• Partnering with special initiatives
• In-jail ministry
To learn more about any of these three opportunities, contact Sarah Gonzalez, director of Cook County Jail Ministries, using the form below and continue reading.
Individuals and churches can commit to prayer for us in specific ways.
Individuals and churches have a special opportunity to sponsor initiatives, such as:
- Donating Bibles or sponsoring the purchase of Bibles
- Partnering in providing Christmas Carebags for Individuals in Custody at CCJ
- Partnering in our Cook County Jail Staff Appreciation initiatives
In-Jail Ministry with the Team
It is a privilege and great joy to serve on the team inside of the Cook County Jail (CCJ), and we seek individuals and churches who are called to minister to the incarcerated. Because of the unique nature of this ministry, we believe it is key to take time to get to know potential volunteers through a discernment process.
As a result, there are typically four phases to becoming a Koinonia House Ministries (KHM) CCJ volunteer:
- Introductory: When someone is interested in the CCJ ministry, they should connect with Sarah Gonzalez. Typically, Sarah and another member of the team will connect with interested individuals to share the current timeslots of services, the mission and vision, and essential beliefs of the ministry.
- Discerning: If both parties agree to move forward in exploring the possibility of joining the team, then individuals will be asked to share more about themselves, including but not limited to: their testimony, their current church/ministry involvement, and different aspects of their walk with Christ. Both parties will be praying and seeking the Lord’s will for the possible partnership.
- Application: If both parties agree to move forward, individuals will apply both through Koinonia House Ministries and Cook County Jail to become a credentialed volunteer.
- Approved: If both applications are approved, individuals will begin serving on one of our teams in Cook County Jail.
What Can I Expect When Serving on the Team?
All new volunteers will be placed on a team, which is led by a Group Leader.
Each Group Leader communicates with their team to determine who will be “on” that week/month to serve in the jail.
The Group Leader will also communicate how to contribute.
Each service prioritizes the Word of God, worship, and prayer, but may also include specific topical messages/studies, testimonies, special guest speakers, and equipping exercises.
Whether it is bringing donuts, arranging chairs, assisting to take attendance, or facilitating a Bible study, each volunteer is called to serve.
Other ways you may contribute in a service:
- Giving a word of exhortation
- Sharing a short devotion
- Sharing a testimony
- Leading a worship song
- Teaching and equipping the men/women in a specific spiritual discipline
- Facilitating a Bible study
- Praying one on one or in small groups with men/women
What kind of time commitment is required when serving as a regular CCJ volunteer?
We ask that regular CCJ volunteers serve 1x/wk, due to the emphasis on shepherding and discipleship.
Here are additional time commitments to consider:
- Our CCJ team meets quarterly for a Prayer Breakfast where updates and equipping takes place
- The jail hosts an annual, mandatory CCJ Volunteer Training for all volunteers and volunteers must re-apply annually
- Volunteers meet 1x/month for prayer for their specific division (coordinated by the Group Leader)
Can I volunteer if I have been arrested or incarcerated?
Both KHM and CCJ value volunteers who can relate and share personally from their own experiences! Prior arrests or incarceration do not automatically disqualify individuals from volunteering. The jail does not permit individuals who are on parole to volunteer, but they can apply once their parole ends. KHM and CCJ evaluate each applicant on a case-by-case basis.
Current Timeslots for In-Jail Ministry Volunteers
Our in-jail ministry volunteers are divided into men’s and women’s teams. If you are interested in volunteering regularly in Cook County Jail, please see the schedule below for current service times:
- Mondays from 5:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
- Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
- Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.