When Mike Shreve became ministry leader to the California State Legislature in January 2015, he was looking forward to leading Bible studies and discipling Public Servants in the state Capitol.
But he quickly determined that the traditional Bible study, in which a group of people meet in a room to delve into Scripture, wasn’t going to work.
The schedules of Assemblymen and Senators were so jammed that a sit-down study that would accommodate everyone couldn’t be finalized. So Pastor Shreve began walking office to office, meeting people and praying with them. Not only did that process work well, but it enabled Pastor Shreve to develop strong relationships that opened the door to a ministry where Scriptures were discussed in small, one-on-one meetings.
“My ministry in the Capitol is sort of like the Old Testament prophets who would go into a region and the Spirit of God would come upon them so they could teach the people,” Pastor Shreve said. “At the Capitol, there are 15 rooms in which I meet with people and discuss Scripture on Mondays and Tuesdays at all times of the day.”
Pastor Shreve talks to people and asks if they have a specific need or situation that requires prayer. “Then I build the Word around that,” he said. “God gives me words of encouragement for each one.”
On those two days, he meets with about 50 different people, including 15 legislators from both parties – Republican and Democrat.
“And then on Wednesdays I send each person the full Scripture we prayed about,” he said. “I talk about what the author of the book was communicating when he wrote it and I how the Scripture applied to the issue or problem we discussed.”
For those interested in a more formal study, Pastor Shreve distributes copies of The Members Bible Study that Ralph Drollinger, President of Capitol Ministries, presents to U.S. Senators and Congressmen in the Washington, D.C. Capitol every week.
While making the rounds, Pastor Shreve also allows time to meet with new people who have been referred to him by others. “This has happened quite often,” he said. “God is bringing so many people to me that it’s amazing.”
Pastor Shreve has found the individual meetings to be a good way to get to know people and develop relationships.
“Before you can minister, you have to learn the culture and learn how to communicate, so these past few months I’ve been a missionary in Sacramento building relationships,” he said. “Discipleship is a process through relationships and that is what I’ve done for years as a pastor, as Fire Department chaplain, and through my outdoor ministry with young men and ladies. The only difference now is the people just happen to have a title in front of their names such as assemblyman, senator, administrative assistant, chief of staff and lobbyist.”
Eventually, Pastor Shreve hopes to schedule a weekly Bible study for Public Servants in the Capitol. But until then, he’s found great value in visiting offices. “The Lord has impressed upon me that at this point, if I was in a room with four or five people, I would not have the outreach impact I’m having by going door to door. I can’t argue with that.”