Bob Vander Plaats, President/CEO of The FAMiLY Leader spoke before U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) at the organization’s Celebrate the Family Banquet at the Marriott in downtown Des Moines on Saturday night. Vander Plaats gave an overview of what The FAMiLY Leader had recently accomplished, their organizational model, and their vision for the future.

He explained how they used to view their political activism.

“We used to believe if we got this policy right, if we got this issue right, we would get everything right. We would get the issue right and we found out it’s not all right yet. Now we got it, if we would just elect the right person because people are policy, who you elect determines your policy. We thought, only if we elect the right person then everything will be righted. All of a sudden all of the ills of the culture are going to be right-side up. We realized that’s not it either,” Vander Plaats explained.

Their mindset changed in 2012 when they had their first Leadership Summit when different speakers shared how people need to turn their hearts back to God.

“One speaker said, it doesn’t matter who we elect if this country doesn’t turn its heart back to His principles and precepts it is game over,” he said.

The FAMiLY Leader shortly after this launched If 7:14 based on 2 Chronicles 7:14:

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land, (ESV).

Vander Plaats said The FAMiLY Leader is not the same ministry that they were in 2012 or even 2015.

“What we have decided that if we were really going to be about cultural transformation we need to lead with the Gospel first and foremost and all the way through, all the time because it is the only thing that authentically changes lives. We have to stop putting our best hope into the human vessels and human vehicles and human instruments. So we are going to lead with the Gospel, and we are going to anchor it in prayer,” Vander Plaats said.

“Then we are going to engage the community by engaging the Church, authentically engaging the church because for too long the Church was hijacked for political gain. The Church was hijacked to get this candidate to win. The Church was hijacked so that this party could win. Ladies and gentlemen, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is much bigger than any candidate and much bigger than any political party and it should not be reduced to such,” he added.

Vander Plaats then said their approach was to use politics and government as a means to advance God’s kingdom.

“So we called it cultural transformation, lead with the Gospel, anchored it in prayer, engage the church, and when you do you can impact elections,” he said.

Watch Vander Plaats’ full remarks:

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