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To bring Gospel-driven hope and transformation to the city of Chicago, including the reconciliation of families, that proclaims freedom to those bound by sin and healing for the broken-hearted to those in Cook County Jail and equips them in their God-give calling, including their role in the local church.


  • Proclaim the transformative message of Christ crucified, resurrected, and returning to all we encounter in CCJ
  • Nurture believers in CCJ in their God-given calling to cultivate an intimate relationship with God the Father
    through Scripture, prayer and worship, and to go on to serve in the local church in prison and/or the outside
  • Come alongside the local church in serving staff and individuals in CCJ and their families, including receiving them upon their release

Behind the Wall

Ministry in Cook County Jail

In CCJ, we both evangelize and disciple.

This looks like:

  • Four weekly services in three divisions (two for men/two for women)
  • Women’s Chaplaincy on the women’s floor, housing roughly 300 women, with one-on-one meetings
  • Weekly Bible distributions
  • Average 85 men/women served each week via Bible studies, church services, and discipleship touch points
Cook County Jail: A Massive Field Ripe for Harvest
  • One of the largest county jails in the USA, covering more than eight city blocks on the southwest side of Chicago
  • Roughly 100,000 people are admitted each year who were arrested in Cook County
  • Daily population averages 5,500
  • Men make up 90%+ of the population
  • Currently, 60%+ are 34 years of age or under
The History of Ministry in CCJ

From 1978 to 1996, Andy Gonzalez was a volunteer chaplain at CCJ.  Assisted by his wife Marjean, the Gonzalezes faithfully ministered together until the Lord unexpectedly called Andy home to Himself.  Marjean carried on the ministry, leading volunteers into CCJ several times a week while also raising her daughter Sarah.  In 2021, Marjean approached Koinonia House Ministries with the idea of bringing this ministry under the umbrella of KHM.  Today, Sarah Gonzalez leads this vital ministry!  Click here to learn more about Sarah.

Pillars of Discipleship

Making disciples requires both proclaiming and equipping.

Our focus is to shepherd disciples in Cook County Jail to be thoroughly equipped to pursue Christ as their first love and to walk in obedience to His calling. Our priority is to shepherd them while they are incarcerated in CCJ, so that whether they are released or go on to prison, they have been discipled to stand firm in Christ as their only firm foundation, not being tossed about by the doctrines of this world and culture.


We proclaim the Gospeltestimonies, and teach the Word of God through weekly services and discipleship.

Seven volunteers on our team have been incarcerated, and three of them were incarcerated in Cook County Jail! This is a great encouragement to the men and women.


We equip men and women to cultivate an intimate relationship with God the Father through a lifestyle of worship, prayer, and daily engagement with God’s Word by providing them with challenges and opportunities to practice, develop, and take on these three key spiritual disciplines.

This looks like:

  • Teaching them the who, what, why, and how of prayer  – and challenging them to put this into practice in both private prayer time as well as gathering corporately with fellow detainees each night for “deck prayer”
  • Equipping them in how to pray scripture, including praying scripture-driven prayers for their children 
  • Exposing them to purpose of worship and praise, and challenging them to worship in their dorms and to lead worship in our meetings
  • Instructing them in how to develop a daily rhythm and lifestyle of engaging, studying, and feasting on the Living Word of God
Holy Donuts
Help us say a sweet thank you to Corrections staff
Christmas Bags
Help us carry compassion to the incarcerated

Interested in serving on the team?

Click Here to Learn More

I appreciate the weekly Bible studies."

—Marcus, CCJ

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