Pastor Michael Johnson is learned about the Great Commission and enthusiastic about fulfilling it, but he wasn’t aware that the Bible designates political leaders as a priority group to reach with God’s Word until he learned about Capitol Ministries.
In fact, Pastor Johnson was reluctant when Dr. Barrett Duke, executive director of Montana Southern Baptist Convention, asked him to meet with CapMin President Ralph Drollinger who was looking for a Bible teacher to create a ministry to members of the Montana legislature.
“My first thought was, I didn’t want to have anything to do with politics or lobbying,” Pastor Johnson said. “Most ministries in North Carolina were always lobbying for something and that’s not my idea of what ministry should be.”
Pastor Johnson, his Wife Christi, and their four young children had had recently moved from North Carolina where they served in a church they had started a few years earlier.
After serving a number of years in that church, the couple felt called to Montana where they had considered starting a church 10 years ago.
An opportunity presented itself in January 2019 and the family moved to Helena where Pastor Johnson serves as the lead teaching pastor at Big Sky Fellowship Church, an affiliate of the Montana Southern Baptist Convention.
Despite hesitations, Pastor Johnson and Christi met with Ralph and Danielle Drollinger and over dinner the couple learned that Capitol Ministries did not lobby, and that the ministry focused on one thing— fulfilling the Great Commission by making disciples of Jesus Christ in the political arena throughout the world.
This objective is accomplished by pairing Bible-teaching evangelists with Christian legislators who sponsor weekly Bible studies inside capitol buildings and invite their colleagues to attend. In addition to leading studies, ministry leaders evangelize, disciple, mentor, pastor, and offer friendship to public servants.
The Johnsons were excited. “I am passionate about the Great Commission and we are a Great Commission church,” Pastor Johnson said. “Everything is geared toward fulfilling the Great Commission.”
Immediately after meeting with the Drollingers, Pastor Johnson read Drollinger’s book, Rebuilding America; A Biblical Mandate, which traces the biblical priority for reaching political leaders from the Old Testament to the New Testament.
He learned Capitol Ministries’ missional mandate was found in Acts 9:15 when Paul’s mission is revealed to bear God’s name “before the Gentiles, and kings and the sons of Israel.” Between Gentile and Jew is the set apart group of kings.
“I was writing down notes feverishly and pouring through it,” Pastor Johnson said. “Luke wrote his book to ‘most excellent Theophilus,’ a political leader. In 1 Timothy 2:1-4, the Greek word for ‘first’ is ‘protos,’ which means of first importance. In Acts, the priority was not just to kings, but to those in authority. Ralph’s book shows that so much of Scripture is directed toward political leaders.”
“My interest is in ministering to unreached people and I had never considered political leaders in that way,” he said. “I think the church is really missing something.”
Talking it over, the couple realized what they were learning was life changing and mission changing.
“The mission of Capitol Ministries was the only thing in the political realm I had heard that actually sounds like missions,” Pastor Johnson said. “From there, we prayed about it and decided that a discipleship ministry to political leaders is a dire need in Montana.”
The couple decided to join with Capitol Ministries. After completing the required CapMin training in Ohio earlier this year, Pastor Johnson was named ministry leader to members of the Montana Legislature. He is preparing to begin his ministry in January when the 2021 legislative session begins.
Dr. Duke said he suggested Pastor Johnson meet with the Drollingers because his strengths, talents, gifts, and abilities dovetail beautifully with the ministry’s mission.
“I’m delighted that Pastor Johnson has responded to God’s call to lead the outreach and discipling ministry of Capitol Ministries in Helena,” Dr. Duke said.
“He and his wife Christi are two of God’s finest servants. Michael is a gifted teacher of the Word and a man of deep conviction and compassion. I’m already looking forward to hearing about the great movement of God’s Spirit in the lives and work of our state’s leaders as Michael ministers to them in word and deed.”
With a newfound heart to reach public servants, Pastor Johnson is eager to begin.
“Our hearts are full,” Pastor Johnson said. “We are ready to attack this ministry 110 percent. God has put all the pieces in place. We feel God is about to do something great in Montana not only with Capitol Ministries, but also in our church. We are starting to feel the early breezes of revival and we are super excited about that.”