The first Capitol Ministries Local Government Bible study has been meeting for several months in Sacramento, CA, and the members — city councilmen and a vice mayor — have been very surprised to learn how specific the Bible is on the issues of life in the here and now.
“It’s been exhilarating to say the least,” said Dr. DeShong, CM Ministry Leader who teaches the study. “None of us had any idea that the Bible had so much to say about immigration, parenting, racism, deficit spending, and other contemporary issues.”
The study material is Oaks in Office, Biblical Essays for Political Leaders, a collection of Bibles studies that Ralph Drollinger, President and Founder of Capitol Ministries, wrote specifically to meet the personal and professional spiritual needs of Public Servants.
The group is made up of elected leaders from several Sacramento-area neighborhoods to avoid having a quorum of one elected body which, in some cases, could violate open meetings laws. This Bible study group is creating the exemplar that Capitol Ministries plans to duplicate in the 40,000 incorporated communities across the United States.
The Public Servants began meeting last year and began their study with Chapter 1, The Missing Mandate in Modern Missions, and just completed Chapter 24, Must we Forgive the Unrepentant?
Oaks in Office has 52 chapters that average eight pages in length and is meant to be studied over the course of a year.
“As Christians, we sort of take biblical precepts and doctrines for granted, but when the issues are broken out in specific chapters like Ralph has done in Oaks in Office, they become very clear and very real,” said Dr. DeShong, a retired business owner who has decades of experience serving in leadership roles for several Christian organizations.
“They had no idea how specific the Bible is on social issues. They are absolutely enamored with the material.”
For example, the Bible study Passionate about Parenting shows, scripturally, how good parenting leads to a good culture and a good society which reduces the burden of the state to adjudicate lawbreakers.
“This has been a very powerful experience for these elected leaders, especially how it affects their time in office,” Dr. DeShong said.
After reading the Bible study, Are You a Tritutionalist or a Pentetutionalist? that shows how God established five institutions and gave specific roles to each, the men realized that some of the social needs their communities were facing were best addressed by the Church.
Convicted by Scripture and wanting to improve their communities in keeping with biblical precepts, they formed a separate non-profit organization and are working with local churches to address homelessness, hunger, and family issues.
“They are turning what they learned into action to help our community,” Dr. DeShong said. “They are walking the walk and talking the talk and I am extremely proud of them for putting the Word of God into action.”
The men have also been greatly enlightened personally by the studies. One elected official did not like politics when the Bible study began and said he planned to put in his time in office, get a few projects done and then get out. Now he says, “No wonder God has me in this position.”
“After studying what the Bible says about biblical leadership, he is saying, ‘I realize this is part of God’s plan for my life and my family and I should be serving in office.’ He has turned the Bible study into a lifestyle.”
Dr. DeShong said there are plans to broaden the group to include members of local school boards in the next Bible study.
A member of River City Christian, a 100-year-old church with 2,000 members, Dr. DeShong said, “My church is very proud of the ministry. I am grateful that God has decided to use me. It’s been good for me, good for my heart, and I’m just thankful I could be a part of it.”
“The guys are pretty excited that this is the first group and that we will be sharing their story with city and county councils around the country. Who knows where God will take this?”
If you would like to pray for or support Dr. DeShong, you can contact him at [email protected]