Pastors of Regular Baptist churches in Iowa are taking part in a statewide initiative to spiritually support their legislators. These pastors are partnerting with the Iowa Capitol Project, an outreach program developed by The Family Leader, a faith-based organization. The endeavor’s goal is for pastors to visit the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines in order to meet, encourage, and pray with legislators, lobbyists, and state employees from their churches’ districts.
“Once in a while an opportunity sprouts affording us the chance to blend together politics and gospel impact,” says Mike Augsburger, pastor of Willow Creek Baptist Church in West Des Moines. It’s a “worthy endeavor,” he says, for in the last few years, pastors have even led several legislators to Christ.
When pastors arrive at the Capitol at 9:00 a.m. on their scheduled date, they meet with a team from The Family Leader, who brings the pastors up to speed on legislation being considered. An hour later, the pastors head to the House and Senate chambers, where they talk with and pray with legislators.
“What happens next is just amazing!” says The Family Leader. “We see dozens of pastors out in the Capitol rotunda praying, encouraging, building relationships, and sharing God’s Word with legislators and many others. The environment at the Capitol completely changes when these pastors are present.”
Augsburger has participated several times and greatly enjoyed the experience. During his most recent visit, on Jan. 25, he talked with two key senators who have led the charge to defund Planned Parenthood. “Both of them came under intense fire and persecution from pro-choice advocates,” Augsburger says. “I had the opportunity to pray with both of them and encourage them to continue doing God’s work. Another representative I spoke with broke down in tears and told me that my meeting with him was the best thing that had happened all day.”
God established the institutions of both the government and the church, Augsburger points out. “Pastors are God’s servants and stewards of the church, and elected officials are God’s servants and stewards of government.”
The Iowa Capitol Project “is allowing us to have gospel impact in the lives of those setting the political direction for our state,” Augsburger says. “We pray that God will use these efforts to influence our government for righteousness.” He encourages other pastors to join him in the next visit, on March 14. RSVP at thefamilyleader.com.