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For decades, well-intentioned American missionaries warned Christians in other countries not to become involved in the political arena as they evangelized unbelievers and established churches around the world.
The result decades later is that Christians are woefully underrepresented in the large democratic forms of government that have emerged across the globe and many societies are suffering moral decline.
The problem is the concept those missionaries taught is not biblical, said Ralph Drollinger, President and Founder of Capitol Ministries who led a four-day teaching and training conference to new international ministry leader recruits last week in Washington, D.C.
In many books of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, Scripture places a high priority on reaching public servants with God’s Word because, in part, of the great influence they have on a nation as well as their ability to reach so many others for Christ through their high-level positions.
Decades of this faulty teaching from American missionaries was motivated by a reaction by Fundamentalist Christians to theological liberals who had entered into the U.S. political arena to spread their heretical “social gospel” understanding of “Christianity.”
Liberal theologians teach a doctrine antithetical to historical Christianity such as Jesus is a good example for mankind, but not salvific and man is basically good and doesn’t need salvation.
The Fundamentalist’s reaction was to separate from theological liberals and retreat from the political arena—lest a Fundamentalist be confused by others as a theological liberal. “Be ye separate!” was the cry from the Fundamentalist pulpit.
Fundamentalists should have separated from theological liberalism for sure, but not abandon God’s institution of civil government in the process. What they did was neglect the baby because of the bath water.
Present-day church leaders across the globe to this day still shun the political arena rather than viewing it as the Bible directs – as an important mission field. As a result, today many countries have a huge void in terms of strong-in-Christ believers holding public office.
For example, in India, the world’s biggest democracy where 80 percent of the population is Hindu, the Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed to expunge Christians and other religious minorities by the mid-2030s. There are no believers in Parliament in New Delhi to counteract this.
“Many years ago, American missionaries taught up-and-coming Church leaders to stay out of the capitols and 70 years later India is reaping what they have sown, or better, they are reaping the results of not having sown the seed of the gospel in their capital.” Drollinger said.
“Be warned here at our Training Conference: There will be Christian leaders in your country who are still affected by America’s last generation of missionaries who still believe this way and will not think that you should be a missionary in your country’s capitol!
“They believe that the political arena is Satan’s domain. You may need to correct this faulty missional understanding in your own country.
“The hope for our nations is in the godliness of our leaders and who will be intent about teaching them God’s Word if not we?”
All six new ministry leaders and their wives who participated in the CapMin Training Conference are already ministering to national political leaders in their nations less formally. They have now joined with CapMin to establish sustainable weekly Bible study ministries inside the halls of their governments.
The conference also covered Bible study teaching, pastoral care, how to sustain a ministry, how to avoid road blocks, the importance of relationship-building, networking, decorum and etiquette, dress, fundraising, and the importance of discipleship and leading public servants to maturity in Christ, among many other topics.
The teachings are based on CapMin’s intensely-biblical methodology that has been honed and tested over more than 25 years of ministry in the political realm.
Alexander Acosta, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, who has attended a D.C. Bible study taught by Drollinger for many years, spoke over dinner about the importance of Bible studies to political leaders.
He discussed the isolation and loneliness that public servants in high positions experience and how comforting it is to study God’s Word with like-minded colleagues.
“That Bible study is sacrosanct,” he said. “We never talked politics. I never felt Ralph had an agenda. Nor did what we say ever leave the room. That created a bond of mutual respect and support among us. There was real substance. I learned a lot from the Bible studies. It was not let’s get together and hold hands, it was meaty and deep.”
Drollinger said it is rare for a training group to include so many highly-qualified men who already have experience in ministries to public servants.
“God has raised up a stellar group of Bible-teaching evangelists and we are grateful for their experience, their commitment, and their partnership with CapMin to help fulfill the Great Commission by discipling political leaders in their nations,” he said. “It is such a wonderful blessing to see how God is adding to our team. To God be all the glory.”
The new ministry teams are:
Dr. Andrew and Dr. Wezi Mkwaila of Malawi, Africa. Andrew is the executive pastor of Christian International Assembly in Malawi. Wezi is an associate professor of horticulture at Luanar-Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
“Over the past several years I have had an increasing burden and awareness to minister to leaders of government with the belief that as they are changed, the nation is changed and transformed,” Andrew said. “I was asking how I could do this better. This conference came at the right time. This is a Providential connection. This is a critical mission not just for eternity, but for the here and now as well. Through this ministry I pray I can be involved in making a contribution toward transforming our leaders and our nation for Christ.”
Rev. Dr. Stephen and Dr. Rosemary Mbogo of Kenya, Africa. Stephen serves as CEO for African Enterprise International. Rosemary is a professor of educational leadership and administration at Africa International University.
“These past few days have been beyond expectation,” Stephen said. “The training sessions and interactions erased any fears we may have had. This connection has been Providential. It is clear that God is calling the church across Africa to do something different. As we go back, we will move from pastoral care to discipleship. If we can be used by the Lord to shift political leaders one percent, that impact will be huge. We thank the Lord for this and for everyone we met at the conference.”
Tariku Kersima of Ethiopia, Africa. Tariku is the Africa Director for the Horn of Africa’s Hope of Africa Mission.
“There is no question that there is a need in Ethiopia for such a ministry, as is true for most places in Africa,” Tariku said. “There is good news and bad news. Evangelicals are now a majority and our prime minister, Abiy Ahmed is a Christian. After each speech, he is bold enough to name the name of Jesus and he is facing fierce resistance from the atheist groups that have been ruling for decades with iron fists. But evangelicals are united like never before. I will build on what has already been started. I have started a legislative Bible study and will strengthen that and include more people and access the new parliament that is coming in. We have a number of footholds already. I am a preacher and teacher of the Word and God has given me opportunities to reach political leaders. This will be the main pillar of my life in Ethiopia.”
Slavik Rimski of Ukraine, Eastern Europe. Slavik served as a city councilman from 2014-2019. He is currently the Foreign Affairs Director for the Ukraine Conservative Movement Sobor. He works with Pavel Unguryan, an Evangelical Christian and former member of the Ukrainian Parliament who has been helping Capitol Ministries create discipleship ministries to political leaders at all levels in his nation and other European countries since 2019.
“I have attended many Christian conferences and this is the first conference where I heard the Word of God multiple times,” said Slavik. “Ralph has taught that we are not teaching our knowledge, we are teaching the Word of God and that is what attracts me to this ministry. I am inspired by this conference. My heart is to go back and create ministries in my country and make public servants disciples of Jesus.”
Franklin and Katerina Santander of Bolivia, South America. Franklin is a public administration specialist. Katerina is an industrial engineer.
“I have worked with politicians on projects for children and people in poverty,” Franklin said. “We believe in CapMin’s mission to shape the roots of our country and we are ready to see how God needs us.”
Roderick and Carolina Burgos of Panama, Central America. Roderick is a businessman and church leader. Carolina is a communications and public service specialist.
“I have worked in Congress with many political parties through God’s grace without taking sides,” Roderick said. “This is a time of great challenge for Panama. There are many problems and much corruption. When I shared that we were coming to this training, many pastors said with our political leaders we cannot do anything. I told them we believe in the power of God and that is why we are here.”
Translators were provided for those who did not speak English.
Also attending the conference were Jon Cassel, CapMin Africa Director and Oscar and Elizabeth Zamora of Peru. Oscar assisted with Spanish translation at the conference. Oscar is CapMin’s Latin America Director and Elizabeth works with translators around the world to translate Drollinger’s Bible studies into French, Russian, Spanish, and Portuguese so leaders may read the studies in their own language.
Continuing COVID travel restrictions prevented ministry teams of similar caliber from South Africa, Argentina, and Paraguay from attending the conference. Training for those new ministry leaders will be provided at a later date.
Drollinger also discussed his new book, All in Authority: Rediscovering the Missional Mandate of the Church that will be published later this year. In the book, Drollinger traces the biblical mandate for reaching political leaders through many books in the Bible and calls the church to disciple political leaders today. The book will be available on Logos Bible Software’s Equip platform and will be available free of charge on the CapMin website.
CapMin’s long-term objectives are to establish 50 ministries in all 50 U.S. state capitols, separate studies to all branches of government in Washington, D.C., ministries in the 40,000 incorporated city and county governments across the United States, and 200 ministries to leaders of foreign nations.