Holy Order of the Inadequate (HOI)

The Gate through which God Enters

The Gate through which God Enters

That’s in the signature block of Chaplain Bill Brown, Director of Chaplaincy, and Manager of the Kairos Prison Ministry in a large State Prison in San Diego, California.  Since 2002, Chaplain Bill has seen the hand of God work in amazing ways.  I recently caught up with him and asked if he had any encouraging stories he could share.  This is some of what he said:

“I can tell stories all day long of God’s miracles that take place on a daily basis…At the last Kairos Weekend a lead litigant (inmate suing the state to meet the religious needs of Wiccans throughout the California Department of Corrections) came to Jesus and is now attending services and attending the class for new believers.”

He continued:  “A ‘general’ under the founder of the ‘Crips’ has been coming back into the prison where he was an inmate, as a chapel volunteer. For about six years God has been using him powerfully to communicate a message of hope for lasting change and purpose in life. His testimony is powerful, and he is available if you need a speaker to share what God can do.”

“A former ‘high priest’ in the church of Satan has been a member of our Praise and Worship team for a couple of years in the maximum security unit, and he is a leader in our evangelism team there.

“An inmate who was raised Muslim and was healed from stage 4 cancer in the name of Jesus, regularly brings Muslim friends to a Kairos Weekend, and we see Muslims coming to Jesus on a regular basis.”

Then Chaplain Bill shared an interesting story of ministry to Muslims in an unusual, loving way:

“For several years the Christian Volunteers have stepped up and given their time to supervise the inmates in the maximum security unit during Ramadan (Muslim month of fasting). Otherwise, they would not be able to have daily services. We build bridges of unconditional love, and combined with fervent prayer, the Holy Spirit does amazing things.”

Here are statistics for the first six months of 2015:

  • Worship Services – 390
  • Bill’s Personal Counseling (does not include volunteers who counsel) – 143
  • Bible Studies – 253
  • Other discipleship programs (new believer classes, Self-confrontation, praise & worship practices, prayer meetings) – 384

Bill shared an insight to what is making this ministry work: “Intercessory Prayer meetings are the place where we make progress. God hears and answers the prayers of His people.”

When asked to share what other believers can pray for, he listed three critical requests:

  1. For God to send one of His choice servants to replace me when I retire (Dec. ’16); and a smooth transition so that the program continues to thrive.
  2. For God to pour out His Holy Spirit and move mightily among inmates and volunteers.
  3. The salvation and discipleship of hundreds of inmates.

    R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility

    R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility

Some closing thoughts: Imagine you are the Lead Pastor of a 3600 person, multi-site megachurch, with three locations, and five church
facilities.  To carry out 200 monthly worship services, you utilize a staff of over 500 volunteers.  You showed up in 2002 as a Protestant Chaplain, and God has used you, a self-confessed member of the “Holy Order of the Inadequate” (HOI) to lead the development of what we see today.

How did this happen?  A second look at Chaplain Bill’s signature block reveals the “secret.”  There we also read, a second set of three initials “AIJ” (Adequate in Jesus).   Chaplain Bill Brown includes “HOI” and “AIJ” as a reminder that though we are all members of the “Holy Order of the Inadequate (HOI), when we rely on the Holy Spirit, we are “AIJ” (Adequate in Jesus), and able to do His will and work on this earth.

God is at work in amazing ways in some unusual places.  Someone said that when God was kicked out of U.S. schools, He went to work in the U.S. Prison System where He was still welcome.  Chaplain Bill’s reports supports that contention.

If you are interested in pursuing professional ministry in a correctional setting, or any other chaplain specialty, federal or civilian, contact Andy Meverden, CBAmerica’s Director of Chaplaincy at chapandy@cbamerica.org or check out our website at www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy.