By Pat Centner, AFA Journal staff writer
June 2004 – Rob Schenck says he often bows his head in amazement and asks God why He would bless him and his twin brother, Paul, with the opportunity to minister in a unique way on Washington’s Capitol Hill. Jewish by birth, and Christian by faith, these identical twins have as their primary mission “to bring the Word of God to bear on the hearts and minds of those who make public policy in America.”
Born of devout parents, the twins grew up in the Jewish tradition. But in their early teens, a young Methodist buddy, who “continually talked to [them] about God as though He were a good friend,” invited the pair to church. There, they met the Saviour, and their hearts and lives were changed forever.
Across the years, the brothers felt a calling from God, says Rob, and they spent their lives serving Him. Both were ordained as ministers, and both became heavily involved in the pro-life movement. Paul served as pastor of a large church in Buffalo, New York, and Rob spent 15 years as a missionary/evangelist in 35 different countries.
In the early ’90s, deeply concerned about America’s moral decline, the brothers sensed the Lord leading them to minister in the nation’s capital. “About that time,” explains Rob, “I had lunch with Oklahoma Sen. Don Nickles. He said to me, ‘Rob, you’re traveling to and from all these capital cities, and our nation is going to hell in a hand basket. I challenge you to bring your ministry here to Washington.’ That was the final factor in a very long equation.”
As a result, he turned his focus to Washington. Paul was already working on establishing a new church on Capitol Hill, and Rob was to help. But at the last moment, Paul was asked to become executive VP of the American Center for Law and Justice.
“That left me coming to Washington to organize the church project,” says Rob. “But after 18 months, I realized it was not to be my primary ministry. God, instead, opened my eyes to the huge void at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue – the home of the Supreme Court. There was no Christian ministry or active witness there to either the Supreme Court; Justices or their staff members. I realized that these are the people who consider the paramount moral issues of our day.”
Partly out of that realization, Faith and Action Ministries (FAA) was born. Today, Rob serves as “missionary to Capitol Hill,” and Paul is FAA board chairman and pastor of a church in Baltimore, Maryland.
As Capitol Hill’s missionary, Rob has shared the Good News of Christ with numerous officials and their aides. For example, an atheist with considerable influence in the halls of the Supreme Court turned to Rob for help after three years of maligning and ridiculing the missionary. But because he had always responded with love, the man phoned Rob when his son was mugged and left for dead.
Choking back tears, he told Rob, “I’ve never prayed in my life, but I’m asking you to pray with me now.” Not long after, with Rob’s nurturing, the man began to attend church, and eventually became a Christian.
On another occasion, Rob spoke with Sen. Ted Kennedy and asked him to return to the truths held dear by his own mother regarding the sanctity of life.
FAA is involved in several major projects impacting Americans’ religious rights. With offices located across the street from the Supreme Court, today a huge, yellow banner hangs outside FAA’s building, proclaiming the words “One Nation Under God.” It’s there as a daily reminder of America’s Christian heritage while the Supreme Court hears the case involving Michael Newdow and his quest to have “one nation under God” permanently removed from the Pledge of Allegiance.
“God has blessed our ministry tremendously,” concludes Rob. “We are humbled daily by the opportunities He gives us to make a difference for Him on Capitol Hill.”
For more information on Faith and Action Ministries, visit www.faithandaction.org or call 202-546-8329.