Right about the time it seemed the 2021 Fifty-fifth Legislature – First Regular Session was nearing an end, last week the Arizona Senate abruptly adjourned until Thursday, June 10. Then, last Friday, Governor Ducey vetoed 22 bills signaling that he would not consider additional legislation until he’s given a budget. And the clock is ticking. June 30 is the end of the 2021 fiscal year in Arizona.
That might be more about how the legislative sausage is made than you’d like to know, but it is emblematic of how this session has been at the Arizona Capitol. As I’ve related in previous emails, 2021 has been raw and contentious for our legislators, to say the least.
Enter Arizona Capitol Project. In our first year of ministering to the Legislative Branch of government, between a closed-to-the-public-Capitol and the prevailing contention of the session overall, it has been – in a word – educational.
Don’t get me wrong: I’ve loved every minute of it. I only mean there hasn’t been a moment in this new ministry where I haven’t learned something new about the legislative process, about perseverance, about the honest-to-goodness power of prayer, and so much more. When I get the chance to slow down a little more this summer, I hope to reflect more on this aspect of it all.
However, I wanted to take this opportunity today to share with you God’s immense kindness to us in this, the first year of ministry for the Arizona Capitol Project.
There are 2,141 Arizona pastors and church ministry leaders on our email list. One of our goals this summer is to do a deep dive into the list and get it updated. In addition, we have a passion to expand our reach to more and more Arizona churches and their pastors. You can help us with that by sharing the Arizona Capitol Project with your denominational group, networks, peers, and friends. Please forward this email and/or direct them here to get connected with us this summer!
When the call went out last fall, inviting shepherds of the Church to build relationships with shepherds of the government, 48 local church pastors responded. Some of you indicated that you could give a little of your time, while a couple of you said you could give more. Little did we realize that the Capitol would be closed to the public this session. If we’ve learned anything at all in this inaugural year, it’s flexibility. I am so thankful to each pastor and church leader for investing in the lives of our elected officials this year!
As of this writing, together we have conducted 27 individual meetings with members of the Arizona House and Senate in 2021. Because of the pandemic and zero name recognition this year, I confess I was not totally sure what to expect. Nevertheless, each of these individual meetings with members has been rich. Not all have looked exactly the same. Why? Because we are moving at the speed of relationship. The Holy Spirit is so clearly in the midst of these meetings, whether by Zoom, Teams, or face-to-face. Some plant, some water, but God gives the increase.
As a perfect reminder of the nonpartisan nature of this ministry, we have met with members of both sides of the aisle. We have prayed with both sides of the aisle. We have opened the Word of God with both sides of the aisle. God gives the increase.
This ministry will expand. I have zero doubt. At the moment, however, the Arizona Capitol Project is limited simply by human resources. 1 person. The great news is, we have an immensely gifted Regional Coordinator coming onboard the ACP team just as soon as we fill another key slot on the Center for Arizona Policy team. This will be a paradigm shift for this ministry! I cannot wait to introduce this new team member to you!
While it is not about the numbers, these numbers represent an exciting beginning to the first season of this new ministry. It has been a profound joy meeting with so many of you one-on-one, and as partners meeting with our elected officials this year. And this is only the beginning! God gives the increase, and I cannot wait to see what He will do next for His Kingdom and His Glory!