Executive Staff

 

Frank Zeidler
Executive Director

Frank was born to Christian parents and was raised in a suburb of Philadelphia, PA.  He accepted Christ at a young age and had the privilege of attending the same church for almost 40 years. It was there he first demonstrated leadership skills; initially leading the church youth group, then serving as a Deacon, and ultimately becoming an ordained Ruling Elder in the PCA denomination.  Frank met and married his wife Susan in that same church more than 30 years ago, and they have two adult daughters, and a son by marriage.  He is not only ordained by the PCA church, but is also a licensed minister and holds a B.S. in Management – a degree he completed as an adult, while raising a family.

Frank was employed with a global food equipment company when God called him into full-time service with the Saints.  Leaving the perks of a lengthy employment behind, he did not hesitate to respond to the invitation to join the Saints Prison Ministry staff. He immediately brought a new energy to the small staff and was given responsibility for growing the ministry, as God led. His ability to organize and develop volunteers led to dynamic growth in the ministry, resulting in almost doubling the number of athletic teams and the budget in just a few years.  In 2010, Frank and Susan once again followed God’s leading and relocated to GA to open the SE Regional office of SPM. In just 4 short years, the SE Region grew to include 6 athletic teams in 4 states. It was during this time of growth that the Executive Director felt led to move on to a new calling and the Board of Trustees asked Frank to take over as the Executive Director of the ministry.

Since joining the ministry staff, Frank has embraced Isaiah 55:8,9 as a constant reminder of who is really leading the Saints Prison Ministry.  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.   “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

 

Jimmy Cochran
Director of Team Operations

Jimmy was born in St. Louis, MO and raised in the suburbs of Houston, TX. His father was the son of a preacher; his mother a godly and loving woman. He attended church regularly his whole life and participated in various church groups including being a part of Royal Ambassadors and youth choir. Despite this upbringing, Jimmy never developed a personal relationship with Christ until 2002 when he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior at the age of 28. Currently he attends First Baptist Church Woodstock (Georgia) serving as a Care Group leader, Deacon, participates in adult choir and drama team, and partners with his wife leading the valet service for single parents.

Jimmy met his wife, Stacy, in 1993 working at the local video store and dated her for almost 5 years before the two were married in 1998. They have 3 wonderful children, 2 boys and a girl. He studied History at Kennesaw State University (Georgia) and has been on numerous mission trips abroad, including multiple trips to Lebanon.

Jimmy was employed in the customer service arena when he felt God’s called to full time Christian service in missions. Although the specific field was not clear at the time, Jimmy and Stacy laid their “yes” on the table and began to wait on the Lord. That same year he began serving with the Saints Prison Ministry as a Missionary Athlete. Four years later God made it clear that SPM was where He wanted Jimmy to serve full time, and he joined the staff as the SE Regional Director in October 2014.

 

Dr. Jay R. Thatcher, III
Director of Ministry Relations

Jay’s first passion in life growing up in Easton, PA from the age of five years old was the game of basketball. He had the opportunity to play at Susquehanna University and be a part of two NCAA tournament teams. He also had the privilege to be the team captain his junior and senior year and scored 1,000 points during his career.

It was not until after he graduated college at the age of twenty-two years old that he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. Jay is grateful to have grown up with loving parents and siblings; and He is married to his best friend and soul mate. Patrice and Jay are blessed with five children ranging in age from nine years old to twenty-four years old.

The two things that have remained constant in his life through the highs and lows of pastoral ministry are the call to preach the Gospel for the transformation of lives and his heart for racial reconciliation. Jay, in the summer of 2018, graduated with a Doctorate in Ministry from Biblical Theological Seminary in Hatfield, PA. The Lord Jesus used Dr. Damone B. Jones, Sr., a gifted Seminary Professor, to change the course of his life by taking our seminary class on a field trip to a Philadelphia correctional facility. My heart began to break when I witnessed the de-humanizing conditions that many of the inmates face twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. When I saw men, women, and youth physically locked up behind bars, God began breaking my heart for His love and desire to be reconciled to each and every inmate.

Beginning October 1, 2016, Jay answered God’s call to a new full-time position as the Northeast Regional Director of the Saints Prison Ministry. Both sports and the Gospel have been used by God to shape and mold his life for spiritual battle. He is convinced today more than ever “that our struggle is not against flesh and blood …but against the powers of this dark world and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). The Saints Prison Ministry teams are entering into a spiritual battle each and every time they enter a prison.
This spiritual battle can only be won when Christians come together as the body of Christ. Jay has discovered, painfully he should add, that the key to life and ministry is developing and growing partnerships in the Gospel …trusting that God will fulfill his mission and purpose through these partnerships. Jay’s role in 2018 transitioned to the Director of Ministry Relations. His responsibilities include developing regional networks of individuals and churches that will support a thriving national evangelistic prison sports ministry. Jay is thankful to be used by God in small way to reach prisoners who are lost and living in darkness with life-changing Gospel.

Announcements

God’s Got This!

As the impact of the novel coronavirus Covid-19 continues to unfold before our eyes, I keep hearing the same voice in the back of my head.  A former teammate of mine, and a friend to many in the Saints family, offers the same deeply held belief every time the ministry (or he personally) must face a difficult situation… “God’s got this!”

As a child of the King, that is our reality; and those words bring comfort and peace in a plethora of situations.  Yes, this virus is nasty. Yes, we must exercise caution and be part of the solution, not the problem.  Yes, the situation is unprecedented for most of us.  But none of this changes the fact that “God’s got this”.

As I have reminded you of this before, my chief concern as the Director is guiding this ministry as God is leading it; never to force my agenda or ideas, but diligently trying not to lag behind His plans either”.  I am more committed to that than ever, and through this “crisis” I have felt God’s Spirit guiding our staff and Board at every turn.

Recently, the prisons have begun closing their doors to visitors and volunteers.  As news came out that state after state was taking this necessary step, our staff took the initiative to contact the prisons where we had softball games already scheduled.  As a result of taking this action, we were able to shift the opening of our softball season back from April 25th to June 4th.  Will the doors be open by June 4th?  I have no idea.  But clearly the Spirit was leading this decision, as evidenced by this email received from a Recreation Supervisor in IL:

Thank you for reaching out to us to reschedule.  You are the only one that has so far, and I think most are just waiting to see what happens.  Look forward to seeing you guys again sometime this summer”

Or this phone message from a Chaplain in Delaware:

“Thank you for taking the time to call me.  I just assumed we would lose the games because I didn’t think rescheduling would be an option with how busy you guys always are.”

Given the uncertainty of the next few weeks and months, it is important that you know we continue to serve those behind bars as much as we are able.  The other aspects of our ministry (birthday cards, follow up discipleship, fall scheduling, etc.) go on as always.  We have taken necessary steps to be ready for mandatory work-from-home announcements and our Board has reviewed our budget for potential modifications should the current financial uncertainty become a prolonged situation.

As partners with us in reaching men and women behind bars, you may rest assured the Saints Prison Ministry maintains committed to our mission and we value our partnership as much as ever.   For understandable reasons we will have no personal interaction with any of you soon, but there are two things you can do to continue working with us. First, include the inmates we serve in your prayers.  In grim times we all suffer from tunnel vision a little bit, so I’m going to suggest a way to be intentional about this.  Think back over the stories you’ve heard or articles you’ve read and come up with one item: a crusade, a prison name, a Missionary-Athlete’s name, a program like Birthday Cards or the Glove Exchange, maybe even an inmate’s name.  Make that single item the focus of your prayers for the ministry over the next few weeks.  Thank God for His providence and pray for His direction.

Second, if you are able, please make your regular gifts online instead of mailing in a check.  Obviously, we want to make supporting this work as easy as possible; if you are not comfortable online feel free to continue to use the US mail.  But in the interest of caution, the less mail our staff handles at this time the better.  Who knows – you may find you like it!

“God’s got this” – and He has all along.  It is the greatest comfort I can offer you and at the same time the only comfort any of us should need.

Serving Him gladly,

 

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Northeast Golf Classic
June 15, 2020 at Merchantville Country Club

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