The two things you are never to discuss in polite company are politics and religion. Debbie Wuthnow is up to her eyebrows in both. In a country where politics can be so divisive and many Christian leaders take very public stands on candidates and issues, how does she keep her balance?
Her Pinnacle Forum group helps.
Debbie is the president of iVoterGuide (https://ivoterguide.com), a non-profit organization that provides voting information and candidate evaluations in all 50 states. Under her leadership the organization will reach more than 2.2 million voters in 2020.
After earning a master’s degree in Computer Science from Princeton, Debbie became a systems engineer at AT&T Bell Laboratories. When she had children, she left the workplace to be a stay-at-home mom for many years. Then in 2011 she joined iVoterGuide.
“I got introduced to Pinnacle Forum through Chuck Bryant and the founder of our organization, Richard Ford,” Debbie recalls. “Richard has been in a virtual Pinnacle Forum group for about two years and was just singing its praises. I knew the power of small groups, because I was very engaged with Community Bible Study during my 20 years as a stay-at-home mom. It was my weekly accountability to God and other believers, and I loved it. That was how I was discipled.
“I had to step away from that Bible study when I became more involved with iVoterGuide. And as I moved into leadership, I really needed to be with other leaders who could be my sounding board and support network. Pinnacle Forum has met that need perfectly.”
Debbie belongs to a virtual group, mostly from the Midwest, who meet Thursday mornings at 7:30. “We use Zoom and it’s great,” she explains. “Most of the ladies call in with a camera so we can see each other. It’s the next best thing to being face to face. It’s a more efficient use of time since we don’t have any travel. When the meeting starts, you’re there, and when it’s done you can immediately go back to work. And when people are able to show their faces, it’s almost as good as being together in person.”
One of the best parts of the group for Debbie comes right up front at what they call check-in. “At the start of our meetings we use a scale of 1-10 to say where we’re at spiritually, physically, and emotionally. We rate how we’re doing with our families and our work. Is it a good week? Is it a bad week? How can we pray for you? We also check-in on how we’re doing with our cultural engagement before we move on to discuss a chapter of the devotional book we’re reading.”
When it comes to cultural engagement, Debbie’s focus is on the government mountain of culture (https://pinnacleforum.com/
Debbie encourages Pinnacle Forum Partners to understand their role in government. “It may not be your primary area of interest, but we all have a responsibility as citizens to participate in our representative government. We have to vote wisely, which is where iVoterGuide comes in. I understand that people get very emotional and tied to particular issues or personalities. At iVoterGuide we try to stay above that. Our goal is to equip voters, especially Christian voters, to be good steward of their citizenship by giving them factual, data-driven information about the issues and candidates on their ballots. We don’t put any spin on our research. We just stick to the facts.”
Debbie views her work at iVoterGuide as a ministry. “God has called me to this role, but there are so many areas of responsibility for which I don’t have the educational preparation. Through my Forum group I can talk to leaders of other organizations and businesses. Many of the issues I’m going through as president of iVoterGuide, they are able to address. It’s been a great support as I try to do my job better.
“I think everybody needs accountability,” Debbie continues. “But when we get into leadership, it’s even more important to be accountable to people who have similar levels of responsibility and experience. There are aspects of our personal and professional lives we need to discuss with others at the CEO level. I get this from Pinnacle Forum. It’s what drew me to our group.”
iVoterGuide is built on the premise that an educated voter is a motivated voter. They are researching more than 8,000 candidates for public office and will be used by more than 2.2 million voters in 2020. For more information, visit https://ivoterguide.com.