Dr. Joel W. Harder is the state minister for Oklahoma through Capitol Commission, a nationwide ministry reaching capitol communities for Christ. Appointed by Speaker Charles McCall, Harder currently serves as Chaplain for the Oklahoma House of Representatives in the 56th Oklahoma Legislature.  Involved in church leadership for more than 15 years, Harder served in several ministry roles in congregations throughout Texas and Northern Virginia and has pastoral leadership experience in both small and large churches.

Harder came to Oklahoma after spending nine years living and working in the metro Washington DC area where he most recently served as the Pastor for Discipleship and Global Mission Strategies at First Baptist Church of Alexandria. He oversaw discipleship programming for every age and life-stage in a church ministering to individuals and families who live and work within the national capital community in Washington DC. In 2012, Harder developed an annual conference on Faith & Work with more than 120 in attendance each year.

Harder concurrently led the church’s global mission strategies and managed all global mission partnerships. He led mission teams in North America, Central Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. In 2016, he coordinated and led an inaugural pastor’s conference in an Eastern European nation, gathering pastors from across the southeastern region of that country where they are ministering in largely unengaged, indigenously Muslim communities with ties throughout Central Asia.

Harder earned a BA in Political Science from the University of North Texas and a Master’s of Social Work from Baylor University. In February of 2018, Harder earned a Doctorate of Education from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. His research interests are in relational discipleship, e-mentoring, and information communication technologies. Harder has lectured at Georgetown University, The John Leland Baptist Center for Theological Studies, and provides regular pulpit supply. His sermons are posted online at

Joel is married to Donelle and they are the proud parents of two daughters, Philece and Farrow.