God Sent Me to Jail

The Story of how God Called me to Jail Ministry

I still remember when our church launched a jail ministry. I worked in church office at the time and I remember running the announcements in the bulletin about sign-up and training.

“That’s not for me,” I remember thinking to myself. Perhaps what I really meant was, “I’m not for them,” because I truly believed that my nature — judgmental and lacking mercy — would not make me a good ambassador for Christ in that environment.

So later, when I started to feel like the Holy Spirit was nudging me in that direction, I ignored it at first. But over time, the nudge became a shove and the whisper became an undeniable command. Since I was studying the book of Jonah at the time, I knew all too well that, if God wills that you will go somewhere, He can get you there any way He chooses. I thought it might go easier on me if I went willingly.

I remember the Thursday night I sat in church and told God, “OK. I will go.” After church, my family went to dinner and while we waited on the food to come, I texted Fred Knoll, the staff pastor over the jail ministry, that I had decided to join the ministry. “What is my next step?” I asked.

I will never forget the reply because it burned into my soul like a branding iron.

“There is a mandatory training this coming Monday or another in 3 months. I’m not going to tell you what to do, but delayed obedience is disobedience.”

I replied, simply, “I’ll see you Monday.”

Little did I know at the time that there was a very specific reason I was called at that moment. In just a months, the leader of the women’s team was soon to suffer a major heart attack and would ask me step into her role as she recovered.

What if I wasn’t there to answer that call? God would have found someone — His will cannot be thwarted. But I would have missed out on blessings for which I am eternally grateful.