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

January usually means winding down soccer season, the heart of basketball season, and the first mention of softball season in the way of preseason meetings. To no one’s surprise, soccer and basketball seasons have fallen victim to pandemic cautions.

That leaves the softball season preparation to “announce” and this will surprise no one either. Due to the incredibly unpredictable prison landscape today, the preseason meetings for softball season are postponed until further notice. We are optimistic that we will see some level in-prison activity this summer but, until we have some indication of what that may look like, we are going to move forward cautiously to avoid any confusion or misleading statements.

We appreciate your prayers for our missionary-athletes as they are anxious to once again meet inmates who are desperate for answers once again, face-to-face, in the furtherance of the Gospel.

Hot Topics

COVID-19 certainly qualifies as a Hot Topic, and even more so as it impacts not only our ministry but also the men and women to whom we minister.

Just this week, the first inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Fort Dix passed away as a result of COVID. The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is a long-time partner of the Saints Prison Ministry and we have visited Federal prisons all over the country. But FCI Fort Dix is right in our backyard, a mere 15 miles from our headquarters in NJ, and we have developed many close relationships there over the years.

One inmate’s death is no more or less important than another, but this news reminds us that the incarcerated men and women we visit are living in perilous conditions. While we may choose to lock ourselves in our homes or wear a hazmat suit in public if we choose, prison conditions are so cramped that “social distancing” is almost impossible.

While our ministry is not allowed in-person visits at this time, prayer is a ministry unto itself and we ask all of our Saints family to be praying regularly for the mission field to which we are called.

“Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them……” Hebrews 13:3 [Link to the nj.com article referenced above https://www.nj.com/news/2021/01/first-inmate-dies-at-nj-prison-ravaged-by-covid.html