Calling All Churches to Civil Engagement

Talbot Alumnus Michael Decker is using his degree to impact his community

Jun. 5, 2012 By Ethan Froelich

Talbot Alumnus (‘11) Michael Decker was recently featured in Christianity Today’s City Project, in which he explained the importance of “civic engagement.” Decker volunteered as a police chaplain in 1995 in Costa Mesa, Calif., and it was then that he realized the necessity for Christians to engage their community in tangible ways.

"I said that I loved lost people and had a desire to be in relationship with them, but when I looked at my life, I was in relationship with very few," said Decker.

In 2011, he received his Doctorate of Ministry from Talbot School of Theology with his dissertation on "Church-Based Strategies for Civic Engagement." Decker has since planted Palm Harvest Church, joined the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce, and aided in the creation of One Church for One City, in order to get churches to better engage the people and community around them.

The article, "Why Civic Engagement Belongs in Every Church's Mission Statement,"
also described what Decker believes are barriers for churches making an impact on their community and what needs to happen for Christians, and the church as a whole, to impact the community.

“Christians must be committed to live and serve in their community for at least a decade and up to four decades if they truly want to impact their community”, said Decker.

He also emphasized the need for churches to work together, rather than compete with one another, if a city is to be effectively reached.

“God's gift of Jesus is the ultimate act of engagement,” reminds Decker, and he references Jeremiah 29:7 which reminds us of God's invitation to “seek the welfare of the city.”

Ultimately, Decker hopes that the love that he has for his current city of Costa Mesa will be contagious with other churches and Christians in their own cities.

Read the entire article.

Written by Ethan Froelich, Media Relations Intern. For more information, contact Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator, at 562.777.4061 or at

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