MOUNT VERNON — Brewton-Parker College (BPC) hosted the Public Affairs Training on Monday, October 25th. This free event by the Georgia Baptist Mission Board (GBMB) was for pastors, ministry leaders, and students. Those in attendance had the opportunity to learn the importance of how ministry leaders and churches can be engaged in the policy-making process and why local, state, and national leaders need your ministry and support.
The training sessions have been held each year since 2016, and have proven to be among the most popular offered by the GBMB. Mr. Mike Griffin, who is over the public affairs ministry of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, has 12 training sessions scheduled across the state. The ministry provides guidance from a Christian perspective on public policy and social issues. The training sessions will occur from August through November to give church leaders insights into engaging in the raging debates surrounding ethical, moral, and cultural issues.
The GBMB role at the Capitol has four main roles: observation, education, motivation, and activation. Mr. Griffin has been a pastor for thirty-five years and is a Lobbyist at the Georgia State Capitol. “This training helps participants understand why it’s important for ministry leaders and churches to be engaged in the policy-making process,” Griffin shared. “Engagement and service are the keywords to take away from this training: Be engaged in policy and serve governmental leaders.” The purpose of the training is also to reach educational establishments such as BPC.
Before the scheduled speakers, President of BPC Steven Echols stated, “We want to see our student lives have transformational experiences that equip the whole student for lifelong learning and service in Christ. We want to see this generation of students rise up and be someone to make a difference.”
Speakers in attendance included: Mike Griffin, Public Affairs Representative of Georgia Baptist Mission Board, on the topic of Is There Not a Cause: Current Issues & Why Change Is Possible; Brad Hughes, Office of Governor Brian Kemp, Public Affairs Committee Chairman, on the topic of A Blueprint For Meaningful Engagement; Harrison Smith, Alliance Defending Freedom on the topic of How To Protect Your Church From The Rising Attacks on Religious Liberty; and former State Representative Kevin Cooke and former State Senator Josh McKoon who both spoke on the topic of Understanding the Legislative Process and A Legislator’s Perspective.
Griffin’s main focus is on the children and the younger generation. In sum, and the big rhetorical question Griffin wanted the audience to take away was, “If we (the church) don’t care about the impact the culture is having upon our children, then what kind of ‘gospel’ are we preaching?”
Dr. Billy Puckett who is both professor in the Christian Studies Division and the Association Missionary for the Daniell Baptist Association helped bring the Public Affairs Training to BPC. Part of his job includes helping BPC and the GBMB partner together to provide a forum for students and local church leadership to discuss effective political and cultural engagement. “The United States of America is a democracy governed by the people. Christians have a responsibility as citizens of this country to engage the political process and our culture. We have a calling from God to dispel darkness and prevent decay as light and salt in this world. In these politically polarized times those who are guided by the Spirit of Christ can lead our country into a blessed future,” Dr. Puckett remarked.
For more information on the Public Affairs Training and the Georgia Baptist Mission Board please visit: gabaptist.org/public-affairs-trainings-2021.