For the first time in at least one hundred years, the U.S. Cabinet now has a Bible study in the White House. How did this come about?
As written in Part 1 of this story, Ralph Drollinger and his wife, Danielle, founded a ministry to political leaders called Capitol Ministries in 1996. The stated ministry mission was to “establish Biblical ministries of discipleship for Public Servants”. They developed and created ministries in several State Capitols, and decided to expand and start a Bible study in Washington, D.C.
In 2010 they established a Bible study in the House of Representatives. Today it now has more than fifty attendees. Four of the Bible study members from the House went on to be elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014. With their influence another Bible study was started in the U.S. Senate. After Donald Trump’s election as President in 2016, President Trump made appointments to Cabinet positions. Some of these people had participated in either the House or Senate Bible study groups. To continue this study opportunity, a third Bible study group was started for the White House.
Whether it’s a Bible study for the House of Representatives, for the U. S. Senate or for the White House, Drollinger says, “We always give them a meal first, breakfast or dinner. The House and Senate Bible studies meet for dinner but for the Cabinet, the meal has to be smaller because they have very strict limits about how much can be spent for them - under ten dollars a person. A croissant and a coffee, or a spinach quiche, that’s it. After an hour, the study is over.”
Drollinger continues, “While they’re eating I’m teaching. Studies start and end with prayer.” When asked what they pray for, he says, “1 Timothy 2:1-4 summons us to pray for those in authority. So we’ll pray for their boss. Oftentimes we’ll pray for both President Trump and Vice-President Pence, because who knows what they‘re gonna face today. And we also get personal prayer requests.”
Drollinger lives in California, and flies into Washington for his 1 to 1 1/2 hour Bible studies, which usually take place in the House on Monday, in the Senate on Tuesday and in the White House on Wednesday. Attendees study the Bible verse by verse.
Drollinger’s weekly Bible studies are not private, nor secret. Anyone can read them online - https://capmin.org/bible-studies. However, the Secret Service keeps the location of the Bible studies secret.
As their schedules permit, Cabinet level members who attend, are: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs (HUD) Ben Carson, and the Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. Often attending is Vice-President Mike Pence.
Drollinger says President Trump is not a member of the Bible study group — but he is a Christian, and does get the eight-page print-outs most weeks.
“He writes me back notes on my Bible studies,” says Drollinger. “He’s got this leaky Sharpie felt-tip pen that he writes all capital letters with ‘WAY TO GO RALPH, REALLY LIKE THIS STUDY, KEEP IT UP’. Stuff like that.”
Drollinger says he’s not a lobbyist and members are never told how to vote or which policies to pursue. He hopes making such decisions are helped and guided by the teaching of what the Bible says.
Through the lens of Scripture Drollinger believes the Bible teaches the separation of church and state and to be heart-driven rather than policy-driven.
He says, “I believe in institutional separation, but not influential separation. No matter what the institution is — the family, commerce, education — it needs the bulwark precepts of the Word of God in order to function correctly…”
When asked how it feels to be teaching these leaders, he says that he feels very humbled and compares himself to a waiter in a restaurant. He is merely serving the Word of God, as revealed in the Bible, to self-professed Christians. "If God is the chef, then I'm just the servant, and I hope the guys like the meal," he says. "But on the way out of the kitchen, I'm not going to alter what's on the plate. So my job is just to be a servant.”
Another analogy that Drollinger uses is: ”I will put the blueprint on the engineer's seat on the train and it will show the right tracks to the station. But I'm not going to tell what tracks to take.”
In his book, Rebuilding America, Drollinger wrote that "helping to generate a movement for Christ amongst governing authorities holds promise to change the direction of a whole country!"
Capitol Ministries is a non-profit organization. It raises money from foundations, individuals and churches. It has a strict policy to never ask for money from those who attend the Bible studies. Drollinger says “CapMin pays me a fair salary, but I usually don’t take my whole salary. I don’t need it. I played in the NBA and my money has been invested well, so I don’t need a whole lot of money from the non-profit.”
He further says, “Donors see that the efficiency of an investment in CapMin is far superior to almost anything else a Christian businessman can invest in in America. You can build Christian universities which cost millions of dollars in brick and mortar; you can invest in Christian radio stations which cost millions of dollars. Or, you can invest in CapMin, which costs tens of thousands of dollars in comparison to have just as much if not more influence.”
Capitol Ministries 2017 annual report says, “For the first time in Capitol Ministries’ 21-year history, we are seeing wide open doors across the world — opportunities to establish ministries in federal capitals — like never before! This is all God’s doing; we did not see this coming.”
Drollinger’s father started a retail chain of mountaineering specialty stores called Adventure 16, which are located throughout Southern California. From this Drollinger has acquired the hobby of mountain climbing. When he is not teaching the Bible, he is viewing God’s beautiful creation from the top of a mountain.
Where there is no guidance the people fall; but in abundance of counselors there is victory. Proverbs 11:14 NASB
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. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 NASB
Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. 1 Peter 2:13-17 NASB