As I’ve said more than once before, I am an evangelical Christian and so I must do all I can to make this world a better place to live in. With God’s help of course!  

Given this, you will understand why I was delighted to discover that the Evangelical Alliance has released a report offering ‘a snapshot of how self-described evangelicals think and act as they engage in politics.’ It’s full of fascinating statistics and could prove profitable bedtime reading for anyone intending to stand at the next General Election, as well as any activists who will be campaigning for them.

For example, of the 1,380 evangelicals who took part in the survey, 93% said they are certain or likely to vote, a figure that compares more than favourably with the average general population turnout in recent elections. It is clear then that evangelicals take their vote seriously, which thrills me given the struggle there was to obtain universal suffrage.

All of this would suggest that there are lots of votes to be won, not least because a quarter of evangelical respondents who plan on voting have said they are undecided on who to vote for. So how can candidates win their support? It would appear that ‘the biggest factor influencing how evangelicals will vote is the impact that their vote will have on others. 58% of respondents say that one of the main factors that determines which party they vote for is who they believe will best help those most in need’.

Having said that, the spread of support among the various parties seems to mirror the general trend.  The number of respondents expressing an intention to vote for Labour for example has clearly risen while the vote for the Conservative party has remained pretty static. 

I found this observation very telling too, and I can’t wait to see how my local candidates will respond when I share it. ‘The Christians we surveyed would be more likely to vote for parties that protected free speech in the workplace, opposed assisted suicide, reduced the time limit for abortion, supported safe and legal routes for asylum, backed religious freedom in trade deals and increased the minimum wage’.

So how would Jesus vote if He was living in the UK today? I can’t give you a definitive answer to that question, but I know He would want me to pray. I am sure that He would want me to vote too, having spent time figuring out which candidate and which party best represent Biblical values and aspirations.

But I need to do more than that. This report is a salutary reminder to those of us who consider ourselves evangelicals that’s it’s not enough to engage with political candidates and cast our votes every few years.  We can build lasting relationships with them for example, and we must engage with our political and social structures too, so that things do change for the better.

Thankfully many evangelicals are doing just that, and in a variety of ways too – signing petitions, taking part in public consultations and boycotting certain products for example. But however we do it, we must never forget that we have a God-given mandate to create a more caring, harmonious and flourishing society. Put simply, we are to be ‘the salt of the earth’ and ‘the light of the world’.