When your church is a polling place, Election Day is an opportunity to show hospitality.
For several years, I had been on the fence about my church operating as a polling place in our community. I was sick and tired of having my ministry work interrupted. Then, this last primary, we had an incident that turned me off to the idea completely.
Our church runs a preschool which results in a long line of cars for child pickups. When voting day rolled around, my preschool line clashed with the voting traffic. Worse, the two major political parties had set up tables at the entrance to our parking lot and were hounding parents to take flyers and participate in exit polls. At one point, our preschool teachers asked the pollsters to please stop harassing these young parents. The pollsters’ solicitations were causing the preschool drop-off line to back up and spill out into the main street, creating a morass of angry-toddler gridlock.
The pollsters did not respond well to my preschool teachers asking them to keep their solicitation limited to the folks on campus for the election. My sweet, gentle teachers were thanked for their trouble with a shouting match filled with curse words and threats. The end result was a full police blockade, replete with sirens, lights, interrogations, and all sorts of bad optics for my church and preschool.
That was the last straw. These preschool parents were one of my primary mission fields. Many were unchurched, and I desperately wanted these folks to visit our church service. I had no patience for these vitriolic, toxic secularists getting in the way of my favorite gospel opportunity.
Over the last few weeks, my church has been deciding whether we should continue supporting this community need. I, for one, had made my decision. Here is the subject line of an email I recently wrote to …
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