A Message from Jarvis Wipf – Capitol Commission

Mr. Wipf recently began serving as a chaplain to the capitol community this legislative session through a ministry called Capitol Commission. Here is his perspective on the 2018 Legislative session, along with more information on Capitol Commission.

“At the conclusion of this year’s legislative session, I was asked for a recap on the ministry of Capitol Commission.  For those who may not be familiar with Capitol Commission, it is a national missions organization with the goal of reaching Capitol communities for Christ.  We are non-political, so we do not lobby for legislation.  Our goal is to be a pastoral presence and help all legislators, regardless of party affiliation, become disciples of Jesus Christ. 

Before session started I spent several weeks traveling around the state meeting legislators to introduce myself and the ministry of Capitol Commission. From three-hour conversations over lunch, invitations to their homes, and multiple meetings at the office were all means of getting to know legislators. These early contacts were key as session started, because they gave me a base that helped introduce me to many other legislators and provided opportunities to minister that otherwise would not have happened.

Since this was my first session, I tried to immerse myself into the culture of the legislative session by attending as many functions as I could.  This included sitting in on committee hearings, watching session, eating lunch with as many different legislators as possible, and going to evening social events.  At social events in the evening there was time to engage in a longer conversations and this opened the door for more interactions in the Capitol.

During the second week of session I handed out an introductory Bible study to all the legislators with an invitation to an evening Bible Study.  A Bible study on the Gospel of John launched during week three with 12 legislators present.  This number stayed consistent throughout the rest of the session.

The Gospel of John presents Jesus in a way “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”  Studies from John included:  The Deity of Christ, Responding to the Light, The Humanity of Christ, John’s Testimony to Christ, Come and See the Christ, The Manifested Glory of Christ, and The Authority of Christ Over Worship. 

I printed this weekly Bible study and distributed it to all 105 legislators.  After a few weeks of reading the Bible studies some then attended the evening study.  Many  told me that although they were unable to come to the actual study, they really appreciated the written study.  One legislator told me that he was passing it on to his spouse, and they were discussing it together.  God’s Word will accomplish His purposes, and there is fruit from these Bible studies!  One legislator told me on the last day of session that they were “learning a lot” from the studies.

Functioning as a chaplain in the Capitol opened many doors to pray for a wide variety of needs.  From situations dealing with health issues of family members, to death, to wisdom in how to pitch a bill in a way that was honoring to God, to being a witness among their peers.  I was also honored to open both the House and the Senate in prayer.

This first session has been a great launch of the ministry of Capitol Commission.  I made connections with legislators that will continue to grow over time.  The Gospel and the greatness of Jesus were presented on a weekly basis.  Many spoke of their gratefulness for the presence of a chaplain on a daily basis, and I heard comments like “He is always in a strategic location.” Please continue to pray with me for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-4).”

Jarvis Wipf – State Director – Capitol Commission

Contact: jarvis.wipf@capitolcom.org

TeenPact Leadership Week

With 48 energetic and informed students the 2018 South Dakota Teen Pact took to the state capital for a week of activities. These included a mock legislature with bills written, presented and argued by the Teens according to Capitol protocol, prayer walks in the Capitol, key issue debates, praise and worship, quizzes, fun food, senator and governor elections, spiritual challenge, and a healthy dose of camaraderie.

The Teens heard from our own Attorney General Marty Jackley, Secretary of State Shantel Krebs, and FHA Lobbyist Norman Woods. If you could only hear the questions that our teens are asking of our elected officials, you would be amazed.

For the last eleven years, during our State legislative session, South Dakota Teen Pact has given teens the opportunity to learn the legislative process, personally meet our government officials, and build leadership skills. The growth that occurs during this concentrated program greatly impacts our teens in understanding and living out their civil stewardship as Christians in the United States.

Read more about TeenPact across the United States on the TeenPact Leadership Schools website.

Click here for the South Dakota TeenPact details

Click here for the SD TeenPact Facebook page

“Port Yankton” Asks For Gambling

The city of Yankton is looking to use the Legislative process to put on the ballot the ability for the proposed “Port Yankton” entertainment complex to have roulette, keno, craps, limited card games and slot machines. The legislation proposing this constitutional amendment is SJR9, which if passed by the Legislature would be placed on the 2018 ballot.

There are several reasons we believe the measure should be defeated, here are three of them:

  1. There are many secondary negative effects of gambling, and one doesn’t need to look very far to find someone who has been impacted by a gambling addiction. Increasing the availability of gambling increases the potential for addictions.
  2. The constitutional amendment allows for only one location to carry these forms of gambling. (the proposed “Port Yankton” entertainment complex) If we allow this one complex in one city to offer these games, will it not be a matter of time before more locations on more cities are asking as well?
  3. In 1987 the city of Deadwood approached the Legislature and asked for the issue to be put on the ballot. The Legislature told them to go back to the people of SD and get the signatures instead. Yankton should follow the same path as Deadwood was required to follow.


Click here to email your Senator!

We have provided a sample email, but please rewrite it and make it your own!

Ministry Leaders Capitol Summit – Another Successful Year

Here is what people said regarding the 2018 Ministry Leaders’ Capitol Summit in Pierre:

What was the most rewarding part of the Capitol Summit in Pierre?

“Ushering prayer into the capitol”

“Praying with the legislators”

“Dr. Kenyn Cureton was a wonderful speaker.”

“Meeting State Officials”

“Filling the capitol with praise to God as we sang three songs on the steps in the rotunda”

“Meeting with like-minded believers”

PASTORS, as an encouragement to you, here is what people said regarding their pastors not being able to come:

“… I want to know from my pastor, where our church stands on the issues…”

“As Christians, we may not “like” politics or government, but we cannot afford to not be involved, concerned & engaged.”

“…it is important for leaders who are Christians to gather in Pierre and let their legislators know how they should vote in light of morals and values.”

“Do not fear, come to Pierre!  You have influence! Come put [it] into action at the Capitol.”

“Your role is important in our country.”

“Need to be involved and concerned in what is happening legislatively in the State. Need to understand what your support means to the legislators.”

“Come fight for our State and country through the power of the Lord.”

On February 6th Pastors and Ministry Leaders from across the state converged on the Capitol for a day of education and encouragement.

The day began with a light breakfast in the Rotunda including a quick briefing on capitol protocol and a list of what was on the legislators’ agenda for the day. Teen Pact alumni gave a Capitol tour. Our guests were then able to connect with their legislators, to pray with them, and to see part of the legislative process. Before leaving the capitol the whole group met on the Rotunda steps for a picture with the governor and for singing in that great hall. What an amazing sound!


Community Bible Church provided lunch for our whole group as well as several legislators. Thank you again for your hospitality!


Dr. Kenyn Cureton from Family Research Council brought a great challenge to the legislators focusing on the godly legacy of Ronald Reagan (his birthday was February 6th) and his implementation of godly morals in every area of government. Dr. Kenyn also encouraged the Ministry Leaders to live out “I am a Soldier of the Cross, Here I Stand!”


God is doing an incredible work in our State. He is giving the church the opportunity to impact our culture with His Love and Truth. We want to take every opportunity to shine as a city on a hill.

-Phil Shively

How Important Is Your Religious Freedom To You?

There are those who would like to strip us of that freedom – the very principle that America was founded upon.  If you follow the news at all, you are well aware of the erosion in the moral and spiritual condition of our nation. The evil one is working hard to destroy what is good and Godly; however, we can overcome the work of the enemy, but we must pray, be engaged, be diligent, be strategic and STAND UP for greater is He that is in us than he who is in the world. God is on our side; however, He does require us to put action to our faith.   Ephesians 4:11-16 says, “It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ.  From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

One could preach an entire sermon on this passage, but what strikes me is first of all, God wants believers to have a spirit of unity.  No, this does not mean that we will all agree on matters of faith and life, but it does require that we love one another in Christ so that together we can walk in the power of the Spirit to show the world who Jesus is and allow our witness to draw others to him.  Secondly, we are certainly being tossed about by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  If we each walk out our faith and love and put it into action, we have the power to overcome the works of the enemy.  As scripture tells us, a cord of three is not easily broken.  You have probably heard it said before, that it is not the presence of darkness that’s the problem but it’s the absence of light!  We need your light to shine in our government.

Proverbs 11:14 states, “For lack of guidance a nation falls.”  Our lawmakers need spiritual and moral guidance and they need to hear from you.  Your presence, your prayers, and your voice at the State Capital is powerful.  Family Heritage Alliance feels so strongly about the influence you have as pastors, as ministry leaders and people of Christian faith from your community that for the past six years we have sponsored the Pierre Summit.  It’s for you.  We desire to come alongside you so that together we can be a state where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive and life is cherished.

Pastors, ministry leaders, and citizens, we know that you are extremely busy and you have numerous responsibilities, but as leaders, will you consider attending the Pierre Summit a priority this year?  I sense a measure of urgency that we, as the body of Christ, come together at our State Capital in the spirit of unity to kick off the legislative session for the glory of God.

Here’s what you can look forward to at the Summit.  At 9:00 AM, we will meet in the Rotunda of the State Capital for refreshments and instruction. You are then released to tour the Capitol, sit in on committees, or most importantly, we encourage you to find your representative and senator, voice your concerns and pray with your legislators.  Your presence and your voice are crucial to the decisions being made.  At 11:30, we will all gather on the steps of the Rotunda with the governor and many other state officials for a photograph followed by what I consider to be the most precious moment of the day joining together and singing, “God Bless America.”  Hearing that song, which is actually a prayer, resounds throughout the Capital. Followed by the singing, we proceed to Community Bible Church, which so graciously provides a delicious lunch for us and the legislators.  Kenyn Cureton from Family Research Council will be delivering an encouraging message, and then we will close with gifted resources for you so that you can depart by 2:30.

Click here to register. There is no cost to attend the event, but we do need your registration. A free will offering will be available to help us with the bus rental.  A 55- passenger bus with bathroom facilities is being provided for you. One will leave from Sioux Falls and another will leave from Rapid City for Pierre. Details regarding departure times and location can be found on our website.   We look forward to seeing you in Pierre.  Please contact us with any questions.

-LaVonne Fosness


What The Schumer Shutdown Is Really About

A commentary from Congressman Gary Palmer

Democrat senators made a choice last night. They chose between funding our military along with funding for healthcare insurance for America’s most vulnerable children or funding an unconstitutional program for people here illegally. They made a bad choice.

By opposing passage of a reasonable continuing resolution (CR) to extend funding for the United States government, the Senate Democrats led by Sen. Chuck Schumer further endangered the safety and security of the men and women who serve in the United States military forces.  The Schumer Shutdown increases the potential for serious injury and death for the men and women who risk their lives in their training, in their operation of aircraft, ships and land equipment that are outdated and lacking adequate maintenance and for those serving in combat operations.

The CR included six year funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), something Democrats traditionally support and that millions of low-income Americans depend on for their children’s health care. Literally, the Schumer Shutdown has tied opposition to funding our military and CHIP to an attempt to force amnesty for people who are in this country illegally. This is not only compromising our national security, it is compromising the health and safety of millions of American children and  potentially causing resentment among American citizens against those who are here illegally as a result of the Obama Administration’s unconstitutional action called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

In general, I believe a majority of Republicans in the House and Senate are sympathetic to the plight of those who were brought into the United States illegally as children. My colleagues and I want to provide a remedy that resolves the legal issue and helps them get right with the law and have an opportunity to earn the right to stay. As the vocal and disruptive demonstrations on Capitol Hill by these DACA/Dreamer protesters visibly show, they are not just children, but young, in some cases older, adults who are being used, not for their best interests, but as political pawns of the Democrat Party.

By attaching their demand for full amnesty and citizenship in order to fully and adequately fund our military and CHIP, the Democrats in both the House and Senate have made hostages of our service men and women and children in low-income families. Literally, the Democrats are encouraging and supporting the disruptive demonstrations by illegal aliens at our nation’s Capitol while our soldiers and sailors go without the support they desperately need and potentially leaving millions of children without health insurance in the midst of the worst flu epidemic in America in years.  This is not only dangerous, it is shameful.

If it was not already apparent, by now it should be to every American that by refusing to pass the CR, Sen. Schumer and the Democrats are callously using the unconstitutional DACA program people in their quest for political power with a stunningly reckless disregard for our military and the well-being of American families and their children. And whether the DACA demonstrators realize it or not, the Schumer Shutdown could make matters worse by diminishing their cause and their future acceptance among millions of otherwise sympathetic American people.

Finally, as if it is not evident enough that what the Schumer Shutdown is really all about then consider this. The Democrats ensured that funding for our military, CHIP, and other government programs ended at the precise second that marked the first anniversary of Donald Trump taking office as President of the United States. There is a disturbing and obsessive inability of the Democrats in both the House and Senate to accept the will of the people who elected President Trump. It appears to me that the Schumer Shutdown is simply the latest attempt to bring down the Trump presidency and halt the amazing success President Trump has achieved in his first year. The Democrats have literally come to the point where they are not only compromising our military and the health and well-being of American children, they are compromising the cause of DACA recipients and their own legitimacy as well.”

-Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL)


Culture Impact Teams – Time to Shine!

Culture Impact Teams make a difference any time of year, but right now is their time to shine. With the legislative session now in full swing, your church’s CIT can truly shed light on pertinent issues in Pierre. As your CIT networks with Family Heritage Alliance and with other CITs, we can understand the bills and resolutions coming this session and have a voice with our legislators and governor.

If your church already has a Culture Impact Team, please contact them and see how you can be involved. If your church does not yet have a CIT and you would like one or if your Team would like help with further direction for your CIT, Phil Shively is in Sioux Falls this week, January 15-19, to help you! He will also be scheduling trainings in Rapid City the week of January 29. He is available for anything from a 5 minute introduction to a 2 hour training to get your CIT rolling. Please contact Phil at 605-718-5433.

Let’s not miss this opportunity to let the true light shine before men so that God is honored in our State.