ATLANTA, Ga. – Georgia Baptists turn heads when they walk the halls of the Capitol.
Even the governor takes notice.
In fact, Gov. Brian Kemp took time out Wednesday not only to talk but to shoot a selfie with a group of Georgia Baptists involved in the annual Christmas prayer tour of the Capitol.
“I was surprised that, with his busy schedule, he would come out to talk with us,” said Michael Gibbs, associational missionary in the Turner and Little River Baptist associations. “I was delighted that he would do so.”
Gibbs was one of about a dozen Georgia Baptists who took part in the first of three such tours scheduled for this week and next.
Each year during the Christmas season, Mike Griffin, public affairs representative for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, leads prayer tours of the Capitol, allowing people to walk among the garlands, bows, Poinsettias and to take in the enormous evergreen sparkling with thousands of lights.
But Griffin encourages people to look beyond the glitter of the season and see the spiritual needs of the elected officials and policymakers who work in the Capitol.
“Our prayer tour is designed to give participants the opportunity to be informed about what happens at the Capitol and to pray for those who are making public policy decisions,” Griffin said.
The final tour is set for December 16 and will begin at 10 a.m. Registration is required and is limited to the first 25 people who sign up.
The tours include a number of stops for a time of prayer for Georgia’s political leaders as they prepare for a legislative session that begins in January.
Griffin said the tours are spiritual but also educational, because, he said, it’s vital that Georgia Baptists understand the issues and the processes at play in the Capitol.
“You can’t really pray effectively about issues you don’t know anything about, and you can’t pray effectively for people if you don’t know who they are,” he said. “That’s why the educational component is so important.”
Gibbs said his primary takeaway from Wednesday’s tour was the need for churches to be engaged in the moral, ethical and biblical issues at play in the statehouse.
“We need to engage our churches to be praying for their representatives and senators,” he said. “We need to pray for them with the hope and trust that God will convince them on issues of biblical morality.”
Richard Compton, pastor of First Baptist Church in Rochelle, said the tour allowed him to learn more about the political leaders he sees on television.
“They are people just like I am, just like everyone else is,” Compton said. “We always need to be praying for these folks. We need to be establishing relationships with these folks. They live in our areas. We need to get to know them, take them to lunch, invite them to different things that are happening in our churches and our communities.”
Compton said all the political leaders Georgia Baptists encountered Wednesday talked about the importance of prayer in the governmental process.
“They want Georgia Baptists to pray for them and to pray for their families,” he said.
To register for the next prayer tour, go to:. https://gabaptist.org/capitol-christmas-prayer-tour/
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