An interview with Dr Russell Rook, chief executive of a charity that provides education and healthcare solutions around the country, and has a large amount of engagement with the political sphere.
Where do you work and what do you do?
I’m the Chief Executive of Chapel St. I’m based in London, but my work takes me all over England.
What does that mean in layman’s terms?
Chapel St works with local communities to create schools and health projects that can change the lives of the poorest people. Most of my role is involved in identifying new projects and working with politicians and community leaders to help make them happen.
How do you currently see God at work in politics?
All of Chapel St’s projects involve partnership with local churches and community groups. We see the local church as one of the single greatest catalysts for change in areas where change most needs to happen. We agree with Bill Hybels, and literally see that often the local church is the hope of the world. We see the unique ability that the church has to bring together whole communities to live and work together towards the common good.
What’s your prayer for the political sphere where you work?
Most of my prayers would be for the people who work in that sphere; for the people of faith, that they would know what they are called to do and who they are called to be, and that they would be authentic. I think for people who don’t have faith, or are from other faiths, my prayer is that they would know that God is on their side too, and that what they do has the power to change lives.
What would it look like to see God reign fully in the political sphere?
I think it’s key that anyone who has any position of power understands that that power has been given to them. So in a democracy, political leaders are given power by the people that vote for them, and the people that they work for. As a Christian I believe that ultimately all power has been given by God, and ultimately it becomes really important that those who are in power use what they have to do the best that they can for those that they serve. And ultimately to serve the God who at the end of the day is all powerful.
I guess theologically the kingdom of God is what happens when God wields His power perfectly through otherwise imperfect people. And so for me the Kingdom of God in the political realm can be summed up using the Lord’s Prayer, namely that God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.
It seems to me that throughout the Bible it’s pretty clear God doesn’t wield power directly, but hands power to the people that He made. And so when we think about His Kingdom we think about men and women working together with God to see that every part of creation is filled with His goodness, love and beauty.
Mark Williamson also blogs regularly at One Rock International, a training organisation resourcing missionary leaders across the globe. He’s passionate about good films, good food, getting into deep conversations, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna.