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Center for Leadership Aims to Transform America

Twelve23 Movement Key to National Transformation


Dr. Joe Savage and Dr. Mark FoleyHow do you transform a nation which has drifted away from God? Who will take a stand?

“Our nation needs leaders – Godfearing, God-honoring, influential, courageous leaders in families, in businesses, in public school systems, in the judiciary, in media, in ministry and in public office – and we need them now,” said University of Mobile President Dr. Mark Foley. “We must revive and protect the concept of honoring God on His terms in this land.”

(Photo courtesy of Mobile Press Register)

To do this, the university’s new Center for Leadership has embraced the goal of transforming America by strengthening Christian faith and character in all areas of public and private life. It is part of UMobile’s strategic plan, 2020 Vision, which focuses the university on becoming a nationally recognized leader of revitalization of Christian faith and character in a nation that has distanced itself from God. 2020 Vision builds upon the university’s ideals of competency in work, vibrancy in Jesus Christ, and courage in leadership, and aims to expand those ideals from the campus in Mobile, Alabama, to the national stage.

To accomplish this, the new Center for Leadership under the direction of Dr. Joe Savage,’91, has launched the Twelve23 Movement. In just a few short months, the Twelve23 Movement has captured the hearts and minds of thousands of people who are signing “The Twelve23 Contract” online at www.twelve23.org. It is a personal commitment to participate with God in a cultural and spiritual restoration of America.

It is a movement that draws its inspiration from the example of Private Martin.

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Private Martin’s Stand
“Seventy years ago in World War II, thousands of young Americans risked or lost their lives in defense of the United States. They prevailed. In so doing, they secured a future of freedom and the opportunity in which we now stand to endorse foundational American principles of life and belief. One of the stories that emerged from that war has inspired our thought,” Foley said.

In December 1944, an entire American armored division was retreating from the German army in the Ardennes Forest when a sergeant in a U.S. tank destroyer spotted a lone American soldier digging a foxhole. The soldier, a private named Martin from the 325th glider infantry regiment, looked up and asked, “You men looking for a safe place?” “Yes,” answered the tanker sergeant. Martin replied, “Well, Buddy, just pull your vehicle behind me. I’m 82nd Airborne and this is as far as the (enemy) is
going.”

Foley said, “The attitude of that young soldier is the attitude that men and women of faith in Christ must adopt if America is to be transformed.”

The event occurred on Dec. 23, 1944. That date, 12.23, is the title of the Twelve23 Movement.

“But there is another 12.23 to be considered,” Foley said, pointing to the words of Christ recorded in John 12:23: “Jesus answered them saying, ‘The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.’”

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Humble, Pray, Seek, Turn
The heart of the Twelve23 Movement lies in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

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Humble. Pray. Seek. Turn.
“There’s our responsibility,” Foley said. “A nation is at stake. We must stand in honor of God and stand together as persons of faith and as American citizens. It’s time to commit, to lead, and to transform America.”

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It’s Time
“Transforming a nation comes down to transforming a city, which comes down to transforming an individual,” said Savage, director of the Center for Leadership. The Twelve23 Movement focuses on the individual’s responsibility to humble self, pray, seek God, and turn away from sin.

One of the early initiatives of the Twelve23 Movement was a call for individuals to commit to pray for the nation each day at 12:23 a.m. or p.m. during the month before the mid-term elections. The focus culminated in a prayer rally on election day, Nov. 2, in Bienville Square in the heart of downtown Mobile, Ala. Christians of many denominations gathered to honor God and celebrate their freedom as Americans to pray and vote.

Now the focus turns to empowering individuals by providing the resources, information, encouragement and support to stand for God in all areas of their life. Savage said specific resources are being developed for professionals and leaders in fields of business, education, entertainment, law, media, medicine and ministry. The resources include weekly emails, webcasts, seminars and events. Signing the Twelve23 Pledge places individuals on the email list with access to information about these resources, such as the recent seminar on “The Church and the Moral Crisis of Our Time” for pastors and ministry leaders which focused on issues of separation between church and state.

Also, University of Mobile students participated in a Heritage Foundation conference in February, “Seek the Welfare of the City.” The two-night conference introduced the audience to a conservative vision for social justice by highlighting compassionate solutions to poverty and suffering that serve to preserve human dignity and personal responsibility.

The Twelve23 Movement is already attracting national attention, as national conservative columnist Quin Hillyer with The American Spectator wrote in his blog: “The University of Mobile, a growing and impressive private institution in southern Alabama, has launched an ambitious project … this prayer movement is meant not to be local, but national. It’s meant not to bolster the university, but instead to bolster this country. And while the university is Baptist, this project is decidedly ecumenical. Again, it’s well worth a look.”

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Your Personal Invitation
“I invite you to join with the University of Mobile in what by any human measure is an impossible objective – to realize the revitalization of Christian faith and character in America by the year 2020,” Foley said.

“It is the most far-reaching thing you will ever consider and quite possibly the most important of your life. For if we succeed, we will have participated with God in the transformation of a nation for His purpose in the lives of our children and our grandchildren.

“And we begin with the Twelve23 Movement.”

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Twelve23 Pledge

Now, more than ever, our country needs committed individuals who will lead our nation to honor God in the Judeo- Christian tradition; who are willing to take personal responsibility for family, for community, and for the nation at large; and who will pledge their faithful participation in the process of assuring that our nation remains great. We invite you to sign the Twelve23 Pledge for America at www.twelve23.org.

The Pledge
I am a citizen of the United States of America. I love my country, and I will defend the Constitution of this great nation.
I believe that America was founded upon Judeo-Christian values that must be maintained as prescribed by our founding fathers. I believe that God desires to be honored, and that I have a responsibility to honor Him. I believe that the concepts of responsibility to God, responsibility to country, and responsibility to others are essential to the health and welfare of our nation. I believe in the responsible exercise of capitalism, and I reject socialism in any form. I believe marriage exists only between a man and a woman and that the family must be preserved as the core strength of our nation. I believe it to be my responsibility to provide for myself and for my family, and to assist those in need as I am able. I believe a strong military is essential to the protection of liberty, and I have a responsibility to honor and support those men and women who valiantly serve our nation.
Therefore, as one who loves this country, I pledge my honor to God and my allegiance to America.  I commit to lead our nation to the concepts for which our founding fathers were willing to die - a government by the people and the exercise of individual liberty - with firm reliance upon Almighty God.