How then can they call upon the One they have not believed in? An how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? -Romans 10:14-15
Greetings, my name is Tim Hooten, and I am honored to be the newest family member of chaplains at OJPM. My journey into this ministry is truly a God story, and I give Him all glory.
My story began, when, as a young husband and father, I went to a Bill Glass Weekend of Champions with a friend of mine. As I visited with the inmates that weekend God opened my heart to those I met. Later, I was able to be a part of another day event at a different prison, where, once again, I witnessed God move in amazing ways.
Fast forward several years: I surrendered to the ministry in 2001, went to seminary for a couple of years, and started serving in church. I have served as a youth minister, music minister, education, and eventually as pastor. I have enjoyed every position God has given me, but being a pastor is where my heart lies. Bringing God’s word to the world, and helping heal broken people through the love of Jesus is what I live for.
I have served in Texas, New Mexico, and two years ago I moved to Oklahoma with my wife and son to serve God as pastor at First Baptist Church in Gage. As pastor I was able to occasionally visit inmates at the Ellis County Jail, as well as being able to meet and get to know the sheriff and his staff, but becoming a chaplain there never entered my mind. God, however, had different plans: One afternoon I was driving down the highway when I received a phone call from the Ellis County Jail in Arnett asking me if I would be willing to start bringing a Bible study to the inmates there. I was honored and thrilled. God had opened the door to a ministry that I had fallen in love with so many years ago. And now He was giving me the opportunity, not only to share the love of Jesus to these men on an occasional basis, but every week. I was excited, but also nervous. What would I teach them? How can I answer their questions? Would I be able to relate and build long-term relationships? I didn’t know the answer to those questions, but I did know who might be able to help me. That’s when I started my journey with OJPM. They were open and available for me, and encouraging with all my questions.
I thank God for bringing me to the Oklahoma Jail and Prison Ministries. I am honored that they have adopted me into their ministry as a chaplain. And I look forward to their continued mentorship and relationship.
Tim Hooten, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Gage, Oklahoma; Chaplain, Ellis County Jail, Arnett, Oklahoma