He’s 7’ 1” and weighs 250 lbs - a giant of a man. In his playing days Ralph Drollinger was a good enough athlete to be recruited and to play basketball for John Wooden, the legendary coach of UCLA.
Drollinger is the only player in basketball history to go with his team four consecutive years to The Final Four of the NCAA national basketball championships. His team walked away with two National Championships.
It was after a basketball game his senior year at Grossmont High School in La Mesa, California (near San Diego) that the cheerleaders invited him to a Bible study. He went, and his world changed forever. Drollinger says, “I had tried to read the Bible before but every time I tried, it didn't make a whole lot of sense to me. That night was the first time I really heard the Gospel. I went home, read through the whole Gospel of Matthew, and asked Jesus into my heart.”
Two hundred universities offered Drollinger a basketball scholarship. He decided on UCLA and while there, attended a Bible-teaching church. Over the next four years, he says, “I fell in love with the Scriptures”.
In 1976, after college, this academic all-American was drafted to play in the NBA for the Boston Celtics. But, he felt a such a strong call to the ministry that everything else paled in comparison. He opted instead to travel the world for four years and play basketball for Athletes in Action (AIA). At half-time of each game he preached the Gospel.
In 1977 he was again drafted by the NBA. This time he was drafted to play for the New York Knicks. He again declined and returned to play for AIA.
In 1978 he was drafted for the third consecutive year - this time by the Seattle SuperSonics. For the third time he refused. Each time he could have signed for a huge salary, but in one of God’s Other Ways© he felt a call to ministry.
In 1980, “.…motivated by his desire to attend Dallas Theological Seminary….”, he signed to play as an un-drafted free agent for the newly formed expansion team, the Dallas Mavericks. In fact, he was the first player ever signed by Dallas; the Mavericks signed him even before they had a head coach! Playing in Dallas made it possible for him to attend and study at DTS. Unfortunately, after only 6 games, Drollinger had to quit and retire from basketball due to injuries and bad knees.
For the next few years he attended Master’s Seminary in Sun Valley near Los Angeles and served in sports ministry as the Director of Sports Outreach America. It was at Master’s Seminary that he received his Masters of Divinity degree.
Drollinger’s wife, Danielle, was the Executive Director of a political action committee in California. Its purpose was to assist Christians to get elected into the state legislature and unseat more liberal incumbents. She was facing some frustration from her efforts. Even though she and the committee got Christians elected, those elected “would soon lose their Christian moorings” as they served their terms.
The Drollingers then had the goal to create a means to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the political leaders of the world. In 1996 Ralph and his wife Danielle, founded Capitol Ministries. Their stated mission was to “establish Biblical ministries of discipleship for Public Servants”. Capitol Ministries has planted evangelistic, discipleship ministries in Capitols throughout the United States and the world. The ministry offers weekly Bible studies, support, prayer, and one-on-one ministry to those in government.
The venture has proved “wildly successful”, and the ministry continues to expand. The goal is to deliver the Gospel to every public servant, in every capitol throughout the United States and the world every year! Capitol Ministries is now in 43 states and rapidly and successfully establishing this ministry in countries around the world. Each study is led by a local pastor.
The road for this ministry has now reached the White House—see Part 2 on the next publication date. It discusses this journey and its growing success and influence.
May your ways be known throughout the earth, your saving power among people everywhere. Psalm 67:2 NLT
Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Matthew 8:19 NLT