Richard Ford was a successful real estate broker in the Dallas area who became interested in politics forty-five years ago. He was heavily involved with Campus Crusade’s Expo ’72 that drew more than 80,000 college and high school students to the Cotton Bowl in Dallas at the height of the Jesus Movement. Richard got to meet Dr. Bill Bright and three years later met him again at Crusade (now Cru) headquarters in Arrowhead Springs, California.
“I was quite worried about the economy,” Richard recalls. “OPEC had turned off our oil and the real estate market was dead. I shared with Dr. Bright my deep concern about our country and he had a Congressman call me a week or two later. He was the first congressman I ever knew by name or met in person. That was my introduction to politics.”
Richard went on to found Heritage Alliance, now known as iVoterGuide, in 1983. Today he serves as Chairman of the Board. He heard about Pinnacle Forum through Guy Rodgers, whom he had hired to do some consulting work for iVoterGuide. “We developed a good relationship,” Richard says, “and Guy contacted me when Pinnacle Forum wanted to get started in the Dallas area. I put together a breakfast at the country club for a dozen guys and a group developed out of that.
“I couldn’t participate because I’m in an electric wheelchair and it’s too hard for me to get around. But a year or two later, Guy called to say they were going to do a virtual forum with a guy named Chuck Bryant and would I like to participate? And I said, ‘Well yeah. That would be a great way for me to have some fellowship.’”
It turned out to be just what the doctor ordered. “The Forum provided fellowship I would not have had otherwise, because it was easy for me to participate. The virtual format meant I didn’t have to travel, but we could see each other regularly. We’ve become very close friends, even though we haven’t met each other face to face in some cases. We have such good fellowship. These guys are strong believers who really love the Lord and want to lift him up. Plus the group is a lot of fun. I can’t remember laughing as much with any other group.
“I haven’t brought anyone into my Forum group,” Richard adds, “but I’ve started two similar groups not officially connected to Pinnacle Forum. One is for my neighborhood and another for the metroplex. The Forum concept is definitely a good multiplier.”
Richard’s concern for our country is a year-round focus, but during an election year, his involvement intensifies. “There are two things we need to do if we want to equip leaders to impact the culture,” he says. “One is to become good stewards of our God-given authority. Romans 13 teaches that there is no authority except what God has established. God used the founders of our country to put authority in the hands of “We the people.” This means God has given us, the people, the highest level of governmental authority. We are the stockholders; we own this thing.
“But, unfortunately, too many Christians are like the steward who went out and buried his talent. As a result, he lost his authority and was severely chastised (Matthew 25:14-30). I’m praying that the body of Christ will awaken and confess our sin of being poor stewards of the authority we’ve been given, and that we will not only vote, but that we will vote wisely up and down the ballot. We can’t just vote for president and go home. We need to vote for the Senate, the US house, and our state legislative bodies.
“The second thing Christians need to do is lift up Jesus to our elected officials. Paul told Timothy to pray for everyone, including those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-3). And yet most people can’t even name their US senators or representatives, much less their state senators and representatives. So if they can’t even name them, how can they possibly pray for them?”
To address this issue, iVoterGuide has developed a creative tool available at www.PrayForLeaders.com. “You can sign up for a daily email highlighting one federal or state elected official who represents your geographical area,” Richard explains. “There’s a picture of him or her, a scripture, an appropriate devotional reading and a suggested prayer for that official.”
Unlike many groups, political discussions aren’t off limits in Richard’s Forum. “The key thing is to figure out what the Bible says about the different issues. If there’s a difference of opinion and we’re not able to agree on the biblical perspective, we must have a loving and patient attitude. Hopefully the Spirit will guide everyone to listen and to love each other because we’re all in the same family.
“My Forum group has been great for me,” Richard emphasizes. “I would encourage others to consider becoming part of Pinnacle Forum for one simple reason. Jesus told us to go and make disciples. When we start making disciples we are going to impact the culture. To do that, we need each other. Ecclesiastes 4:2 says, ‘Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.’ Just imagine how strong we are when we have eight or ten in the group?”
Such strength is sorely needed in these days of global pandemic, social unrest and political divisiveness.