Justice isn’t merely a Bible study topic or a slogan for Daniel Lynch, a member of Grace Capital (Pembroke Foursquare Church) in Pembroke, N.H. It’s a daily responsibility. Through his public service role, he is charged with ensuring that disputes and lawbreaking are dealt with fairly and firmly.
As chief deputy clerk for the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire, he assists in the administration of a court system that handles around 800 criminal and civil cases each year. Additionally, Daniel is one of only a handful of court administrators who also serve as part-time United States magistrate judges, helping with his court’s caseload.
A former litigator who has been part of Grace Capital since 2001, Daniel says: “The Bible teaches that all civil authority comes from God, and I try very hard to respect and honor that trust every day.”
Part of his motivation for public service comes from an Old Testament example.
“God put Joseph in a position of great power and authority in the secular world,” Daniel explains, “and he performed his job in a way that both glorified God and pleased Pharaoh. In this regard, Joseph still serves as a role model for modern-day public servants.”
Graduating from law school at Wayne State University in Michigan, Daniel served as a law clerk to two federal judges in the Eastern District of Michigan until he and his family moved to New Hampshire in 1990. He then worked as a commercial litigator for some years before deciding that the demands of the job were keeping him from fulfilling his biblical duties as a husband and father. It was then that he decided to pursue a career in judicial administration.
Being a Good Witness
At Grace Capital, Daniel has served everywhere from the grounds crew to caring for the toddlers and leading small groups, to currently being part of the church council. He believes that the best way to be a witness for Christ in the government workplace is to be honest, fair, transparent and approachable.
“It can be difficult to exude Christ’s love in all situations when managing people,” he says. “As a manager, you have to hold people accountable and, as a result, sometimes have confrontational and difficult conversations with employees who don’t necessarily see Christ in you during those conversations.”
Daniel strongly believes all Christians should pursue excellence in their vocations.
“The Bible instructs us to apply ourselves to our work as though we are directly laboring for Christ,” he affirms, “and I try to keep that in mind—that I am not just performing a secular job, but I’m doing this for Christ. That drives me to pursue excellence.”
Shaping the Future
While Daniel’s life in the public square centers on applying the law, Bruce Starr’s has meant shaping it. A member of Beaverton Foursquare Church in the Portland, Ore., suburb, his years as an Oregon senator have included sponsoring the state’s version of Jessica’s Law, which polices sex offenders.
Bruce’s efforts have been inspired by two generations. Political involvement was modeled by his father, Charles, whose Republican seat in the Oregon House of Representatives he filled in 1998 and whom he later joined in the state Senate as its first elected father-son team.
But his motivation is his children, with whom he and his wife attend Beaverton Foursquare.
“It’s about securing the future for my kids and my grandkids,” he says. “We have to look at what kind of country are we going to leave for the next generation, and will they be better off than we were?”
For him, that means rolling up his sleeves and getting involved—as he did when he joined other church members on an outreach to Biloxi, Miss., after Hurricane Katrina.
“The opportunity to help to rebuild somebody’s physical life, and then be able to minister emotionally and spiritually to those people who had been so devastated, was a phenomenal experience,” he recalls.
Currently running for Oregon Labor Commissioner, Bruce believes that, as Christians, “it is our responsibility to be salt and light, like Scripture tells us.” If believers do not get involved, “they don’t have the ability to influence or impact what is occurring in our society,” he says. “If they don’t participate, they leave those decisions to others who may not necessarily have the same values they do.”
Prior to his state election, Bruce served as his father’s legislative aide and also won a seat on Hillsboro City Council. Away from the Senate floor, he looks to make an impact informally, giving youngsters a chance to serve in his office, opening their eyes to the political and legislative world. Without his enjoying a similar opportunity as a young man, “I don’t think I would be where I am today.”
Chairman of the Board
The public square can be different sizes. For Larry Trottier, a member of Journey (South Royalton Foursquare Church) in South Royalton, Vt., his sphere of influence covers the 2,000 or so people who live in the town, where he is chairman of South Royalton’s select board.
Heading the five-strong elected group responsible for running the affairs of the small community, Larry found himself overseeing the management of a $2 million crisis relief fund established in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene’s devastating floods in August 2011.
In his nine-year tenure on the select board, Larry has drawn on 40 years of business experience with a successful John Deere dealership he operates with his two sons.
“There are givers, and there are takers, and I’m a giver,” he says of his community involvement, which often requires taking time out of his workday for meetings. “I enjoy helping the town run.”
Larry ran for the select board at the suggestion of a friend, after serving on a local conservation agency board for several years. A member of Journey for more than a decade, Larry has recently joined the church council after serving as a greeter for several years. But he has no desire to seek higher public office, though others have encouraged him.
“I know my limitations, and I am happy with what I have done,” he says.
By: Andy Butcher, a freelance writer living in the Orlando, Fla., area