JEFFERSON CITY – Members of Missouri’s 96th General Assembly were the object of prayer and encouragement when the Missouri Baptist Convention’s (MBC) Christian Life Commission, The Pathway, and Concord Baptist Church hosted their 7th annual dedication service on their behalf Jan. 6.
The service followed a breakfast for the legislators and was held at Concord the morning of the Legislature’s second day in session.
David Tolliver, executive director of the MBC, opened the service with a tribute to the memory of Andree Ziehmer, longtime ministry assistant for The Pathway. Ziehmer’s family was on hand to receive a resolution which was prepared for the occasion by the MBC Executive Board.
Tolliver then addressed Gov. Jeremiah “Jay” Nixon, who was present for the occasion, by saying, “It’s our honor. It’s also our duty, but our honor, to pray for you. We will be praying for you throughout the legislative session.”
He thanked the governor for standing with Missouri Baptists in supporting the MBC disaster relief program, in opposing gambling while governor and as attorney general before that, and for signing into law the strongest regulation of adult bookstores to date.
Concord Pastor Monte Shinkle led in the opening prayer.
Members of the Lincoln University Army ROTC in Jefferson City presented the colors. Tolliver led in the pledge of allegiance, and Jamie Hitt, MBC Executive Board member and recording secretary, sang the national anthem.
Don Hinkle, editor of The Pathway, read Psalm 97. This was followed by a Concord Baptist quartet composed of Scott Campbell, Dwayne Huffine, Dr. Bryce Koelling and Concord Worship Pastor Mark Meyers singing “Let Freedom Ring.”
Giving the charge to the members of the General Assembly was Randy Johnson, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, Republic.
Johnson opened his remarks by telling the legislators that “You are a gift from God to all of us and it is our biblical responsibility to lift you up in prayer.”
Quoting Proverbs 22:28, which says, “don’t move an ancient property line that your fathers set up,” Johnson asked them to uphold three landmarks which were established by earlier General Assemblies.
“I pray we’ll never move the landmark of liberty and the sacrifices that were made to attain it,” he said.
Secondly, he noted that far too few people participate in the landmark of religious liberty and said that “a freedom in which we fail to engage is a freedom we might not have a few generations down the road.”
Finally, he said, legislators need to protect the landmark of God. “What made this nation great is that it was founded on principles based on the Word of God.
“‘In God we trust’ is a landmark we should never move. It is up to you and I to say to them why, when and how ‘God shed His grace on thee.’”
Bob Loggins, prayer and spiritual awakening specialist for the MBC, asked the governor and his staff to stand as he prayed that they be undergirded with the strength of the Lord. He prayed that the governor would rest, rule, and abide in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jay Hughes, MBC’s associate executive director, prayed for members of the Senate. He asked for guidance and wisdom on their behalf and that they look for wisdom as they interact with their families and colleagues.
Hitt prayed over the members of the Missouri House of Representatives. In her prayer, she asked for their wisdom and instruction and to keep their hearts with all diligence. “Please keep them focused on what they’ve been elected by the people to do,” she concluded.
Joe Ulveling, family ministries specialist for MBC, addressed the needs of the Supreme Court, asking God to determine their steps and to give them wisdom and discernment.
John Francis, MBC worship ministry specialist, provided a trumpet solo of “God Bless America” and led those in attendance to sing along. Tolliver gave the closing prayer.
Debbie Poire, Concord accompanist and an administrative assistant with the Missouri Senate, provided piano prelude and postlude for the event.
BARBARA SHOUN/contributing writer