- - Friday, July 28, 2017

Chris Hughes and his family live in Boone, North Carolina — home to beautiful mountain scenery and Franklin Graham’s international ministry, Samaritan’s Purse. Like Graham, Hughes also leads an organization committed to worldwide evangelism. Appropriately called “Salvation Ministries,” they are involved in church planting in the Philippines, hoping to start ten new churches each year —led by indigenous pastors.

Hughes’ wife, a nurse by training, was in the military for 27 years and is now an instructor in nursing at Johns Hopkins. It was in 1992, during her station at Eglin Air Force Base in the panhandle of Florida, that Hughes decided to run for public office. He campaigned for County Tax Collector against an incumbent — and won. Over the next eighteen years, he served in that position, collecting and overseeing property taxes, hunting and fishing licenses, drivers licenses and business licenses.

Hughes also worked for the Republican Party of Florida and was the national youth campaign worker for the 1988 campaign of Pat Robertson.

So, it is safe to say that Hughes is not a newbie when it comes to either ministry or politics.

He attended an American Renewal Project event in South Carolina last year, including a session of Issachar Training. “I was very impressed with the program and what they do,” Hughes said. “I used to teach campaign classes for GOP candidates. They are invaluable, yet cost a fortune if candidates did it on their own.”

Of course, the Issachar Training is just a couple of hours of introductory “campaign school” material, but it at least gives a prospective candidate an idea of what it takes to run for elected office.

Hughes believes Christians who look to make a real difference in the public square need to change their mindset for their involvement. He has observed that Christians get worked up and busy just a month or two before an election — only to disappear from the trenches after the election.

“We’ve got to train these guys and tell these pastors that they need to be involved, but not just when they’re in the spotlight,” Hughes said. “They need to realize there is always another election, and not leave the process behind until there’s another hot issue.”

Hughes also thinks Christians should desire to make a local impact, not just focus on the U.S. Congress and the presidency.

“It’s on the local level where a pastor or Christian could really make a difference,” Hughes said. “Taking over a school board or a city council or county commission — that might not seem glamorous, but pastors can really make a difference there. Unfortunately, you often find it to be the case that Christians can’t name one person who sits on their County Commission or their school board. And that’s a disgrace.”

Will Hughes run for office again one day? Perhaps, but he’s going to keep those thoughts under wraps for now. Meanwhile, from Boone, North Carolina to the Philippines and from preaching to politics — he looks to make an impact for Christ in this world.

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