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

“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

Ministry Leaders Capitol Summit

It’s that time of year again! Every year we invite Pastors, Priests and ministry leaders the State Capitol for a day of networking and inspiration.

Bus transportation is available from Rapid City and Sioux Falls.

The day starts at 9:00am (CST) in the Capitol rotunda with a light breakfast and coffee, then a brief presentation. We update everyone on the recent happenings at the capitol, introduce them to our family-value allies, and give them an explanation on the layout of the building.

After the presentation everyone is free to explore the capitol, pray with their elected leaders, or take a tour led by FHA Interns (or do all three!). After a picture on the capitol steps, everyone leaves the capitol and goes to Community Bible Church in Pierre for lunch.

This year our keynote speaker is Kenyn Cureton, Family Research Council’s Vice President for Church Ministries! Kenyn will share his heart as to why we as Christians are called to influence every aspect of our culture with Christ’s morals. Then at 2:30, we explain the many resources we have brought with us on the resource table, and you’re off! Home in time for supper.

When: February 6, 9am to 2:30pm

Where: Capitol Rotunda

Who: Pastors, Priests & Para-Church Ministry Leaders.

New for 2018: Every attendee is welcomed to invite a youth member from their church to shadow them for the day! Take a young person with you who you believe will appreciate a hands-on experience at the Capitol!

Click here to register for the bus from Sioux Falls

Click here to register for the bus from Rapid City

Click here to register, providing your own transportation

2017 Legislative Scorecard is Ready

The 2017 legislative session was challenging.  When it comes to the folks you sent to Pierre to represent your values, there were many who stood with FHA Action regardless of the cost.  To those brave souls, we extend our sincerest appreciation.  The big question is, was your legislative delegation to Pierre supportive of your values?

That’s a good question.  After crunching the numbers on this 92nd Legislative Session, we thought it would be useful to you, to have in hand some real stats regarding the way your legislators voted on values.  We have prepared a concise scorecard that shows exactly that.  Use the link below to download the scorecard.  You are free to redistribute the document any way you desire.  We simply ask that you do not modify it in any way.

Click here to download your copy now.

Sioux Falls’ Legislative Review Luncheon Held

FHA Executive Director Dale Bartscher and FHA Action Lobbyist and Youth Coordinator Norman Woods traveled the very familiar road to Sioux Falls on Wednesday. Once again they were assisted by Sioux Falls FHA Representative LaVonne Fosness as we held a Sioux Falls area FHA Legislative Review Luncheon. Seventy-Four energetic guests filled the room at the Linwood Wesleyan Church as their lead Pastor Bob McHenry opened the event in prayer.

We were honored to have in attendance these elected officials: Senators Jim Bolin and Jim Stalzer, along with Representatives Steven Haugaard, Leslie Heinemann, Isaac Latterell, Sue Peterson, Marli Wiese and Larry Zikmund.

It was a treat to welcome Owen Shay, Constituent Service Representative for Congresswoman Kristi Noem (SD) to our event. Owen brought us up-to-date with some of the happenings and decisions made in Congresswoman Noem’s office.

A special treat for Dale was the presence of his sister Cheryl. Cheryl, and her husband Ernie, live in Sioux Falls and often attend FHA events but this day was special. Cheryl was celebrating her birthday and Dale surprised her with a birthday cake complete with candles. This only but goes to prove…the FHA is ‘Family’ in more ways that one 🙂