Speaker urges people to find their sphere of influence

By Rob Vogt
Everyone has their own sphere of influence, a place they can make a difference in the lives of others.
Rachael Thomas said the Lord calls people to a place they are meant to have influence.
The Member of Parliament for Lethbridge was the guest speaker at the Prayer Breakfast for Elected Officials that attracted more than 60 people to the Claresholm Pentecostal Assembly on Saturday, May 4.
Thomas was elected to the House of Commons in 2015.
She is often asked two questions: Why did you enter political life? and What is it like?”
“All of us are called to have a presence and to make a meaningful difference,” Thomas said.
Recently, she went back to Briercrest College and Seminary in Caronport, Saskatchewan for their graduation.
Twenty years earlier the Lord had called Thomas to Briercrest. She spoke to Him about where to go, He led her there, and she graduated with her first degree.
At that point, she thought she had her life all planned out.
“Little did I know the Lord was just beginning,” Thomas said, noting things began to shift in her life.
Initially, she intended to join an international Christian organization to battle human trafficking. Her plan was to build houses in the summer then head to Thailand.
Thomas said the Lord calls people to different spheres, whether to be a teacher, lawyer, farmer, or whatever else.
“We all have a sphere of influence,” she said.
Consequently, the Lord began to speak to her. the message was to go back to school and earn a teaching degree.
So, Thomas landed at Lethbridge to start her education degree.
“I was a little bit afraid,” she said. “Fear sneaks into our lives in different ways.”
Thomas chose to embrace her faith over fear.
In Lethbridge she got plugged into a church and engaged in a number of volunteering opportunities.
She was also asked to help young people train across Canada, in churches and faith organizations. She worked with the organizations themselves and looked at why they were losing so many young people.
This gave Thomas a new passion for the country.
Then the Lord spoke to her again, this time about politics.
Thomas said she was raised in a blue collar family.
“We didn’t have a lot but we had one another,” she said, adding they made it work.
“The idea of entering politics was foreign to me,” Thomas said.
She said yes to the Lord, but he needed to build a team for her.
“Because I don’t have a clue,” Thomas said. “You have to be in charge.”
She observed prayer isn’t passive conversation, but active engagement in faith.
So Thomas moved forward.
“The Lord was so faithful,” she said.

He brought people into Thomas’ life. Now she has an incredible team in front of her.
It was not easy to make cold calls to people she never met, but had the Lord with her.
Thomas also had pain during this journey, within her family.
“We’ve all been there – the loss, the pain, the turmoil,” she said, yet it is important to keep faith in the Lord.
Once entering politics, Thomas was attacked for her age, gender, faith, and whatever else people latched on to.
Yet, in the midst of these challenges, Thomas knew one thing.
“God is so faithful,” she said. “He is so good at showing up.”
The team around her is full of encouragers, cheerleaders, prayer warriors and more. They are people of all ages.
“Is there a team you’re supposed to be on?” she then asked.
She also asked what is everyone’s sphere of influence.
“Where are you meant to have presence?” she asked.
“The Lord has these plans for us,” she continued.
Shortly after she was elected, Thomas held her first town hall meeting.
A rough-looking man came to the mike and asked if, now that she has been elected, will she set aside her faith because that would be required to represent everyone.
She asked him if he wanted someone who listens to all people; gives equal voice to everyone; believes in a fair justice system; someone who defends victims; fights unfairness; and advocates for the vulnerable.
He did.
She then asked if he would like her to put all that aside because her faith compels and requires her to put these things first.
Thomas said faith calls everyone to walk a journey. They don’t always know what that is though.
“But we know the one who leads,” she said.
Before she was elected, she went to Charlottetown, the birthplace of Confederation.
In the town square, there is a place for politics, justice, and faith.
These three do not run each other, but meet in the middle.
Today, they are expected to be separate, but Thomas said often that means Christians are told to butt out.
She said more Christians are needed in the public sphere.
“We need more influence there,” Thomas said, adding that comes not only from having more people there but through prayer.
There are several dozen Christians on parliament hill, Thomas said. These are men and women working for good policy, seeking fairness and justice.
Every week a group meets and they pray for their colleague and the country, across party lines.
Next week there will be a prayer breakfast in Ottawa. Usually it attracts between 600 and 700 people. This year they are expecting 1,300 people.
They are coming to pray for their country, their leaders and the future.
Thomas said every day there are opportunities to engage in one-on-one conversations. Yet leadership is lonely, so it can become easy to build walls and focus on policy, procedure or logistics.
She asked everyone to pray for politicians to have those conversations, and honour their colleagues who do not share their faith.
Thomas urged everyone to say yes to faith.
“Say yes instead of bowing to fear,” she said.
Thomas concluded by asking if the Lord has called them? What is their sphere? Where are they meant to have influence?
“Your presence matters,” she said.
The event was hosted by the Willow Creek Ministerial Association whose members prayed for municipal, provincial, federal, education, and world leaders.

Members of the Willow Creek Ministerial Association pray for Chelsae Petrovic, MLA for Livingstone-Macleod, at the Prayer Breakfast for Elected Officials on Saturday, May 4 at the Claresholm Pentecostal Assembly. From left are Joachim Chisanga; Petrovic; Bev Larabie; Chandra Gray; Syd Gray; Heather Hanson; Henry Veldboom; and Joseph Steeves. Photo by Rob Vogt