“Our legislative scorecard is out for the 2017-18 sessions just in time for the primaries. Feel free to print, copy, cut, paste, quote, and use the resource however you see fit. Make sure voters in your district know how your legislators are voting, and thank your legislator for standing up for LIFE! Don’t have a pro-life legislator? You can donate to South Dakota Right to Life PAC, 342 N. Sunset Dr., Mina, SD 57451. Specify which district race you want your funds used in. Questions about the scorecard? Email firstname.lastname@example.org”
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
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!
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.
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.