What is the Ministry to State?
The Ministry to State is the Presbyterian Church in America’s means to develop ministry to government domestically and internationally. As Reformed University Ministry or InterVarsity is to the university campus, Ministry to State is to the government centers.
Why should the PCA develop ministry to government?
The trend observing Barna Group informs us that the number of people in the United States not worshiping is increasing. Since 1991, the number of adults who do not attend church has almost doubled, rising from 39 million to 75 million. The study showed that the percentage of adults that are non-churched has risen from 21% in 1991 to 34% today. Our culture is becoming less interested in what the church has to offer.
If the people are to be reached with the truths of the Scripture we must go to them. Developing ministry to university students is critical to reaching that portion of our culture. The same is true for those in government.
To whom in government is the focus of the ministry?
The ministry is directed to those in state, federal, and international government. It includes those elected to all branches of government and their staff, agencies, and the diplomatic community.
What is the history of Ministry to State?
In June of 1995 a local PCA pastor was invited by one of the assistant attorney-general’s of the State of Oklahoma to lead a Bible study that included six people in the Capitol of Oklahoma. The weekly Wednesday noon meetings that ensued were often held in one of the empty state senate meeting rooms or sometimes on the capitol steps. In the 18 months that followed, the small group continued to meet for study and prayer with increasing attendance. In the fall of 1996 the people of Heritage Presbyterian Church (PCA) began providing lunch for the group. The Lord used these efforts of hospitality as a way of attracting others from many areas of the capitol community, further increasing attendance at the weekly meetings. A wide range of relationships and ministry opportunities began to develop, and continue, including the Wednesday morning study with legislators and a monthly prayer breakfast.
In the winter of 2005 Mission to North America, General Assembly received the ministry under its auspices as a part of the PCA organization.
Is the Ministry to State the PCA’s version of a Washington DC’s lobbying office?
No, the Ministry to State is a ministry, not a lobbying emphasis. Many approach those who establish policy with an agenda of “needs and wants”. The individual or organization’s relationship to government is often based purely upon government providing some services, fund or policy change. There is nothing wrong with that relationship. Government exists to serve the needs of its people. We often refer to those in government as public servants. Ministry to government looks for ways of serving those in government with the hope that it will provide opportunities for spiritual discourse and a deeper understanding of the gospel.
How is it possible to minister to government without being confrontational towards those who oppose historic biblical values and policy?
Individually we have a responsibility to address all concerns of the state. However, those in the public square who take an opposing position to that which is represented in Scripture are not our enemy per se. The Gospel calls us to pursue with love and gentleness all people.
Ministry to government does not ignore one’s position on public issues. Yet, the presences of those who engage in ministry to government maintain a humble and non-partisan posture as a means of creating a winsome environment to communicate the transforming truths of the gospel.
How can my church be involved in ministry to government?
Prayer: We believe that the Lord calls us to pray for those in government. Therefore it is important to pray as specifically as possible for those in public service. That includes their family, health, along with their ability to maintain good governance. It would be a powerful statement for an official’s office to receive a request from the church asking how they might best pray.
Hospitality: Spending time with government with an agenda only to demonstrate care can go a long way for the sake of the gospel. Heritage Presbyterian in OKC for years provided lunch weekly for some 50 – 70 people at the state capitol. For those churches that minister in a center of government there are many people who would appreciate some form of hospitality. This might take place through members of your congregation who work in the capitol. It may take some creative, but tangible means of communicating to those in public service that you care and appreciate them.
How is the Ministry to State distinctive then other forms of ministry to government such as Washington-based Fellowship, Christian Embassy and the D. James Kennedy Center for Christian Statesmanship?
The mentioned ministries have for years pursued those in government with the gospel. The distinctive difference is that the Ministry to State is a church-based ministry to those in government with the purpose of utilizing the church’s resources to reach those in government.