For the first time, the Pray Vote Stand Summit (which builds upon the 15-year success of Values Voter Summit) is being held at a church -- Cornerstone Chapel in Leesburg, Va. Why? "It's time for Christian voices to be heard," said Cornerstone's pastor Gary Hamrick. "We've been silent for too long. The church has fallen asleep, and it's time to wake up ... this is a grassroots movement among believers."
In an unprecedented time of rising animus and persecution against people of faith in America, this grassroots movement is building, and it's awakening a renewed sense of just how vital faith is to public life. On the opening night of the summit, Senators James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kans.) witnessed to their own personal journeys of faith and how it is now more important than ever for believers to stand for truth not only in the halls of Congress, but more importantly in their own local communities and circles of influence.
Just how late is the hour? Pastor Andrew Brunson, who spent two years in a Turkish prison for his Christian faith, warned the summit that the persecution of Christians in America is only beginning. He went on to explain how believers can prepare their hearts to stand strong under the pressure that will only increase.
Freshman Congressman Bob Good (R-Va.) echoed this sobering sentiment to open Day two of the summit, noting that, as believers, "everything we hold dear is at risk." He went on to point out that even if people think that they can avoid politics, "politics will come for you." That's why the days of believers being able to fool themselves into thinking they can stand on the sidelines are over. "When it comes to America," Good stated, "there's no Plan B. It's up to us."
Bishop E.W. Jackson delivered a fiery yet hopeful message of the potential that America still has for racial reconciliation. "Our ancestors may have come on different boats, but we're all in the same boat now," he insisted. But as he underscored, believers have to be the ones who take their God-given callings seriously and take a personal role in helping society to heal: "America is a gift from God to you. It's personal." How important is it that we value this gift and stand for the truths that our country was founded on? American Values President Gary Bauer was unequivocal: "America is essential to the survival of freedom in the world."
Be sure to check out the schedule for Day three of the Pray Vote Stand Summit, and don't miss the free livestream of the summit on Friday beginning at 8:30 a.m. EST. Also, you can catch all the speakers and panels you may have missed on opening night and the second day of the summit in our video archives, including a riveting panel on the deep-seated problems that are currently roiling our military, an in-depth analysis of election reform and integrity efforts, the outlook on legal abortion in America, and the battle for America's classrooms.