Nick JensenBy Nick Jensen - ACL Leadership Development Director

I had the privilege of being in Federal Parliament last week as the budget was handed down. I don’t know if anyone quite expected the extent of the explosion on mainstream and social media. Most of it was complaints of course, some justified such as the disproportionate cuts to foreign aid, but overall I had unease about the mindset behind the complaints.

It seems that now whenever there is a problem, it is the government’s responsibility to do something about it. Even Christians often fall into this trap. We treat the government as Saviour and put our hope in its sovereign arm. The reality is, however, that the State needs the Church.

A recent study published in the American Political Science Review (May 2012) explored what caused some countries to develop into successful modern democracies, while others nearby turned into harsh and corrupt dictatorships. It turns out that it was not economic conditions, strong media colonial origins, or even political ideologies. Instead it was the number of Christian missionaries in that country in 1923!

These missionaries spread not only the gospel, but also religious liberty, mass education, mass printing, voluntary organisations, and political reforms. An article in Christianity Today explains this amazing discovery in more detail.

What this means for today is that the Church has always played, and will continue to play, a foundational role in public policy. Without active and sacrificial Christians and communities, the State quickly loses not only its moral compass, but also its ability to deliver justice, prosperity, and effective programs.

At ACL we are looking to develop the next generation of leaders who can positively influence the public square. Leaders who have the understanding, skills, networks, and character to withstand such a challenging environment.  Leaders who are faithful and effective, committed to seeing a just and flourishing society.

That is our vision. A vision which people may be doing studies on in 100 years’ time as they discover that it is the body of Christ, not the Government, through which salvation comes.

Applications for the Lachlan Macquarie Internship are now open, with the next program running from August 17th to November 21st.