Brooks: Pray Blunt will have Solomon’s wisdom, David’s courage, Joseph’s integrity
By Allen Palmeri
January 25, 2005
JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Matt Blunt took the oath of office Jan. 10 with his hand on two Bibles—one being his own, and the other being the one that the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) presented to him Jan. 5 as a gift at a commissioning prayer service for the 93rd Missouri General Assembly.
Blunt told Jay Scribner, pastor, First Baptist Church, Branson, he would be giving the MBC Bible to his son upon his birth as a keepsake. Little did Scribner know that the governor would wind up using the gift to make a point during his inaugural address. He chose to mention the MBC Bible, a Holman Christian Standard, as a symbol of hope.
“It will remind me that what we do today, tomorrow and across the next four years will help define the future opportunities of every Missouri child,” Blunt said.
The governor, who attends Second Baptist Church, Springfield, turned toward several Missouri Baptist pastors in the days leading up to his inauguration, including his pastor, John Marshall; Paul Brooks, pastor, First Baptist Church, Raytown; and Doyle Sager, pastor, First Baptist Church, Jefferson City. Brooks had prominent roles at a private family worship service Jan. 9 as well as the inaugural itself, and Sager served as host pastor of the ceremonial public prayer service the morning of Jan. 10, watching as Marshall brought a warm, personal message for Blunt and his wife, Melanie, on the first pew.
Brooks, who gave the benediction Jan. 10 at the Capitol, was struck by the change of power from former Gov. Bob Holden to Blunt.
“While the inauguration was going on, I was just extremely moved by what God has done for Missouri by bringing us a governor who is an evangelical Christian and has a proven walk with the Lord over time,” Brooks said. “When Matt was in Annapolis (at the United States Naval Academy), he began private Bible study on his own. That increased over the years he was in the Navy. He’s a man with a value system just like mine and yours. It’s just wonderful to have a Christian leader like that who gets up every morning and reads his Bible and prays and asks the Lord to give him wisdom to know how to care for the people of Missouri.”
Brooks became friends with Roy Blunt, Matt’s father, at Southwest Baptist University. Blunt became president of SBU at the same time that Brooks became chairman of the board of trustees. Brooks and the elder Blunt then traveled together to Belarus to help kick off an MBC partnership with that nation.
“We roomed together for about 10 days on that trip, and in the process of that we just really became good friends,” Brooks said.
Roy Blunt is now a U.S. congressman and a member of First Baptist Church, Branson, where he is close to Scribner.
“Matt comes from a very fine heritage in every way—politically, academically, socially and spiritually,” Scribner said. “Consequently, he’s got some very good roots.”
Gov. Blunt, 34, began his administration by praying for God to fill the hearts of Missourians with praise in the days of prosperity and contentment, and also to fill Missourians with a desire to seek His aid in moments of trial.
“The governor is going to have to make hard decisions,” Marshall said. “He’s in a no-win situation, and I think he knows that. There’s nothing he can do to please everybody.”
Brooks, Marshall and Scribner all agreed that Gov. Blunt’s faith, or Christian character, is tested and true.
“He doesn’t really wear his religion on his shirtsleeve,” Brooks said. “He doesn’t make a big deal out of it. He’s just who he is. It’s not a religious office. It’s a political position. You can’t try to cram things down people’s throats, and he’s just not that way. He has a very humble spirit. He is a man of integrity and a man of his word, and I think people see that.”
Offering the benediction at the inauguration was easy for Brooks because of the type of leader that Gov. Blunt already is.
“I prayed that the Lord would give Matt the wisdom of Solomon, the courage of David, and the integrity of Joseph, and that He would give him most of all the love and compassion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” Brooks said.
Brooks has been able to spend some time getting to know Missouri’s new First Lady, Melanie Blunt, who is Episcopal, through family contacts since she and Matt were married in 1997. Brooks said that Missouri Baptists will enjoy having her in the Governor’s Mansion.
“She, like her husband, is an evangelical believer,” Brooks said. “Though she didn’t grow up a Baptist, there are a lot of great evangelicals who are not Baptist. It will be no problem to learn to relate to her. As Baptists, we should reach out to her. She’ll be by herself a lot of the time up in that mansion, so I hope that a lot of the Baptists who are here in the city will reach out to her and try to encourage her.”