Saturday, August 19, 2017

Who We Are

About the people behind New Brothers Fellowship.
The most important people behind New Brothers Fellowship are the members of the Body of Christ. Without the support of the men and women of God, this ministry could never take place. From the beginning, the Lord made that clear. He called us as missionaries to bring that truth home to us in a very practical sense. He never wanted us to think this was about Doug and Caroline. This ministry is all about Him, and His Body---to the Body, by the Body, and for the Body for Christ. We recognize that without the men and women of God who give, pray, and serve, NBF would not survive. They are very much who New Brothers Fellowship is, and always has been.

Around 1996, Paul Sidmore, the Chaplain at the Essex County Correctional Facilities, recognized the need for Christian fellowship for men who had come to know Christ during their incarceration. He knew that if they did not continue to walk with God after their release, they would soon return to their old ways, and eventually be back in prison. To address this need, he would call on men himself and organize times of fellowship as often as possible. He was the originator of this ministry, and passed down the duties of leadership to his successor, Chaplain Ray Perez.

Chaplain Ray brought a little more definition to NBF, but at this time the demands of a full-time chaplain ministry made it impossible for him to develop NBF’s potential himself. He recognized that this work needed a dedicated, full-time director. In 2004, he felt led of God to share the vision of New Brothers Fellowship with a recent prison ministry volunteer, Doug Gregan.

This where we enter the history of New Brothers Fellowship, and it is an honor to be in such a line of men of God. Our story before Doug’s appointment to Directorship of NBF will have to saved for another time and place. However, we would like to share some the continuing story of New Brothers Fellowship.

In September 2004, after approximately a year of volunteering at the EECF, assisting Chaplain Ray, the Lord called Doug into full-time prison ministry. Two months later, he was appointed the Director of NBF, and our family entered full-time prison aftercare ministry as home missionaries. At this point in time, NBF consisted of a few sheets of paper. We weren’t really clear about anything, but we knew the need, saw the potential, and recognized this was the opportunity of a lifetime. We eagerly said, “Yes, Lord!” We were excited, naïve, inexperienced, and willing. We had no idea what being full-time missionaries meant, but we knew this was the call of God.

Entering the mission field and full-time ministry the way we did was certainly unorthodox by most people’s standards. We have sometimes thought that only people in our position, without proper ministerial training or experience, would have accepted such a position. In other words, anyone else would said, “But, there’s no job description, no salary or benefits, nothing to even build on!” They would have been smart enough to know this was an assignment destined to fail according to every standard of man. If we had relied on man’s standards as our test of God’s faithfulness, we probably would have quit the next month. Instead, somehow, we realized this job was going to cost us everything, but God would take care of us.

And, He has!