By Pastor Dave Allgire and Pastor Ashley Randall
My name is Dave Allgire and I’m an evangelical pastor in Savannah, Georgia. I lean right on the political spectrum, and I advocate on behalf of the global extreme poor.
I wish I could tell you the reason for that is that I’m a naturally compassionate person, that I just plain love everyone, or that I know I have so much and so many have so little. (Although I do feel that way often!) The truth is, I know I’m here in the world for a short time, and that’s what drives me. I want to do the most good I can with what I have—and I want to be part of a country that does the same. That’s why protecting our foreign aid budget from cuts is critical.
I believe that God spreads abilities, gifts, and resources out intentionally in order to push us to rely on each other. That’s why the best way to do the most good for the world’s poorest is to do it together, in unity. The book of Ecclesiastes teaches us that two people are better off than one, “for they can help each other succeed… Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
That’s why Congress needs to hear a unified voice that crosses denominations and political lines.
That’s right! My name is Ashley Randall and I’m a left-leaning United Methodist pastor, also in Savannah. And I am thankful for colleagues like Pastor Dave, who are willing to reach across denominational and ideological lines to join hands in responding to God’s call to be an advocate for the poor.
Everywhere you turn, it feels like people are calling you to choose sides. There certainly are issues that tend to separate us into different camps; but ending extreme poverty around the world is an issue that calls us to look beyond our particular ideological perspectives and focus on addressing the needs of the most vulnerable around the world.
Paul warned the members of the early church about the destructive impact of divisions among the believers. He knew that it had a corrosive impact not only on the development of community, but also on the effectiveness of their witness and their influence in the world. At the same time, Paul acknowledged that God had given them different gifts—and when they used them to pursue God’s purposes, God was able to accomplish great things through them.
When believers of different political leanings come together, I believe it does much to increase the effectiveness of our witness and improves the possibility of a bringing about real and lasting change. That change means not only better lives for those currently living in poverty, but greater peace and security for the whole world.
It is this kind of unity, in a room with a congressman, that Pastor Dave and I believe can have a lasting impact and should be the new norm for advocacy.