GIC Opportunities to Meet Tim Terry
About Tim Terry
In 2002, a man walked out of the South Carolina Prison System on a mission. After 15 years in prison, Tim Terry had decided that it would be his life’s work to build a bridge from the inside (the prisons) to the outside community. For years, he watched volunteers enter the prisons preaching the salvation message of John 3:16. But there were no programs designed to help men and women learn the gospel truths, and to walk them out successfully with them from the inside to the outside.
While in SCDC Tim Terry experienced the salvation of Jesus Christ, and began to contemplate his future, and to care for fellow inmates, guards and prison staff. He was struck by how many people would get released from prison and return 30, 60 or 90 days later. He began to interview them and ask them “Why?” “Why is it so difficult to succeed on the outside?” The same three challenges were repeated over and over: 1) I’ve got no place to live. 2) I cannot get a job. 3) I don’t have any mentors or supporters, and can’t find a church home who will accept me for who I am.
Tim prayed about it, and God gave him the vision as to how to help ex-offenders stop that revolving door, and for the last seven years of his imprisonment, he mapped out a plan in his mind and heart on how to ‘build a bridge from the inside to the outside.’ For the past 14 years, Tim Terry has worked to do just that. He has helped found and lead three nonprofit prison reentry ministries, the last of which (Jumpstart Prison Ministry) he helped found and built it into a sizeable organization, working in 14 SC Prisons, with thousands of men and women participating, and with numerous transitional homes in the upstate of South Carolina and providing employment opportunities to over 50 ex-offenders at a time.
As of December 2015 Tim has been led by The Lord to establish a beachhead in Charleston SC which they now have a 20 bed facility. This will give FreshStart the opportunity to share a model to other states which have been calling for the last several years to see if it is possible to move this program into their states. If they will allow Tim to share his insight to the reentry problem, then they will be able to see thousands redeemed and restored back to their families and communities.
FreshStart is a Christian organization through which pastors and ex-offenders volunteer their time to help inmates. Terry said he believes teaching Biblical principles to prisoners substantially lowers the rate at which ex-convicts return to prison. As a matter of fact he received recently the data from prison officials that this process has a 4.9 % recidivism rate from 2010-2016.
FreshStart Vision inside program in upcoming states is designed for inmates who are within one-three years of release. Terry said inmates believe in this program because it allows them to share their feelings and concerns, and work on establishing why they came to prison and learn how to establish a closer relationship with God so He can heal them from their past and make plain to them how much He loves them and introduce them to His plan and purpose so they can really understand what life is and go onto to become law abiding, tax paying citizens. He is excited to see which state will be next in establishing this dream and vision God put in his heart.