WASHINGTON - Conservative and urban church leaders have come together to form the International Communion of Evangelical Churches -- a coalition devoted to uniting Christians not only biblically, but also politically to influence the world.
ICEC leaders believe their group can realign urban believers to spark economic or even spiritual revival.
"Urban America, there's a blight on the land. We have generations of young people that have family breakdown. We have all kind of issues of poverty in the land," ICEC presiding bishop Rev. Harry Jackson said.
"And the gospel in foreign nations always brings an economic lift, higher moral standards," he said. "And so we believe America may be on the verge of another great awakening."
Where liberal groups like the National Council of Churches have tended to dominate urban denominations, this communion hopes to educate Christians in the power of conservative values.
Rev. Aubrey Shines has studied what happens when congregations go into voting booths with more education about candidates and issues.
"What we found to be interesting is that the more information they had, the more conservative in their views they became," he explained.
"I remember the first time I ever voted for president, I voted for Ronald Reagan. And I remember my father calling me 'Reagan's boy' and 'Uncle Tom' and even in my own family," recalled ICEC member J. Alan Neal.
"But it took to almost the death of my father... he became conservative in the end," Neal said. "He understood that the principles that he taught me were always conservative principles."
The group will speak out on political issues, but puts evangelism first.
"We're a combined communion of about a thousand churches. We'll start more. We'll assimilate more," said Rev. Kyle Searcy, one of several ICEC "founding fathers."
"[Through] our combined efforts with crusades in the nations, with teaching our churches to evangelize... to not just be a secretary, not just be a lawyer, but wherever you are, you're salt and light to bring people to Jesus," Searcy said.
ICEC leaders say they'll focus on church planting, foreign missions, and societal impact in the U.S.