In his 5th year as ministry leader to members of the Missouri Legislature, Pastor Matt Goodsell is saddened that faith groups are still pushing legislators to pass better laws rather than evangelize those in office who are lost.
“So many groups come into the Capitol and tell legislators to ‘Do this, vote this way or vote that way,’ but none of them is asking is the lawmaker saved? Is he or she going to heaven?” Pastor Goodsell said.
“We need strong evangelists to challenge these people. We need more Christians who don’t lobby for laws but think about the soul of the legislator. The church needs to evangelize as the underpinning for all the other institutions of God.”
The “other institutions,” Pastor Goodsell is referring to are enumerated in the widely read and highly acclaimed Bible study, “God’s Institutions and Their Roles on Earth,” that was written by Ralph Drollinger, CapMin President and Founder. The five institutions are marriage, family, commerce, Church and the State.
Over the years, Pastor Goodsell has taught a combination of his own studies and Drollinger’s which include “Better Understanding the Separation of Church and State,” and “Why Believers Should be Involved in Politics.”
His own studies include “The Spiritual Benefits of Bible Study,” “How God’s Word Equips us for Good Works,” “Knowing the Truth Avoids False Teaching,” “Obedience is equal to Loving God,” and “For Such a Time as This,” which studied the story of Queen Esther.
Pastor Goodsell was just getting his ministry started when COVID-19 hit, meetings were restricted and the Capitol was closed, as happened in most every other state. Yet, he found a creative way to continue the Bible studies by establishing a series of small group-type meetings that met in several locations at different times. Now that the Capitol is open for business again, the studies have moved back into the Capitol Building.
One of the challenges he faces is a very short legislative session that begins in January and ends in May. This year, 40 lawmakers expressed an interest in the Bible study, but many were unable to attend due to committee assignments and other conflicts. Most of those who participated were already strong believers.
“They all have a good grasp of the Word of God and through these studies, they were reconfirmed and encouraged in the decisions they were making,” Pastor Goodsell said. This year, after the session closed, he continued leading Bible studies in the Capitol to the staff members, who work through the year, with a legislator occasionally dropping by.
Pastor Goodsell is working to increase participation next year. He is also continuing to organize “Revival in the Rotunda,” an event which provides visitors to the Capitol a day full of patriotic and Christian music, speakers, and preaching by an evangelist who explains the bad news—the fall, and the good news—the cross.
This is the third year he’s organized the event and each time he hopes legislators will attend, but so far they have been called to the floor to consider important legislation, and this year the Senate was involved in a filibuster. But Jay Ashcroft, Missouri Secretary of State, participated. He spoke to the gathering and gave his Christian testimony.
Pastor Goodsell always invites a number of local pastors to the revival, and they usually bring church members. With the regular Capitol visitors, the events are always well attended. An added bonus is that participants will learn about the Bible’s top-down missions strategy of reaching political leaders first with the Gospel. The strategy is found in both the Old and New Testaments and is the focus of Drollinger’s recently released book, All in Authority: Reigniting the Bible’s Top-Down Missions Strategy.
“If Christians had a better understanding of what the Bible says about ministering to political leaders, they would be running to find out about Capitol Ministries,” he said.
Pastor Goodsell is encouraged that CapMin has made a concerted effort to teach the strategy to America’s pastors by participating in 40 pastor conferences this year. All year long, teams of ministry leaders are hosting the CapMin booth at the conferences, distributing Ralph’s books, Bible studies, and other material, and explaining the biblical exegesis behind our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ in the political arena around the world.
These teams are also recruiting Bible teachers to establish discipleship ministries to local government leaders in neighborhoods across America through Local Government Ministries (LGM), a joint effort with local churches.
Since Pastor Goodsell has become very involved in CapMin’s LGM efforts and is participating in a number of conferences, he has recruited Pastor Robert Hayden to serve as assistant Missouri state director beginning the last quarter of this year.
Evangelizing legislators and discipling them to maturity in the faith was on Pastor Goodsell’s heart long before he was introduced to Capitol Ministries. More than 20 years ago when he was a youth in his home country of Australia, he was interested in ministering to political leaders. The feeling persisted after he moved to the United States, married Katie, and began pastoring Missouri churches. The couple has four children, Juliet, 19, who is in her second year at the University of Central Missouri, Caleb, 17, a senior in high school, Josiah, 13, is in 8th grade and Nathanael, 11, is in 6th grade.
While serving as senior pastor for the Ashland Baptist Church, Pastor Goodsell used his free time driving 20 minutes to the Missouri State Capitol where he would walk the halls looking for opportunities to share God’s Word and the good news of Jesus Christ.
In 2019, Pastor Goodsell discovered Capitol Ministries, joined with us part-time and established a ministry to legislators and staff at the Missouri Capitol with the blessings of the Ashland Baptist Church congregation.
In 2022, he made the difficult decision to leave his position to minister full-time to Missouri’s political leaders, fulfilling a life-long passion to win political leaders to Christ. His goal for his ministry continues to be what it was five years ago:
“My Heart for the ministry is that those in office would be discipled and taught the Word of God and be encouraged,” he said. “And the parallel to that would be to evangelize those lost senators and representatives with the Gospel.”
If you wish to support Pastor Goodsell’s ministry, click here.