While reading a monthly newsletter in the fall of 2017, Executive Chaplain Tim Gentry, mentioned that OJPM envisioned, “passionate, trained chaplains in every county jail in Oklahoma.” While I thought this was a very enticing proposition, I really wasn’t sure we would be able to embark on this big of an outreach.
Well, as director of development for OJPM, I cannot begin to tell you how much fun it has been to follow Tim’s vision over the past 18 months while being on the team to expand county jail ministry sites. The stops along the way – various counties, towns, people, county sheriffs, undersheriffs, so many divine and spirit-led appointments have all been such a blessing to witness and report to Tim and our fully engaged board of directors.
As you can see in this newsletter, OJPM is now in 15 counties and is very prayerful to expand into five new counties in 2020. Hallelujah! Expanding and opening an upstart ministry into a new county usually comes with lots of moving parts – lots of calls, visits, emails, texts, many considerations by any number of people.
While growth and planting new county jail chaplaincies can most times be a busy process, when completed and up and running, you can rest assured it’s been God’s plan to bring open doors, chance encounters, hope and direction to this new ministry site at exactly the appointed time.
“And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” Romans 10:15
Each of our new openings seem to take on somewhat of a trial and testing, but each opening is so exhilarating while watching God’s mighty hand at work. He wants others to share and hear the good news of His Son Jesus Christ – transformation on both sides of the bars.
While our overall growth outreach was a financial stretch for 2019, we are onfident God has a plan to raise the necessary means to continue growing more counties as we move into 2020.
GOOD NEWS – In November of 2019, we received wonderful news that one of our key financial contributors had made a $50,000 matching grant to OJPM to continue expansion in 2020. What this means is this: If we raise “new money” (aside from a regular monthly or annual giving from a donor), OJPM will be matched dollar for dollar up to $50,000. As a former college athletic director, I refer to this as a home run, touchdown, a sold-out stadium, a three pointer at the buzzer. Talk about exciting, we are so excited.
To top this off, in early January we received a gift for $27,000 towards the campaign. Yes, another “Praise God” moment for OJPM. All this being said, $23,000 is needed to reach our $50,000 campaign goal.
By now, you have probably figured out where we coined the phrase; TEAM 23 for 2020. Since the first of the New Year I have been reaching out to friends and contacts around the state that are prospects to contribute to this campaign. So far, my meetings have gone very well. I have many more to go.
My general discussion is to ask prospects to contribute $100 per month for the next 12 months – some are doing this monthly with a check or online at ojpm.org. Others are praying about joining or have committed a onetime donation for our expansion cause. Last week we received an online gift of $1,200 from a friend of mine in Thailand.
Please, be in prayer and consider joining TEAM 23 in helping us to reach our goal. If you are interested in discussing or making a pledge or gift, please call, text or email me and I will set up an appointment. My phone number is (405) 919-4819. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or, Tim and Diana can always be reached at our home office at (405) 917-2242.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Director of Development