JEFFERSON CITY – John Stroup held the attention of more than 400 elected officials, their staff and guests Jan. 9 as he challenged them to be obedient to God’s will during this year’s legislative session, even when it may not be convenient or easy.
“God can use a homeless dope fiend like me,” Stroup said. “Just imagine what God can do with an elected official who is willing to step outside of his comfort zone and obey the call?”
Stroup, president and co-founder of Freeway Ministries in Springfield, was keynote speaker at the 14th annual legislative prayer service hosted by Concord Baptist Church here and the Christian Life Commission of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC). Stroup was languishing in a prison cell when he came across a Bible left by a former inmate. He read it, accepted Christ, and after his release began Freeway Ministries. Freeway bridges the divide between the church and nearly 1,000 people a week who are struggling to emerge from addiction and life behind bars. It has rapidly grown with its own headquarters with ministries in other states and South Africa.
“God blesses obedience,” Stroup told the crowd, which included Gov. Mike Parson, Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, Attorney General Eric Schmitt, State Auditor Nicole Galloway, State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick, and dozens of legislators from Missouri’s House and Senate. “He’s faithful to bless what He says He blesses, and He’s faithful to stand against what He stands against. God can change a culture and history with one man or one woman who is willing to do whatever it takes.”
Though it was a non-denominational event, Missouri Baptists were well-represented. Special music was led by vocalists Cindy Baumann, Brad Newbold and accompanist Debbie Poire, all members of Concord, as well as vocalist Hannah Taylor of Jefferson Avenue Baptist Church in Springfield.
Among those praying were MBC Executive Director John Yeats, for the governor and executive branch. Scripture reading and an opening prayer was offered by MBC First Vice President Jon Nelson, pastor, Soma Community Church, Jefferson City. John Forsythe, senior associate pastor at Concord, served as master of ceremonies.
The event is based on the writing of the Apostle Paul to Timothy in 1 Tim. 2:1-3, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.”