Point of Grace Pastor Seen as a Leader in Iowa GOP Politics
Pastor Jeff Mullen of Waukee's Point of Grace Church has changed the policies of a child-care center housed there to focus on church beliefs. Mullen has been active in conservative Christian causes.
A Waukee child-care center housed at Point of Grace Church that is weeding out all but born-again Christians from its staff angered some parents and staff members -- which is nothing new to the politically outspoken pastor behind the shift.
Happy Time Daycare and Preschool is closing, to be replaced by Point of Grace Christian Children's Academy. Staff members must agree to abide by certain principles to be rehired, including abstinence for unmarried employees, regular church attendance, and being a born-again Christian.
Point of Grace Pastor Jeff Mullen told the Des Moines Register the unexpected media coverage of the changes has led to multiple calls of interest and support from other teachers and parents.
“I could never have paid for this much advertising,” he told the newspaper.
GOP presidential contender Michele Bachmann of Minnesota has visited Point of Grace Church at least twice this summer. According to WHO-TV's website, the Minnesota Congresswoman spoke to the church at two services on July 3 as she kicked off her campaign in the state.
Then, on Aug. 7, according to NBC News, Bachmann attended a Point of Grace service where Pastor Jeff Mullen called homosexuality "immoral" and "unnatural," and later showed a testimonial video from a man who claimed to have been gay before having a conversation with God.
Mullen made a video earlier this month endorsing Bachmann's candidacy, and urging viewers to vote for her in the Aug. 13 Iowa Straw Poll. Voters were told to meet at his church, where he would have free tickets available for them to attend the poll. Bachmann has the "new direction and righteous leadership" the country needs, he says.
The Iowa Republican website, says Point of Grace Pastor Jeff Mullen and his wife, Cathy, are among 103 Iowa pastors and faith leaders who have endorsed Bachmann's candidacy. Her campaign released the list of endorsements Aug. 5.
The church has been a site of other GOP gatherings during this election cycle, hosting the Faith and Freedom Forum on March 7. According to the Des Moines Register, about 1,500 people attended the event, which served as the first group appearance of the developing campaign for the Iowa caucuses. Five Republicans with presidential aims spoke: Rick Santorum, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who has since dropped out of the race, retired Georgia businessman Herman Cain, and Buddy Roemer, former governor of Louisiana.
About the church and its lead pastor
Jeff Mullen has served on staff at Point of Grace Church for the past 15 years. According to the church website during this time, the church has experienced tremendous growth and has seen thousands of lives changed. In his moments of free time, the website says Mullen enjoys time with family, golfing, dinner with friends and sending lead down the firing range.
The church offers a range of programs and ministries that include community outreach. Upcoming events on its calendar including a booth and spot in WaukeeFest, the town festival, on Aug. 27; the church will host a Meals for the Heartland event in November to feed the poor; a class on healthy living and eating; plus religious ministries for all age groups.
According to a music website CDBaby on which Mullen has hymns to purchase and download, he helped start the church in 1995 in the West Des Moines Holiday Inn, weeks later moving to Indian Hills Junior High School. Two and a half years later the church moved to Valley Southwoods Freshman High School and in 2004 moved into its first building in Waukee. As of 2006, Point of Grace Church had 25 employees and over 3,000 attendees.
Mullen helped found a website called IowaPastors.com, and speaks on the welcome video on its main page. His comments include the role conservative Christians could play in the state's judicial retention election, which ousted three Iowa Supreme Court justices who had ruled to make gay marriage legal in Iowa.
The site says its mission is: "This site is designed to encourage and equip pastors to communicate effectively to their congregation and community the importance and biblical mandate for involvement in local and national elections."
New York magazine calls Mullen the Must Court Pastor for GOP presidential candidates. It says: "Jeff Mullen of Point of Grace Church in Waukee, who was a pivotal player in the charge to remove gay-marriage-friendly State Supreme Court justices."