9/16 in Des Moines, IA. Photo credit: Kelvey Vander Hart
Bob Vander Plaats at the 2016 Family Leadership Summit on 7/9/16 in Des Moines, IA.
Photo credit: Kelvey Vander Hart

(Des Moines, Iowa) July 9th, 2016 was the 6th time The FAMiLY Leader has hosted the annual Family Leadership Summit. In June 2015, the conference was held in Ames, IA, and it drew almost 2000 people to hear from the slate of speakers which included ten candidates who were competing for the Republican Party nomination at the time. The day was focused on influencing politics and public policy from a Christian worldview.

This year The FAMiLY Leader decided to do something a little bit different. For the first time in many years, they had no politicians listed as speakers, and they did not discuss policy. Instead, the focus was on the Bible, prayer, and a Christian worldview.

Bob Vander Plaats, President and CEO of The FAMiLY Leader, encouraged the attendees to ‘Think Bigger’. He explained how to reach culture through the Mission/Survival Matrix, telling the audience, “When you’re sold out for the mission, you’re not worried about survival.” He encouraged them to go all out in their walks with Christ, and to work to spark a catalyst of revival in this country. He also spoke about the If 7:14 prayer initiative, based around 2 Chronicles 7:14.

Dr. Del Tackett speaks at the 2016 Family Leadership Summit on 7/9/16 in Des Moines, IA. Photo credit: Kelvey Vander Hart
Dr. Del Tackett speaks at the 2016 Family Leadership Summit on 7/9/16 in Des Moines, IA.
Photo credit: Kelvey Vander Hart

Dr. Del Tackett, the architect and teacher of The Truth Project who also holds an impressive background of 20 years of service in the Air Force and serving as an appointee to the White House’s National Security Council, gave a message titled “In the Land of Nought (A Remnant of Hope).” Tackett explained that, “we now live in a land of public atheism. You are not allowed to appeal to a transcendent ‘ought’ in the public square.”

He also discussed postmodernism and how that has allowed citizens to buy into a cynical downward spiral in the United States. His message was finished on a note of hope; mentioning the fact that there’s still a remnant of the Church surviving in America, he stated, “God has kept us, and he’s kept us for a reason, and he’s kept us for a purpose.”

Anne Graham Lotz speaking at the 2016 Family Leadership Summit on 7/9/16 in Des Moines, IA. Photo credit: Kelvey Vander Hart
Anne Graham Lotz speaking at the 2016 Family Leadership Summit on 7/9/16 in Des Moines, IA.
Photo credit: Kelvey Vander Hart

The final main keynote in the morning was Anne Graham Lotz who is the daughter of Billy Graham. Billy once referred to Anne as ‘the best preacher in the family’. Anne spoke to the audience about purposeful prayer and holding God to His word. She began by stating, “Revival begins when you draw a circle around yourself, and you make sure everything within that circle is right with God.”

She continued on to talk about the prayers of Daniel, and how they can be a guide in learning how to pray. As she closed, she reminded the audience that, “the ground is level at the foot of the cross.”

The afternoon session highlighted keynote speakers such as T.C. Stallings, the leading man in WarRoom, the latest movie from the Kendrick Brothers.  Stallings has also authored The Pursuit: 14 Ways in 14 Days to Passionately Seek God’s Purpose For Your Life. He spoke about prayer during the afternoon session, and also led a breakout session

Also Pastor Steven Khoury spoke in the afternoon. Khoury grew up in Bethlehem, Israel, a region that is dominated by Islam. He has witnessed church members attacked and subjected to discrimination because of their faith with several being martyred. He serves as Vice President of Holy Land Missions that reaches out to the lost in Israel. He also led a workshop entitled “In the Shadow of Islam” during the breakout session.

Although the crowd was smaller than last year, each speaker reached intentional depths that engaged the audience in personal and convicting ways. Deciding to veer away from influencing policy and toward influencing hearts and minds was a wise decision on the part of The FAMiLY Leader. After this foundational summit, many left with wisdom that will help them continue to influence culture outside of election years.

Shane Vander Hart contributed to this article.

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