As early as 1975 I sensed God calling me to evangelism and to “shut-ins” in particular. Around this time I delivered cassette tapes of our church’s Sunday sermons to a local, homebound woman. My belief was that one day God would expand my ministry, perhaps leading me to serve people in assisted living homes, or perhaps to those confined to their own home.
In 1987 God opened the door for me to enroll as a graduate student in Regent University, in Virginia Beach, VA. In 1990, I graduated with a degree in Biblical Studies. Earlier that year I had completed an internship at the Virginia Beach Correctional Center (VBCC). After graduation I continued to volunteer at VBCC and by the summer of 1992 I was certain God was calling me to correctional chaplaincy.
In February of 1993 I was hired by Good News Jail & Prison Ministry (GNJ&PM) as a part-time chaplain at VBCC. By November I was employed as a full-time chaplain. As I began ministering to inmates I realized these were the “shut-ins” God had called me to in 1975.
In more than twenty years of chaplaincy with GNJ&PM, my administrative and supervisory duties increased exponentially as the inmate population grew from about 600 inmate residents in 1993 to an approximate daily average of 1500 inmates around the year 2000. As a result, my actual face time with inmates dropped appreciably. Consequently, Chaplaincy no longer best defined what God had called me to, that is, to minister directly to inmates. I knew I could have a more effective ministry if freed from the many assigned administrative tasks.
After much time in prayer I was led to establish Square One Ministries. The name Square One was chosen because I often found myself directing the inmate population spiritually back to “square one.” The overwhelming number of inmates I met assumed they had had a genuine encounter with God, but upon closer examination many had not. Most had a lot of religion and ritual and had learned Christian speak, but few had experienced a genuine encounter with the living God.
Moreover, many who had experienced a personal encounter with Jesus had wandered away from their First Love. As a result I found myself continually leading inmates back to “square one,” to their First Love, and helping equip them with the necessary tools to maintain that all important relationship with Jesus Christ.
In 2003 Square One Ministries was founded and officially recognized as a 501(c) 3 organization. For ten years afterwards I continued to work part-time with GNJ&PM while devoting considerable time each week to ministry through Square One at VBCC. In 2014 I experienced the call to retire from GNJ&PM and carry out my entire prison ministry through Square One. It has been a marvelous experience as I witness God at work in the lives of individuals on a daily basis. Regarding my jail ministry, I tell everyone that I’m a “lifer.”
In addition to my ministry at the VBCC, two members of our Board of Directors, Jim and Sue Murray, minister to inmates and former inmates in the Luray area of Virginia. Previously, Jim and I served as chaplains together for about five years at VBCC. After leaving Virginia Beach, Jim and Sue served as chaplains with the Virginia Department of Corrections in the Coffeewood Correctional Center. We are blessed to have two persons of the caliber of Jim and Sue ministering under the Square One Ministry banner with us. Both are graduates of Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Square One Ministries is blessed to have a fantastic Board of Directors who encourage us and hold us accountable, and a wonderful core of kind and generous supporters who bless us month after month, and year after year. We look forward to taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to those behind bars, as well as to those who work as deputies and staff persons in those same facilities.
To all who are a part of this ministry, I thank God for you and for the vital services your prayers and financial support make possible. May the grace and favor of the Lord Jesus Christ be upon you.