The 2015 Canadian election created a huge amount of interest and change, the impact of which will continue to unfold as time goes on.
However, one constant on Parliament Hill is a group of passionate and dedicated believers at the Christian Embassy, who are building trust relationships with leaders and seeking to help them know Christ better.
Darlene McLean, Executive Director of the Christian Embassy, is passionate about what she does. We are seeking to encourage these political leaders personally and spiritually.
Christian Embassy inspires leaders with the person and values of Jesus. They are nonpartisan and work with ambassadors, members of parliament, and business and professional leaders in Canada. This work involves facilitating initiatives such as roundtables, leading ambassador tours to connect ambassadors with Canadian innovators and organizing networking lunches and international delegations.
Since the election, approximately 60% of members of parliament are new. “Getting to know these new leaders is no easy task. These are people who don’t trust easily. They don’t know who they can trust”, Darlene explains. In Ottawa, this next year is going to largely be about getting to know people and getting to know priorities. It is an exciting time. Our mission field has grown.
As you can imagine, Darlene has a busy schedule, but you wouldn’t know it to talk to her. She takes the time to focus and engage in the moment. Her personable, encouraging and professional manner is well-suited to building and maintaining relationships in a space where people don’t trust readily.
“It takes a fair bit of work to even get to a place where [politicians] will be somewhat honest with you,” she says. “We try to be straightforward with them right from the beginning. Not only do they hear us, but they see that we do what we say we’ll do. And when they see the huge impact that it has for them professionally, personally, spiritually, then they are quite pleased.”
Though there is the excitement of change and anticipation for what this year will bring, there is a lot of work to be done for Darlene and her team.
“If we look at the world right now, there are many things going on. Many things that impact all of the world, many things that are written about in God’s word. If we look at our own nation there’s also a lot more going on than what appears,” Darlene says. “As believers we have a unique place and space to be standing for what is good and right and what is close to God’s heart.”
It is important to think about the direction our country is going and how to be involved, she adds.
“One of the ways that we as believers can serve our Lord and our country, is by committing to pray.” She suggests praying weekly for our new leaders at every level: municipal, provincial and federal.
After speaking with Darlene, it is hard not to be inspired to care about what is happening in our country and with those who lead it. “My heart’s desire is to see God’s people across Canada become involved in giving spiritual leadership to our nation and being a credible voice.”
What can the body of Christ do?
Pray for your leaders and also find out more about them, Darlene says. Anyone can make an appointment to introduce themselves. It’s an opportunity to share some of the things that matter to you, as well as to express concerns and commendations. MPs like to hear from those they represent. Most receive more criticism than praise, so the latter is important.
“Almost everybody, no matter what background they are from, is appreciative of people praying for them and so whether it is simply people telling them that or asking in a meeting if you can pray for them, that is powerful,” says Darlene.
It is important to speak up about what’s important toÂ Christians. “Tell them what’s going on and what we’re doing in the communities or in other parts of Canada or even in the world. Because all of those kinds of things also give credibility to God’s people; citizens contributing to the good of our country.”
She also has a few other suggestions.
“Invite your MP to speak at your church and get them to share a little bit about who they are and what their focus is. MPs frequently visit Muslim centres, synagogues and Sikh temples. They are invited frequently to those places, but are rarely invited to churches.” This also gives space to be able to explain a little bit about what the church is doing.
“To invite an MP does not mean that you are preferring a party. That MP represents everyone in the constituency and you are part of the everybody.”
Make an impact on the leaders of our nation with Christian Embassy! Consider:
- Inviting your MP to your church to speak
- Introducing yourself to your MP
- Praying for your leaders: Find out who your MP is on the Parliament websiteÂ and take a moment right now to pray for them
- Taking time to pray for Darlene and the Christian Embassy. Darlene suggests, “Pray for God’s favour, divine appointments and strategies going forward. Pray for God’s provision to do what He’s called us to do.”
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