Meet the Board
We see committed Christian volunteers from the community interacting with inmates of Otsego and Schoharie County correctional facilities on a variety of levels. Corporately, through offering worship, Bible study and fellowship opportunities, and individually by sharing their faith in Jesus and His life-changing power with the inmates the volunteers will have a beneficial impact on the attitudes and actions of those to whom they minister. By the teaching and encouraging of Biblical values, the lives of inmates will be transformed so that they might become productive members of society, as well as faithful members of God’s eternal Kingdom. On the social ministry level, we see jail ministry volunteers cooperating with the administration of the correctional facilities and with other social agencies to connect the inmates and their families with needed health and human service resources.
The mission of the jail ministry is to assist the inmates of correctional facilities in Otsego and Schoharie County and their families in entering into or coming to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, receiving thereby His assurance of eternal life and the transforming power of His Spirit to live improved and more purposeful lives in this world.
One of the strongest reasons to minister to inmates comes from Jesus himself in Matthew 25:31-46. In this passage, Jesus makes a comparison to a shepherd separating his flock, just as he will separate all of us at the end of days. The criteria for those who are blessed, those who enter the kingdom, is surprisingly not what we would think. There’s no mention of going to church regularly, reading your Bible, or all of the usual events we associate with being a Christian. What Jesus does mention is how they’ve given food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, housing for strangers, clothing for the poor, care for the sick, and, lastly, visitation for the prisoner. And Jesus pounds this point home further when tells the other group, those who are cursed who have eternal fire prepared for them, that they did not do any of these. Both groups, however, are shocked at the fact that Jesus identifies with these needy people, saying “when you’ve done this for one of the least of these, you’ve done this for me.”
Statement of Faith
The day-to-day work of the jail ministry is greatly determined by the spiritual and moral values held by all those persons committed to the success of the ministry. The Steering Committee discussed the values that form the basis of the jail ministry and which motivate the actions and behavior of all participants. These values are as follows:
- Jesus Christ is the way to eternal salvation, the author of all that is true and honorable, and the one who empowers people to lead transformed lives.
- The volunteers believe that like themselves, inmates are created in God’s image and are cherished by Him.
- The volunteers believe that through them Jesus ministers to the whole person in progressing toward goals of spiritual, emotional, psychological, social and material well-being.
- The volunteers seek to minister to inmates and their families by forming authentic personal relationships with them, even as the Lord ministers to each of us in love on a personal level.
- The Gospel of Jesus teaches forgiveness, compassion and healing love as foundational in ministering to people in need.
- The volunteers see forgiveness, compassion, and healing love as critical components to minister to inmates.
- The volunteers are careful to maintain the highest standards of integrity and confidentiality in their dealings with inmates and their families.
- The volunteers will offer the love and message of the Christian Gospel as a means to draw near to Jesus and live a purposeful life freely and without coercion.
- Those who volunteer to work with the jail ministry have come to this commitment through prayer and a sense of calling from the Lord.
- The volunteers will honor their commitments to the ministry by their prayers, preparation and timely presence.