Launch of the SHOW UP campaign

Christians in Politics is excited to launch the SHOW UP campaign, which seeks to encourage Christians to positively engage in the world around them (including politics!). Here, 3 MPs share about the campaign and why Christians need to 'show up' this election year and beyond.

All over the UK, the church is rolling up its sleeves to serve. Not only are Christians sharing the life-changing message of forgiveness and hope to be found in Jesus Christ, but they are also seeking to look after the many other needs of people in the communities in which they live. It has been wonderful to witness this explosion of creativity and passion. We all know about the Food banks, the Street Pastors, and the Debt Counselling Services, to give just three examples. There are also the countless other acts of ongoing service that will never make the headlines. The single mum receiving gifts. The young person being mentored. The elderly getting a visit. The shoe boxes heading to Romania. The patient prayer for the sick. Politicians of all parties recognise the huge and vital contribution that churches are making to communities and individuals up and down the land.

All this is cause for celebration, but in this election year of 2015, as Christians first, and as politicians second, we believe a further challenge needs to be made. As well as working in a responsive way to look after people and meeting their immediate needs, we also need to be involved proactively at all levels of society to bring long term good to people’s lives. In Jeremiah 29, God calls his people to seek the peace and prosperity of the communities in which they find themselves. If we are to do this in our country today, we need to be addressing both people’s immediate and long term needs. Archbishop Desmond Tutu put it like this. “As Christians, we need to not just be pulling the drowning bodies out of the river. We need to be going upstream to find out who is pushing them in.” Of course, it is not only politicians who can make a difference to what takes place “upstream”, but they certainly have a crucial role to play.

Similarly, civil rights leader Martin Luther King once explained that the Church often plays the Good Samaritan role on life’s roadside and works to meet people’s immediate needs. But King went on to warn that we rarely take the time to do the hard and perhaps more mundane work of going back to the Jericho road and working to identify and eliminate the factors that made the road a dangerous one to travel on in the first place. Who is going back to work out how to stop more people getting mugged? Could we improve the lighting, or increase the policing? Perhaps some more CCTV cameras are needed? The thing is that those are political decisions. But they are often made around dull committee room tables poring over statistics and reports. As Christians, surely that is where we also need to be.

One way in which Christians can do this is to get involved in politics – be that at a local or national level. Decisions are made at local and national political levels that fundamentally affect people’s lives. In the run-up to a general election and amidst all the different party political campaigning, it is all too easy to become disillusioned, shrug our shoulders and not get involved. Instead, what if Christians all over the country got actively involved in politics to make a positive difference?

That’s why as MPs we are keen supporters of the SHOW UP campaign. It is encouraging Christians to get off the side lines and on to the pitch of political life. What does that look like in practice? Of course, it will mean exercising our votes on May 7th, but it could also be organising an election hustings meeting hosted by local churches, volunteering locally for a political party, praying together with local churches or screening the SHOW UP campaign film. Beyond May 2015 it might be joining a political party and volunteering at a local or national level, community organising, joining a campaign, or becoming a school governor, magistrate, local councillor or MP.

Let’s SHOW UP in 2015 and make a difference! We would encourage you to watch the excellent SHOW UP campaign video and then ask for it to be shown at your church gathering. Please also share it via Twitter, Facebook and email to take this vital message to the church in UK. Just type #SHOWUP into YouTube or follow this link:

Rob Flello MP
Tim Farron MP
Gary Streeter MP