How Jesus and Politics Go Hand in Hand
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For years, Bunni believed she would be a missionary in a foreign country after Bible School. She married Tim and was raising their two boys, running a business, and leading worship in her church when God called her to be a "missionary to America." She felt compelled to bring people the gospel, but also to advocate for biblical values in politics and government.
When she graduated from Dallas Baptist University with a political science degree, she started working for Congressman Jeb Hensarling (TX-05) as his campaign manager. For over a decade, she served this Congressman, then in 2015 she started her own political consulting company. She acquired 32 clients and became one of the leading firms in Texas serving members of Congress, state senators, state representatives, judges, and even a few county officials while working on their campaigns.
Although she spent a number of years working full-time in politics, she was also passionate about discipleship and ministry. She and Tim, founded and led a house church ministry, wrote discipleship books, created a prayer/worship conference, and led worship for the church.
RUN FOR CONGRESS
“In late 2017, Congressman Jeb Hensarling announced his retirement from Congress, and when I couldn't find a candidate to run, I jumped into what became an 8-person primary to fill his seat. As a first-time candidate, God used all of my ministry and business experience, policy understanding, and campaign expertise, which resulted in my making it into a 2-person runoff with a sitting state representative,” says Bunni.
Although she came up short during the runoff election, her campaign raised more money than any other GOP open seat candidate in Texas (nearly $1 million). She was also the only candidate across the United States who received the endorsement of Vice President Mike Pence and the only Texas Republican woman to make it to the runoff election.
WORKING THROUGH UNFORGIVENESS
After her campaign for Congress Bunni had to deal with how angry and hurt, she had become. Some of the hurt she was dealing with from the campaign included vicious rumors about her family, TV ads that portrayed her as a liar, as well as people who she thought were friends turned against her. She spent time with praying and looking at the condition of her heart. Her campaign had raised over $970,000 with 3,000 left over. When the Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports became available, she realized her opponent, Congressman Gooden, had not paid off his runoff campaign (which is legal). She struggled with the feeling of injustice. While she did everything right, she still did not win. She finally realized she had to let the pain of losing the election go and begin to heal.
Bunni prayed for Congressman Gooden and his family everyday. She felt compelled to help him pay off his remaining debt of $40,000 from his runoff. He accepted her help graciously. In 2019, Bunni raised the remaining funds to help pay off the remainder of his debt by the end of the year. Her obedience helped melt the unforgiveness in her heart and be able to move forward.
After the race Bunni’s heart became even more burdened for Christians who were enthusiastic about fellow believers running for office, but who didn't understand the political processes and the governmental systems to make a difference. “Many Christians who I spoke to didn't know what a primary election was and couldn’t even name their local mayor,” shares Bunni. She wanted to empower everyday Christians who didn't follow politics and government daily to be able to make an impact in our nation. After writing extensive notes on the importance of Christians’ involvement for our nation, three key words rose to the top - PRAY, VOTE, and ENGAGE.
Bunni shares, “If Christians retreat from the call to be involved in our culture, our nation will continue to stray away from God’s timeless truths and principles.” God spoke to her out of Romans 13:11, "Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep” and told her to go find the awakening Church and plug them into habits of prayer, voting and engagement. With the help of friends who had knowledge in the areas of politics and government Bunni formed a plan on how to empower Christians to take action in their nation. In 2019, she formed Christians Engaged as a method to awaken, educate, and empower believers in Jesus Christ to:
• PRAY for our nation and elected officials regularly.
• VOTE in every local, state, and national election to impact our culture.
• ENGAGE our hearts in civic education or involvement for the well-being of our communities and our nation.
TAKING ON THE IRS
In 2021, Christians Engaged, her nonprofit ministry, was denied tax-exempt status because of their biblical teachings. Although Bunni’s organization never told people how to vote they informed them about the process which included teaching on prayer, voting and engagement.
She quickly gained national headlines with conservative media highlighting how the IRS seemed to be targeting conservatives. Eighteen months into this request for tax exempt status the IRS sent a letter and denied their nonprofit status because they said the biblical teachings of Christians Engaged were in essence political speech.
Bunni and friends at First Liberty Institute decided to appeal the decision. A media frenzy began, and Christians began waking up. “God was using a bad situation to make a difference for all our good,” shares Bunni. She quit her political job and began working full-time for Christians Engaged. On the first day working full-time at Christians Engaged she received word that the IRS would finally give tax exempt status to her nonprofit.
POLITICAL DIFFERENCES ASIDE
In 2021, Bunni had a dream about former Congressman Beto O’Rourke that went beyond their political differences. In her dream she saw herself talking with Beto and speaking these words, “Congressman, God has a plan for your life, and it goes way beyond politics. He loves you and your family deeply, and He wants you to know Him more. He sees your heart to serve.” She prayed about the dream for months wondering why she had it.
Then in 2022, she and a team went to Laredo, TX, a city right on the border of Mexico, to minister to the people. In a divine appointment by invitation, she ended up having a meeting with him. Deep down she knew she had to share the dream God had given her months earlier. As she shared the dream, she felt the Spirit of God come over her. When she was done Beto was speechless but let her pray for him. He asked for her number and said, “If God gives you anything else for me, please let me know.”
To learn more about our political process and how your vote matters, please visit ChristiansEngaged.org. For more information about Bunni Pounds, please visit her website: www.BunniPounds.com, where you can also purchase her book, Jesus and Politics.
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