April 29, 2016
Dear Ministry Friends and Partners:
Over the past few months I served the Kentucky State Capitol community during my first legislative session. This year’s session was a “long session” (60 days as opposed to the 30 day “short sessions” held on alternating years). Every two years a long session is held in part due to a biennial state budget needing to be passed on even numbered years. Although I don’t have anything else to compare it with, I have heard that these sessions are much busier and more stressful than their odd-year counterparts. It was a good way to get initiated with a “baptism of fire” of sorts.
My goal during this session was to build relationships with as many lawmakers and staff as possible. I wanted to introduce myself and the ministry and let them know that I was there to serve them and pray for them. It was important to emphasize that my ministry would be non-partisan. I engage in no lobbying on legislation, no endorsing of candidates, and no obvious support of any political party. My desire is to be able to minister through the Scriptures and prayer to the spiritual needs of legislators and staff regardless of their political affiliation. I also started a weekly Bible study for legislators and staff in one of the small meeting rooms in the Capitol Annex (the office building connected by tunnel to the capitol where all the legislators’ offices are located).
I was very encouraged by the doors the Lord opened during this session for ministry. We opened the session with a free meal provided to legislators as a “Welcome Back” and introduction of the ministry to Kentucky. During the session, I was able to meet personally with 35 senators and representatives in their offices. During this time I would introduce myself and explain the purpose of the ministry. I would also try to learn a little bit about the legislator’s background and family. I would then ask how I could pray specifically for that legislator and would subsequently do so. This was a very profitable time of ministry and opened doors for many conversations later as I followed up on prayer requests or family details they had shared.
In addition to these office meetings, I also met and had substantially conversations with 63 other lawmakers in various contexts. I regularly set in the gallery of the Senate and House chambers observing and praying for the legislators. I was blessed to lead the opening prayer of the Senate on three different occasions. By the end of the session, I was on first-name basis with nearly 100 of the 138 members of the Kentucky General Assembly.
Our Bible study met on each Tuesday and Thursday during the session. I did the same study both days to allow as many legislators as possible to attend (since they each have varying schedules based on which committees they serve on). We began with a study on “How to Study the Bible” and ended the session with an expositional study of the book of Philippians. Thanks to donations from churches and individuals, we were able to provide a light lunch at each of these studies, as well as the initial lunch for legislators at the beginning of the session. I was also able to purchase a case of ESV Pew Bibles to use for our studies. We averaged approximately 20 each week in attendance at the Bible study (combined) with some from the community attending as well. We had at least 21 different legislators or staff attend at least once, most multiple times.
I was also ministering to the staff at the capitol. I was able to build a number of relationships with staff and had several opportunities to pray for specific needs that they shared with me. The staff as a whole was very receptive to the idea of the Bible study, but they are severely limited during the legislative session due to their busyness (they are often unable to get away from their desks for lunch). My plan is to provide a weekly Bible study for the year-round staff at the capitol during the interim (May – December). I would like to begin, as I did for the legislators, with a welcoming meal. To do this, I will need the Lord to provide the resources as I ended the session slightly in the red in my ministry expense account.
Overall, I was greatly encouraged with how the session went. I was encouraged by the quality of the people who work at the capitol (both legislators and staff). I was also encouraged by the amount of work that they do. Many begin work early in the morning and work late into the evening. What happens when the General Assembly is in session is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the amount of work that is being done. In summary, I was greatly encouraged by what I saw up close and behind the scenes (for the most part). I was also more convinced than ever of the importance of this ministry. The legislators and staff are under a ton of pressure and need the spiritual support of the prayers of God’s people. I was honored to be used by God as an extension of His church during this session to minister to the needs of the Kentucky General Assembly.
Please continue or commit to praying for the legislators and staff, and for me as I seek to minister to them on your behalf! If you would like to partner with our ministry, please let me know. You can give directly through my Capitol Commission ministry page (capitolcom.org/Kentucky).
In Christ Alone,