Ministering to politicians isn’t at the top of most people’s agendas— but it is for Tim Schindel and thousands of prayer partners supporting the activities of Leading Influence. (LI) Ministries. LI was launched in 2007 out of British Columbia with a primary focus on serving provincial politicians— honouring the impact of their
God-given roles by supporting them in prayer and influencing their lives and decisions for God’s glory and purposes.
Tim, LI’s founder and full-time chaplain, shares how the vision to expand to all of Canada has been unfolding.
t: What was the primary motivation for launching LI?
TS: The vision for LI came as a result of a long process that was a combination of shifting passion and new doors of opportunity opening while others were closing. It was hard to understand at the time, but I began to see God connect fresh passion and vision to the open door that would allow me to fulfil it. Our vision and mission are to be a positive spiritual influence in the lives of our political leaders, reaching them with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have no political agenda but are relationally focused and have friends on both sides of the legislature. There are approximately 1,150 elected officials at provincial and federal levels
in our country. Reaching them results in tremendous kingdom impact across Canada.
t: Where does Leading Influence serve?
TS: We launched in B.C. full time in 2007, and in January 2013, we launched in Alberta. We are in serious discussions to add a third western province in 2014. (Saskatchewan) When that happens, our ministry footprint will extend to just over 225 MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly). Our vision remains
to establish what we are doing in B.C. and Alberta across the country, and we are eager to fulfil that task. If you would like to get involved with us, please contact our office [LI website provided at the end of this article].
t: Do political changes impact the approach that’s being taken by LI?
TS: Leading Influence functions on the basis of relationship, not political ideology. Our approach is simply to meet and befriend people and demonstrate the love and goodness of Jesus to them through honour, kindness, personal interest and prayer. As my role has become more established, we’ve been able to build bridges and establish trust. Over time, conversations about God’s care, interest and concern for politicians as
people are no longer intimidating for them, and inevitably a door of opportunity for ministry opens to us.
t: Can you name some developments you’ve seen as a direct answer to LI’s prayers and influence?
TS: We’ve seen God do some pretty amazing things in response to the prayers of His people.
Unfortunately, most of those answers related to personal and confidential matters. That said, let me tell you about what happened in the last B.C. provincial election. In late March, we launched a prayer campaign. For 60 days prior to election day, we sent out a short prayer that focused in some way on the decision that British Columbians were about to make. Our central theme was to ask God to give us leaders after His own heart. It was incredible to see God at work as the poll results came in. Because we had done candidate research, we knew which candidates in each riding were either Christians or, at the very least, “faith friendly.” We saw approximately 13 to15 Christians elected that night. That number represents nearly 15 per
cent of the seats in B.C. Some of those elected won their seats by narrow margins in ridings where they should not have won at all. It’s important to understand that the results aren’t an indication of God’s political preferences. Good people who love Jesus are represented in every political party in our legislature. I believe that the results speak to God’s willingness to give us leaders after His heart when His people dare to ask at the right time.
t: Politicians are still generally perceived with mistrust. What’s your take on this?
TS: I just checked the Reader’s Digest “Most Distrusted Professions” list, and politicians come right behind psychics. But I have seen politicians who make tremendous personal sacrifices so they can help people. I’ve yet to meet someone who is involved politically so they can benefit personally. Most members work 50 to 60 hours a week, including evenings and weekends away from their families. Cabinet ministers work 60 to 70 hours a week and, in most cases, are away from home four to five days a week. When they do come home, they have to catch up on all of their community responsibilities. It’s hard and taxing work. (pun intended)
t: What are some of the needs that politicians have? How can we support them more effectively?
First things first: politicians need us to pray for them (1 Timothy 2:1). If you live in B.C. or Alberta, (and very soon in Saskatchewan) you can track along with us in praying for political leaders by visiting either www.praybc.com or www.prayab.com. You can also follow us on Twitter or Facebook.
This is not just “the right thing” to do; it is remarkable to see how many times our specific prayer is exactly what the member needs at that time. Last spring I walked into the dining room for lunch, and the member
we were praying for that day rushed over to meet me and thank me. He said, “It was exactly what I need today.” What makes it even more remarkable is that the prayers are written and scheduled weeks in advance. It’s a great way to be a blessing to the political leaders who serve you.
Secondly, express your thanks and gratitude. Political life is generally a thankless task. Stopping by with a card that says “Thanks for your hard work” will produce amazing results. Not only will your representative feel appreciated, but you will also open the door to further relationship. Proverbs 18:16 provides
insight into the power of gratitude.
Offer to serve. Most politicians have community focus/feedback groups. You don’t necessarily have to share their political views in order to participate. Most decisions affecting your community at that level are made based on the feedback that comes out of those groups. It becomes a win-win situation.
Tim Schindel is the founder of Leading Influence Ministries. He lives in Victoria, BC, with his wife, Barb, and their three children, Brittany, Zack and Tyler. In his spare time, Tim loves to run, ride his motorcycle, and
watch his sons play baseball. For more information on LI, please visit www.leadinginfluence.com