Campaign and Electoral Guidelines - Victory - Honor God. Make Disciples.
Campaign and Electoral Guidelines

Campaign and Electoral Guidelines

Date: 15 October 2021
To: Every Nation Philippines Pastors, Missionaries, and Staff
From: Pastor Gilbert Foliente, President, Every Nation Philippines
Noted by: The Bishops Council and the Executive Team

Key Emphasis

We encourage all pastors and staff to take note of the following principles and guidelines on civil government and online social unrest. This document serves as a guide every time elections come along, in order for us to stay on mission and not be diminished in our effectiveness to minister to people of different political persuasions. This document is written specifically with pastors, missionaries, and staff members in mind.

We recognize that our senior pastors, campus directors, and ministry leaders will need to make decisions in light of certain situations that may arise, so we hope that this document will not restrict but help them as they do so. It is our heart that these principles empower our pastors and staff as we lead together and encourage discipleship conversations.

Civil government is one of the institutions God has ordained, and there are at least four ways we can be involved in the political affairs of our nation:

  1. We pray for those in authority. Scripture shows us clearly that we need to pray for those in government in order for them to stay true to their role in the life of the nation (Romans 13:1; 1 Timothy 2:1–2). We will continue to cry out to God for righteous governance in our nation, as well as for peaceful and productive elections.

    In addition, because we desire to see more Christians involved in nation-building, we will personally pray for long-time, active members of our churches who are running for political office, regardless of their political party, and whose platform generally promotes a biblical worldview. We can commit to pray for them in our personal time, beyond the pulpit, Victory group, or prayer meeting. Praying for candidates, whether in public or private, does not necessarily constitute endorsement.

  2. We preach and teach God’s word. As a Church, Jesus gave us a mandate to preach God’s word to all the world and in all areas of society (Matthew 28:18–20). We must remain faithful to this mandate and teach His commands in our homes and communities. As we do so, we can express God’s rulership and bring His kingdom here on earth.

    The pulpit, whether on a physical or digital platform, is where the word of God is preached. Only Jesus—no personality or political party—will be proclaimed and glorified on the pulpit. As spiritual leaders, we will use our God-given platforms, the pulpit, Victory group, and prayer meeting to preach the gospel, make disciples, equip believers with biblical principles, and minister to people from all sides. We will not allow any Victory leader or member to politicize our spiritual leadership space, including our pulpit, events, and platforms to promote or endorse a specific candidate or party. In addition, our logos and organization names may not be used for this purpose.

  3. We participate in the political and civil affairs of our nation. Some of the ways we can do this is by voicing our thoughts, standing up for a cause, voting, campaigning for others, running for office, promoting voter education, and ensuring orderly and honest elections. We encourage everyone in our churches, including pastors and staff, to be involved in the political process. This includes both local and national government. We cannot be salt and light from the sidelines. Specifically, we believe that voting is a civil rights exercise that all citizens should be involved in, and we respect everyone’s right to choose who they think should be placed in positions of leadership in government. In fact, after much prayer and deliberation, some church members and pastors are even running for office themselves.

    As pastors, missionaries, and staff members, let us understand that we are both private citizens and spiritual leaders. Once online, our thoughts and opinions in our personal spaces as private citizens about public matters are already in a public arena. Therefore, let’s always exercise wisdom, keeping both personal responsibility and communal identity in mind. While we can try to create a distinction between personal space and spiritual leadership space (e.g., your personal social media account is not an official ministry platform), the truth is, individual posts are not just seen as personal. Posts can and do affect us organizationally, and as you know, we remain committed to walk in unity and stand with each other, even in missteps. We ask you therefore to consider the whole when making decisions that seemingly only affect one part. In addition, others may not see the distinction between personal and leadership spaces. In fact, how we relate in our personal spaces can affect how we preach the gospel, possibly even eroding others’ confidence and trust towards us.

    Official communication, when necessary, will come from members of the Bishops Council. For guidelines on participating through social media using personal accounts, please refer to the appendix of this document.

  4. We protest against injustice. When necessary and within the bounds of the law, there is a place for protest to call public officials to uphold the law (Acts 16:35–40). But when we protest, it must be done with respect and the desire to see the justice and righteousness of God reign. Even in our protests, Scripture says that we must not revile against authority (Romans 13:1–2, 7; 1 Peter 2:13–14).

    Together, we see that our nation is experiencing pain, anguish, and frustration. While we do not want to add to the toxic positivity online, we recognize both our current reality and the truth of God’s word. We will not give up hope. As we respond to our government and approach political affairs in a biblical way, we are trusting that we will see how God will transform our nation, for true transformation can only come through Him. Our nation will be discipled as we preach to men and women to follow Christ and equip them to apply His word in every sphere of society.

    Ultimately, God is the highest authority. Civil government is given delegated authority, but the last say goes to the One who has absolute authority—the Lord. And because of this, we have hope.

    Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.
    Proverbs 14:3

Questions to Ask Before Posting Online

With regard to our posts and online activity, consider the following questions. These are meant for reflection and discussion, causing us to develop convictions in our teams.

  • Will it honor God or just satisfy me? It would be good if we first check why we’re doing this and what our goal is, and to respond in humility. As good soldiers of our Lord Jesus Christ, our aim is to please Him alone (2 Timothy 2:3–4).
  • Will it help make disciples or discourage disciples? Will it build or hinder relationships with the lost? Will it hinder me from preaching the gospel? Is it helping me reach the people group I am called to? We have one objective for what we post: discipleship. We can’t afford to be distracted from our mission.
  • Will it build others up or tear them down? Will it preserve unity in the body of Christ? Is it unnecessarily controversial or divisive? The criticism can be constructive or destructive. We will need to think both local and movemental. We can determine who in our community we are trying to address, what kind of example the post will set, and who will be affected by the post. Consider also those who may be inadvertently affected. We hope that the fruit of the Spirit is evident and abounding in the message and through our lives. Let’s not respond in anger (Ephesians 4:26) and lose our Christian witness through this.
  • Could it be a stumbling block or offense, which could cause others to sin or drive them away from the faith? Or is it a stepping stone that builds connections and bridges? If there is anything that should cause offense, it should be the gospel (1 Corinthians 1:23), not our opinions or preferences. As spiritual leaders, we will need to forgive, resolve offenses, and do everything we can to make things right, personally and in the lives of our people.
  • Am I being led by the Spirit or by the crowd? If we believe that God is telling us to speak up, then let’s do it. But let’s not just give in to pressure and post something. If we are being led by the crowd, we may not need to say it.
  • Is it based on facts or on feelings? Specify, clarify, and qualify. Let’s not generalize and make blanket statements. Posts can also be quickly taken out of context and be misinterpreted. Verify the facts before reacting (Proverbs 25:8). If we can’t get our facts straight, our credibility may be questioned. Let’s be clear about what we are really against. If not, the post can be easily misunderstood. If we are upset at one person, we probably just need to talk to the person instead of making a post.
  • Is anyone trying to use the church and pastor’s platform for their gain? Is this issue-based or personality-based? Let’s all exercise discretion with regard to supporting specific candidates.
  • Is it speaking against an evil deed or vilifying a person? Speak against evil and injustice, not people or personalities. Let’s determine if: we are holding people accountable or cursing authority; we are speaking life or wishing ill on people (Proverbs 18:21); the spirit by which we are speaking is upholding or reviling authority (Acts 23:5). Let’s remember that the battle is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12), and there’s no point in vilifying or demonizing people who oppose our views. Remember, not everyone has to agree with you.
  • Have I sought the input of others? A conversation with a ministry unit director, senior pastor, colleagues, and friends may help determine what to do next. When in doubt, seek collective wisdom.
  • Aside from posting online, what else can I do? Personal responsibility goes beyond social media. Be involved in the political process and speak up for social justice. Just remember to do this beyond your work hours.

Because personal posts do not represent or reflect our view as Every Nation Philippines or Victory, they should include a qualifying statement, such as: The political opinions presented are in no way reflective of the view and position of Victory.

Local church social media platforms may also engage the current concerns in our nation, and the questions above can also serve as parameters for such posts.

Leave a Reply