Every week for more than a year, early in the morning before their workday begins, a dozen or so Ohio state legislators from both major political parties have been gathering in a room inside the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus to study the Word of God together.
“There is something about opening a Bible early in the morning,” said CM’s Ministry Leader Brian Hanson who leads a discipleship Bible study to Ohio’s legislators and constitutional officers.
“Legislators have said they love being in the Word at the beginning of the day, that the Word comes alive, speaks to them, grounds them, and helps them be prepared for what is to come. It helps them in interactions with people and they have a better sense of how to find the appropriate voice in dealing with legislation and the opposing party.
“The Word lays the overall foundation and points us to true north.”
The Bible study sponsor is Rep. Tim Ginter who is also the senior pastor at The Church at the Center in Salem, Ohio, a church he and his wife planted six years ago. Every week he sends invitations to fellow legislators inviting them to the Bible study in the Capitol.
“We have a good core group of representatives who attend,” Rep. Ginter said. “I believe an in-depth Bible study is important, and I’m sure my colleagues would agree, because we all draw strength from reading the Word of God and from our short prayer time together.”
Pastor Hanson has just completed a verse-by-verse study of the book of Ephesians which talks about the many blessings, inherited riches, and the position Christians have in Christ.
The book offers rich teaching for seekers who have been taught and who believe that man is basically good.
“That’s not what the Bible teaches,” Pastor Hanson said. “Ephesians, chapter 2 talks about the spiritual state of man, that we are dead, not just sick, but dead.”
And you were dead in your trespass and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Ephesians 2:1-2
“Some said it was their understanding that all people are born basically good and I was able to start with Ephesians and take them back to Genesis and talk about original sin and they are getting it! The concept is literally blowing them away. They are soaking it up.”
Pastor Hanson has just begun a verse by verse study of the book of Galatians, the Apostle Paul’s Epistle that, among other lessons, warns against false teachers, instructs about the fruits of the spirit, and teaches that salvation is through faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone.
Members have told Pastor Hanson that the Bible study is a secure place where they feel safe, enjoy Christian comradery, build relationships, and where they can pray for each other.
Rep. Ginter goes further. He calls Pastor Hanson “a gift.”
“He has been a gift to Ohio legislators,” Rep. Ginter said. “He brings a pastor’s heart and solid teaching. He has provided sound counsel to those who have sought him out. He has become a trusted friend and spiritual resource to my colleagues and myself.”
“It’s a family atmosphere,” Pastor Hanson said. “We have had struggles, and I’ve been able to walk through some difficult times with some Members, and that is a part of it. When there is difficulty, I want to pastorally care for the Members of either party and try to help them in their relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. I want them to know there is a spiritual presence they can trust and come to.
“Most of all, I want them to know the Word of God, and that there is application that needs to take place in how they live their lives.”
Rep. Ginter said some of the teachings have had extraordinary applications.
“Many times Pastor Brian has come in totally unaware of the particular issues that we are in the process of deciding, or a bill that a particular legislator is working on, and the Spirit of God has directed him to say something in the Bible study that becomes a clarifying instrument. It’s been incredible.”
Pastor Hanson is encouraged by the response to his Ohio ministry as well as the unprecedented growth of Capitol Ministries world-wide.
“I am excited to see what is going on, and I tell this to people when I speak at churches, open your eyes because there is a God movement taking place, not just in Ohio, not just in the United States, but all over the world, God is doing something great, open your eyes!”
If you wish to support Pastor Hanson, you may contact him at: [email protected]