The weekly in-depth Bible studies that CapMin ministry leaders have led for Ohio Legislators since 2016, keep lawmakers grounded in the Word of God, help them grow in their faith, and enable them to make good decisions, say public servants who participate.
“Having pastors who pray for us, encourage us, and point us to the gospel each and every day is incredible,” said Ohio Rep. Jena Powell. “Capitol Ministries is a huge blessing to us in Columbus.
Rep. Powell participates in the weekly Bible study that Pastor Brian Hanson began leading for members of the legislature in 2016. After Pastor Hanson was named CapMin International Director which required travel, his good friend Brian Solomon successfully completed CapMin’s required training and then joined him as ministry partner in 2019.
The men lead the Bible study together unless one is away on CapMin business. They are well known in the Statehouse where their weekly exegetical Bible studies are highly valued.
“Having a faithful ministry in the Capitol and pastors encouraging us to walk with the Lord is a true blessing,” Rep. Powell said. “Being in the public square isn’t easy. As Christians we are called to speak truth in love. We work on very difficult issues every day.
“Our job is to be faithful servants of Jesus Christ and Capitol Ministries does a wonderful job walking alongside of us in our journey.”
When Pastor Hanson began the study, legislative aides began asking him to begin one for them and the Christian lobbyists who frequent the Statehouse. In October 2019, the pastors began “The Brown Bag Lunch Time Bible Study” for that special group.
Among regular participants is Madeleine Castle, a legislative aide who said the weekly Bible studies are vital to her life and work.
“Diving into God’s Word and being reminded how God’s Word speaks to everything we are doing in our jobs is a great way to start off the work week,” she said.
“I am so thankful Pastor Brian Solomon and Pastor Brian Hanson dedicate some of their time every week to lead a group of legislative staffers and lobbyists in Bible Study. We continually have new people join, as well as a core group of around eight to ten people who are there every week.
“God’s truth is so needed at the Statehouse. It really can be hard sometimes to be a Christian in politics, and so staying grounded in Scripture with a community of others is incredibly imperative!”
This week, Pastor Hanson and Pastor Solomon delivered the invocation and benediction prayers at the first legislative meeting of the year when the 99 members of the House of Representatives were sworn into office.
Pastor Solomon, who provided the opening prayer, was introduced by outgoing Speaker of the House, Rep. Robert Cupp, District 4. Pastor Solomon prayed:
“Heavenly Father, it is good that we come to You in prayer, often this chamber begins its session with prayer. But we declare to You and to those who are gathered in this place that our pleas for help are not merely symbolic or some formality.
“God, we need You. God, will You grant these public servants the wisdom and discernment that is not their own but comes from You?
“Would You enable them to turn their anxieties and fears over to You so that they may be able to give themselves wholly to the challenges of this hour?
“God, we stand at the threshold of a new year. Would You allow this new general assembly to begin well?
May these public servants be bound to You and one another in a spirit of honesty and truth. Would You protect these leaders from those who would hijack Your agenda to advance their own selfish ambition?
“Lord, Philippians 2 instructs us to esteem the needs of others higher than our own. Help us to do that.
“May this verse give texture to this general assembly and how they approach their work. Father, many family members of members are gathered in this place.
“They have sacrificed a great deal to see their family members elected. I pray for special protection for them. Father, we know they carry the burdens and they wear the wounds of their loved ones. God, be a help to them and a source of courage and strength in the months and the years ahead.
“Father, on this day we pray a simple prayer and it is one for help. Help us to be in step with You. help us not to run ahead and help us to not lag behind.
“May we be in step with Your agenda for Your Name and for the benefit of the people of Ohio, we pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.”
After Pastor Solomon’s prayer, the Ohio State Highway Patrol Honor Guard presented the American flag and the Ohio flag, and those assembled recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
Promising to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Ohio, the members were sworn into office by Patrick Fischer, justice of the Ohio Supreme Court. After state business was concluded, incoming Speaker of the House Jason Stephens introduced Pastor Hanson who gave the benediction that closed the meeting. Pastor Hanson prayed:
“Father, thank You for being the God of all.
“May You guide our paths, may You give us righteous conviction. May all who are in this chamber have a desire to follow You.
“We know Your Word tells us the heart of a king is like water in the palm of the hand of the Lord. Would You lead and direct the hearts of the legislators of this chamber?
“We proclaim the words of David, king of Israel who said, blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel Who alone does wondrous works. Blessed be His glorious Name forever. May the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and amen.”
The pastors will be inviting newly sworn in legislators and other lawmakers who have not yet participated to join the weekly Bible study.