Prison Ministry

About Us

About Jesus is the Key Ministries

We started as a prison ministry of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in 1996. At that time we were going into one of the facilities at the California Institution for Men (CIM) in Chino, CA. We were only going in on the fifth Tuesdays of the month. There are not many months with five Tuesdays in them! Don’t be discouraged if it isn’t what you would like it to be when your prison ministry first starts up. Where God guides, He will make all the provisions you need.

Calvary Chapel Chino Hills prison ministry now goes in with teams to three of the facilities at CIM, eight to ten times a month.

Jesus is the Key Ministries was formed separate from the Calvary Chapel Chino Hills ministry to begin a “multi-church” ministry focused on supporting and equipping other churches to do prison ministry. Jesus Is The Key Ministries is now going into the California Institution for Women in Corona, California on the 4th Thursday of the month doing inductive Bible studies. We also go into into CIM West, East, Central, and Minimum yards about a dozen times a month and Men’s Central Jail several times a month.

We have visited other prisons for special occasions including California Men’s Colony, Northern California Women’s Facility, Centinela State Prison, California State Prison – Lancaster, San Quentin and R.J. Donovan; all of which are California Department of Corrections facilities. We have had visits back east to South Wood State Prison and Jessup State Prison, both in Maryland. We have also ministered in Dietz Prison, Tegel State Prison, Butzbach Stae Prison and Friedberg State Prison, all in Germany.

In 2007 we went to Central America to the countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras. We had the opportunity to visit 10 prisons within those countries. All of them housing one or the other and in some cases both the notorious MS 13 and 18th Street gangs.

It started with a handful of people from Calvary Chapel Chino Hills and now after eighteen years, there have been over one hundred people who have served in these ministries. Some have been there since the beginning, others have come and gone. But it has all been a blessing to be a part of.

We started doing yard concerts in the spirit of the evangelistic crusades done on the “streets” (free world), like the Billy Graham Crusades or the Harvest Crusades with Greg Laurie. We have had well known music groups such as Ordinary People, Scarlet Hope, The Kry, Heather Henry, Real Truz, Brothers in Blues, Two or More, Hannah Ford and Gutierrez Brothers, as well as some awesome groups from church worship teams, who have given of their time and talents to make the outreaches the success they have been.

The ministry took a personal turn for Chaplain Ed in October of 2000 when jail ministry became full time. It was then that he became the Senior Protestant Chaplain for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Men’s Central Jail. Men’s Central Jail is the largest jail in the world, with a population of 7,000 men at the time Chaplain Ed started.

In June 2004 Chaplain Ed had the privilege of serving as the chairman of the Prison Outreach Committee for the Los Angeles Billy Graham Crusades. They were able, in about a six month period, to conduct nearly 70 different outreaches within some 35 different facilities all over the area. Never in the 55 year history of the crusades had they had as many prison / jail outreaches as part of the Billy Graham Crusades. Nearly 10,000 inmates heard the good news of Jesus Christ.

Everyone who is a Chaplain for the County of Los Angeles does it on a volunteer basis. So it was through donations that Chaplain Ed was funded as a missionary to serve in this position.

In March 2003, we became a 501(c)3 nonprofit California corporation, and trust that the Lord will continue to guide us. The ministry is overseen by a board of directors and has approximately 25 individuals volunteering in the different institutions.

One of our main missions to assist other churches and come along side them in forming their own prison ministries. Along with leading Bible studies and church services in the institutions, a primary focus is purchasing Bibles and other Christian materials to bring into the jails and prisons. We also work to assist the institution Chaplains with their programs in any way we can. If interested in more information or in having a presentation at your church, you can contact us at (See Contact Us ).

It is hoped that this web site will first and foremost, glorify God. We hope to continue to develop this site so that it will help all in the church body who are trying to minister to the jails and prisons. And we desire to be an encouragement to any who want to start in prison ministry.

Chaplain Ed was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in October 2013.  He continued to minister in the prisons and jails through December 2015, as the Lord continued to bless him and his family in a mighty way, extending his days well beyond the 6 month diagnosis he was originally given.

Ed Welsh, The Founder and Director of Jesus Is The Key Ministries went home to be with the Lord on February 9th, 2016. Although he is dearly missed, Jesus Is The Key continues to minister in many different ways. Over the last 14 years, Ed has raised up many men and women who regularly serve within the ministry and on behalf of the ministry. Ed was the leader and voice of the ministry, doing a marvelous job at creating a ministry team that extended well beyond his own personal work as Chaplain and President of Jesus Is The Key Ministries. As Ed’s health declined, others picked up the additional responsibilities to continue the vision and mission the Lord had given to Ed.
The mission of Jesus Is the Key Ministries has and will continue to be:

· To teach the Word of God from the Bible, making disciples in Prisons and Jails

· To help men and women establish the Church within the Prison walls to function as the Body of Christ

· To support Prison and Jail Chaplains, providing Bibles and Christian literature for Inmates

· To recruit and support Volunteers to begin Prison Ministry and provide vision and support for Churches to begin Prison Ministry

Today there are over 40 ministry team members from approximately 10 different churches who minister under the Jesus Is The Key Ministries umbrella in prisons and jails.

The Board of Directors includes 7 individuals, some of whom have served in the prison ministry with Ed since it started in 1996.  The Board also now includes two of Ed and Allison’s grown children, who are excited to see the ministry which Ed started continue to thrive and fulfill Chaplain Ed’s vision.