After he was named Delaware ministry leader earlier this year, Morris Webster simply continued what he had already been doing — teaching Capitol Ministries Bible studies to public servants in his state.
The ministry provided the answer as to why Webster and his wife Carol sensed God’s call to move from New York to Delaware where they didn’t know anyone shortly after he retired in 2012.
With a lifelong dedication to ministry, Webster began searching in his new state for God’s plan to supplant the prison ministry he had led for 30 years in the New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania region.
The road that would ultimately bring the couple to Capitol Ministries began with Webster’s quiet realization that elected and appointed public servants were largely being overlooked by the church as a mission field.
“I began to see that churches were not reaching out to legislators or anyone in government,” Webster said. “Most pastors were pretty adamant on the separation of church and state, believing this hideous misrepresentation, and I sensed why the Lord wanted us to come to Delaware.”
“As a mission field, there is not much difference between people who are locked up in prison and those serving in government. They both need Jesus and very few feel called to go and tell them about Him.”
The couple began attending New Covenant Church in Lewes where they found a number of like-minded people. Lead Pastor Robert Dekker had a heart for public servants after having served as an intern in the U.S Senate before he attended seminary, and a member of the congregation was Delaware State Rep. Charles Postles, District 33.
Webster also met Frank Shelton who at that time was leading the CapMin ministry and Bible study to Delaware legislators in Legislative Hall in Dover.
With the help of many others, Webster began developing “satellite” Bible study prayer meetings that met across Delaware in churches, private homes, and, what he considers the most effective location, restaurants with meeting rooms visible to the general public.
Webster likes restaurants for the opportunities they present. He tells of how a senator was meeting in an adjacent room when he heard his name being spoken at the Bible study. He entered the room to find out why and learned that he was being lifted up in prayer. That senator has become a supporter of the Bible studies.
These satellite studies met at the same time that Pastor Shelton led the legislative Bible studies. Members of the groups prayed for Pastor Shelton and the lawmakers and afterward, held their own weekly Bible studies and broke bread together.
Each week the satellite study members filled out postcards and mailed them to legislators’ homes to let each one know what they were studying in the Bible and that they had prayed for him or her.
“Every week most of the state legislators received those postcards. We put the phone numbers of our ministry team on them in case they wanted to call for special prayer,” Webster said. “Among the calls we received was from a representative who claimed to be an atheist.”
Before COVID-19 restrictions, eleven groups were meeting across Delaware. Since then, the number has dipped to four, but the objective is to establish scores of “satellite” Bible study prayer meetings around the state. Partnerships with other prayer initiatives, like Church Ambassador Network has further strengthened the prayer cord.
As he looked for relevant biblically sound material, Webster discovered the Bible studies that Ralph Drollinger writes for members of four Washington, D.C. Bible studies that he leads weekly to national public servants. The studies are available for free download at capmin.org.
“One of the things I love about Ralph’s Bible studies is the power of not dressing up God’s Word,” Webster said. “What is so beautiful about Ralph’s writing is he puts the Scriptures right there and they are so interwoven into the study that you can’t deny its impact.
“The studies are marvelous teaching tools. You have to work very hard to not be an effective teacher. That’s the beauty of this methodology.”
After Pastor Shelton stepped down, Drollinger met with Webster and asked if he was interested in being CapMin’s leader for Delaware and invited him to a training conference.
“I thought the training was going to be the nuts and bolts of the ministry, but that wasn’t the take-away,” Webster said.
“Jesus Christ was at the center of everything they did. When my wife and I saw this, I said, ‘Those people are serious about who God is and how to get His Word in the hands of people of influence who control so much of our lives!’
“Also incredibly impressive was how Ralph and Danielle work together hand-in-glove, the professionalism and the best standards that the ministry sets, including how we should dress and hospitality, which I would never put on the front burner, but I could see the culture Ralph was creating so these influential people would be receptive to the Word of God. It was impressive, to say the least.
“What I saw was a Christ-centered group of people. My wife is not easy to please when it comes to this kind of thing, and she raved about Capitol Ministries.”
Webster also learned that the “satellite” Bible studies he established were similar to CapMin’s Local Government Ministries (LGM) effort to create Bible study-based ministries to city and county public servants. Webster is now working with CapMin’s Dr. Dan DeShong, Director of LGM, who is helping to build those ministries across the United States.
While government-imposed meeting restrictions have stalled the growth of Bible studies in Delaware, Webster’s objective is to intensify efforts to increase their number during the 2021 legislative session.
“The most important thing we can give is the Word of God,” Webster said. “It has nothing to do with whether they win elections or not. If you are not putting the Word of God first, there is no way your house is going to stand when the inevitable storms come. It will collapse.
“What is the will of the Father? It is to know Him and His Son. I will be telling elected officials, ‘Please read these Bible studies I have for you. The Word of God will never return void. I am certain about this principle. It will change your life.’”