Great Afternoon at the JDC!

Yesterday our Saints Prison Ministry team had the honor of partnering up with Psalm 51 Ministries for two basketball games at the Peoria County Juvenile Detention Center.  See bottom for more information about their ministry. 

We played two basketball games yesterday against two different populations.  The games went very well and were very competitive.  Usually the kids will in bound the ball each possession and try to draw up a play that involves them keeping the ball and trying to force a shot for themselves.  When that happens we usually end up beating them badly and pretty much spend the rest of the day being the Globetrotters.  Yesterday was a little different as the kids were passing, effectively setting picks, and were grabbing their share of rebounds.  I also credit the staff member who was coaching them during the game but the kids did a great job.  Overall we were 1-1 on the day but the kids could have easily beaten our “softball team turned makeshift basketball team” both games.  Having both games be competitive really gave a huge advantage during our ministry time.  When the games are lopsided they really lose their focus.  If we blow them out they are too busy being dejected and pouting to pay attention (my wife says I am the same way and I have yet to outgrow that too!) and if they beat up on us, they don’t take us seriously when it comes time to preach to them.  While they were being lined up to return to their pods, they were still high fiving us, talking about last second shots, and were very appreciative for us being there. 

We had the opportunity to talk with 26 kids.  Missionary Athlete Jeremy Haab shared his story about how Jesus Christ impacted his life which was told in a way that the kids could relate with.  Brent Gerber shared the Gospel with the kids.  Brent preached about John 3:16.  He also used an illustration about pastor in Detroit who once volunteered to take beating so a young kid could get out of a gang.  Many of the kids were and probably still are tied up in gangs and were amazed someone would be willing to take their deserved beating for them to leave the gang.  Brent was able to tie that back to John 3:16 and let them know that Jesus died on a cross so that they could have a relationship with Him. 

Psalm 51 is a ministry inside the JDC that was started by a great guy named Joel Austin who goes to my church.  The ministry provides programs such as one on one counseling, group Bible studies, and a youth group on Wednesday nights.  Psalm 51 also has a basketball program that plays 6 times a year on Saturday afternoons.  When the kids are released, Psalm 51 takes them out for dinner when they get out and helps them get plugged into a good church.  This is a ministry that is doing a ton of behind the scenes work and making a huge difference in a place that is very forgotten.  If you have any questions about how you can support or get involved please let me know or contact Joel directly at

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