FRANKFORT – Kyle McDanell, the new chaplain of the Capitol Commission, says lawmakers need the gospel like everyone else.
“People need to know all elected officials – local, state and federal – are real people with real needs,” he said. “Their needs are no different than anybody else. They are put in a position of prominence, a public position, and have a lot of pressure. They need pastoral counsel and the hope of the gospel as much as anybody.”
McDanell is also the pastor of East Frankfort Baptist Church for the past seven years. He has the blessing of the church to work as the chaplain in the Capitol and minister to both legislators and their staff.
“It’s a nonpartisan ministry that brings the gospel to the Capitol staff and legislators, from the janitor to the governor,” he said.
McDanell said the ministry has three elements: presence, praying and proclamation. “Every day I’m going to pray with them. The proclamation is where I share the gospel and teach the Bible. It’s been a real reprieve (for them) from day-to-day politics.”
He has two Bible studies a week at the Capitol, one for the staff and one for the legislators. He said the response has been good although he’s still in the process of meeting everyone.
“The real advantage for the ministry to the legislators is there’s nothing I need from them or that they can give to me,” he said. “I don’t need anything political from them. That allows me to serve freely and give them all that I have. The gospel breaks down those (barriers) and the gospel is the only thing that’s going to bring unity to the state and Capitol.”
McDanell said he has the privilege of watching the lawmakers in the day-to-day world of the Capitol and how they speak to each other as individually and not as groups. “It’s refreshing to see and a reminder of the power of the gospel,” he said.
The Capitol Commission is able to work through funds from Kentucky Baptists and the Woman’s Missionary Union. “I’m thankful that Kentucky Baptists and the WMU understand the importance of this position,” he said. “I wouldn’t be able to do the ministry without it.”
McDanell said he went through all the proper Baptist channels in getting East Frankfort Baptist Church to give its stamp of approval. “The church has really been good to me,” he said. “We’re so blessed by East Frankfort and are so happy there. They also see the Capitol is part of our community and the local church is called to serve the community.”
He and wife, Amanda, have two children, Elijah, 13, and Evangeline, 10.