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Preparing your congregation to face a hostile culture

October 17, 2017

“I’m sure glad I know you.  I may do something or say something someday where I need you to represent me.  I’m glad I have your number in my phone.  I may be using it one day.”  These words were most recently spoken to me by a friend at a school carnival while my kids were enjoying bounce houses and carnival games.

When I started my career as a religious freedom litigator, I used to occasionally hear statements like this spoken with a smile and a chuckle.  But in recent years, I have heard this more frequently, from audience members who have heard me speak, from family members at gatherings, and from friends at places like the school carnival.  And recently, these statements are not said with a smile and a chuckle.  They are said with a sense of foreboding.

Why is it that Christians have a sense that our faith is under attack and that we are a disfavored minority on the road to sure persecution?  One reason is because of the stories we see of fellow believers who are currently undergoing trials and tribulations for simply exercising their faith.

One recent story is of Barronelle Stutzman, a Washington state florist. Barronelle is the owner of Arlene’s Flowers.  She denied a request from a long-time customer to do the flower arrangements for his same-sex wedding ceremony after such ceremonies became legal in Washington in 2012.  Barronelle explained that the decision she made was very difficult, but that, after discussing it with her husband, it basically boiled down to the fact that she could not do the wedding because of her relationship with Christ.

Barronelle now finds herself facing two separate lawsuits because of her decision to abide by her religious faith and not do the flower arrangements for a same-sex wedding ceremony.  You can read a vivid account of Barronelle’s story here, and watch as Barronelle shares in her own words about this unprecedented attack on her faith in the video below.

Sadly, Barronelle’s story is not the only one.  There are numerous accounts of Christians who are facing legal trials and tribulations simply for abiding by their religious convictions.  Perhaps these accounts demonstrate why Christians today have a real foreboding sense that persecution is coming. They’ve heard the stories and see the possibility in a culture that is increasingly hostile to Christianity.  And they see the cultural disapproval and hostility increasing at a startlingly rapid pace.

Pastor, what are you doing to prepare your congregation to live in a culture that seems bent on denying them the right to live out their faith and to share their faith with others around them?  Are they aware of the increasing attacks on people of faith?  Why not take a moment to show your congregation thevideo of Barronelle’s story?

Is your congregation also aware of their legal rights?  Take a moment to let them know that Alliance Defending Freedom is here to help.  Barronelle Stutzman is not alone in her fight against the Washington Attorney General and the ACLU.  Alliance Defending Freedom is with her every step of the way to protect her right to live out her faith.  And we will be there to protect others as well, including potentially, those in your congregation.

In today’s culture, Christians need to certainly be aware of the increasing attacks on people of faith.  But they need to also take hope that God has raised up an alliance that stands strong together to defend the faith and the faithful.  Pastor, you are in a unique position to educate your congregation about the attacks that are occurring, and about how Alliance Defending Freedom is here to help.

Let us know if you, your church, or one of your congregation members needs our legal assistance.  You can go to our website at or you can call (800) 835-5233 to have an attorney review the situation.

Together, we can be an alliance defending freedom.

Alliance Defending Freedom

Alliance Defending Freedom

Non-profit organization

Alliance Defending Freedom advocates for your right to freely live out your faith

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