We recently asked Robbie Seay, Campus Lead Pastor at Bayou City Fellowship in Texas, to talk about why he’s part of ONE.
Why do you choose to be part of ONE, and how long have you been involved?
I’ve been connected to ONE for 7 years or so now. The focus on issues affecting the poor and marginalized was the immediate draw for me. And beyond that, the understanding that in order to make great strides in areas, such as the AIDS crisis, there must be legislation that is bipartisan. Advocacy coupled with a keen understanding of the how the federal government works in areas of aid is why I continue to partner with ONE.
What is the most exciting aspect of delivering the BUILD Act petitions?
Faith leaders and politicians aren’t always a great combination. There is a healthy distance our church keeps in order to ensure we are preaching the Gospel of Jesus and not some politicized version. That doesn’t mean faith leaders can’t be involved in speaking out and this was one of the ways I could personally say to my local representative that the church cares deeply about extreme poverty and preventable diseases. And in this case, moving beyond aid to job creation as a part of the BUILD Act is such an easy conversation with leaders from either side of the aisle.
What were you most surprised by when delivering the petitions? What went as expected?
The office knew of ONE and, of course, knew of the BUILD Act, and so there was no surprise at all. It was simple and straightforward and I was able to thank the Congressman and his office for their support of the legislation.
How does your participation with ONE tie into your congregation?
We are very careful about this. We steer clear from tying politics to the church. However, it’s very easy to connect issues affecting the least of these to the Gospel message of Jesus. It’s at the core of what Jesus taught and lived. In those ways, speaking up on behalf of the suffering is an easy connection between the advocacy of ONE and the church.
What’s the funniest or most memorable exchange you’ve had with a Member of Congress’s office?
I walked into a Senator’s office from Texas and was warned how difficult the meeting would be, given the Senator’s opposition to the legislation being discussed. As soon as his aid walked in, we recognized each other from years ago and had an instant connection. We talked about Tex-Mex, football, Texas A&M … you know, what Texans talk about when in D.C.! It opened the door for a very good meeting and the team was much more open to our perspective on PEPFAR (The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) and the BUILD Act.
At ONE, we are honored to count pastors like Robbie as part of our community. We believe that communities of faith have the unique opportunity to steward faith for the practical benefit of others. With faith as a cornerstone, we use what’s in our hands to advocate on behalf of those living in extreme poverty. Join us in our current initiatives targeting the end of extreme poverty.