MarkWalkerMark Walker, a freshman congressman from North Carolina, is no stranger to the church. At age four, Walker became a pastor’s kid. “I never wanted to be in ministry,” Walker told RealClearReligion from his Washington, D.C., office. “In fact, I always said I wouldn’t be that because I saw how emotionally taxing it was on my mom and my dad.” So Walker pursued business. But it didn’t last long. By the time he was in his 20s, Walker felt the call to be an ordained minister, most recently serving as the music and worship pastor of Lawndale Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. In December 2013 Walker again changed course. He resigned from church leadership to run for Congress. Walker “committed the whole year of 2014 to run for office. I just felt like, ethically, there needed to be some separation.” Walker said his desire to compassionately share the “message of hope and opportunity” with people of all cultures and communities drove his campaign. “I felt like there were some in our circles that were taking that message and using it more from a condemnation standpoint rather than one that was driven by compassion,” Walker said, “and that was what really motivated me to say, ‘Maybe there’s room in this arena for me.'”

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