In His Steps Ministries, Inc.
A Christian, non-profit organization sewing Madison County and surrounding communities.
Mission Purpose: In His Steps Ministries desires to use innovative and specialized ministries to impact the lives of people for the glory of Jesus Christ. Given this desire, IHS sees it present mission as providing Christ centered ministries to at risk children, juvenile offenders, and their families. At the same time, IHS provides short-term mission opportunities for Christian individuals and churches. The mission is carried out in close partnership with the local church.
To provide evangelistic bible studies in four-area detention centers serving boys from nearly a dozen Mississippi counties.
To provide mentoring for each new convert released from the detention center in order to help the juvenile offender lead a successful and productive life.
To provide weekly Discipleship bible studies that are geared toward helping new converts grow in their knowledge of Christ and the scriptures.
To provide educational assistance in order to help young men finish their education, by partnering with local churches, GED agencies, and teachers.
To provide support services for parents of juvenile offenders, which include a telephone ministry, retreats, workshops, and a one-to-one ministry, whereby volunteers offer personal encouragement, advice, and fellowship.
To provide a long-term preventive ministry for a selected group of sixteen children beginning in the 2nd grade and continuing through 12th grade. The goal of this program is to provide these children with a good spiritual, physical, academic, social, and emotional foundation. (The S.P.A.S.E. Program)
To provide short-term mission opportunities for individuals and church groups to serve some of the pressing, physical, and spiritual needs of individuals in the Canton community.
the above mentioned activities help facilitate the overall mission of
IHS, which is to proclaim the good news of Christ (Matt. 28:1 9-20; 1
Cor. 1 5:3-4) and demonstrate Christ's love by helping with the real
felt needs of individuals (Matt. 22:38-48; Gal. 6:9-10).
Churches can support this ministry through donations and by providing volunteers for the activities and programs that ihs offers. all inquiries should be directed to rev. jasper bacon, the executive director of in his steps ministries at the address, fax, or telephone listed below:
Executive Director, Rev. Jasper L Bacon . Post Office Box 827 . Canton, MS 39046 (601) 859-5708 (Office) . (60!) 859-5709 (Fax) . firstname.lastname@example.org (Email)
CARING FOR OUR COMMUNITIES: THIRD IN A FIVE-PART SERIES
"We have big plans for these kids. I just believe we're going to be able to raise them up."
-- the Rev. Jasper Bacon
By Sherry Lucas
CANTON—The walk up the stairs to the second-floor offices of In His Steps Ministries on the Square is a steep climb, not unlike the real-life one facing children, youth and families the organization serves.
Mention the well-worn steps, the clamor that a dozen-plus rambunctious kids must make as they scramble up them daily and the Rev. Jasper Bacon beams. It sounds like joy to his ears.
Bacon, 45, is founder and executive director of In His Steps, a Christian nonprofit that uses specialized ministries to impact lives in the community, from academically and socially challenged kids to juvenile offenders to mission-minded church and college groups to families and the elderly.
If a barrier exists, Bacon's reward is showing folks the banister that helps them pull themselves past it. The mission is to demon-strate Christ's love by helping individuals' real needs.
The Canton native and his wife, Carolyn, started In His Steps Ministries in 1994, and it has grown organically since, spreading to meet needs where it found them.
As a volunteer with Madison County Youth Court, he saw an opportunity to take the gospel to youth who were locked up—-a traumatic but key time that could make them more open to the message.
"I noticed they really had a hunger for someone who would come along beside them, love them, put their arms around them. I found the image being portrayed was more of a facade," Bacon said. "These boys were hurting."
As he befriended them, the facade would drop. Counseling and Bible studies spread to Rankin, Hinds, Yazoo and Scott counties, reaching boys in up to 11 counties. "These are opportunities to challenge these young men on their direction in life." Bacon also speaks frequently at Oakley Training School.
Intervention led to prevention. "I was working with older kids, already in trouble. I wanted to start the SPASE (Spiritual Physical Academic Social Emotional) program for younger ones to keep them out of the system," Bacon said.
The after-school and summer enrichment program began with a group of 16 challenged second-graders, with the idea of tracking them through 12th grade. A strong foundation would be instilled with tutoring, character building, motivation, devotionals and recreation.
"We have big plans for these kids," Bacon said. "I just believe we're going to be able to raise them up."
Ask kids about it and "fun" is the answer. "It's fun because you get to get on the computer, you learn new things," said Montravious Reed, 10.
"You can get on computers, read, look at the books. It's inspiring.... It's like your family and friends everywhere at IHS. That's why I love it," said Kejuan Hawkins, 11.
And they love Bacon, Annie Whitehead, who directs the SPASE program, said. "When he comes into the classroom area just to say hello, their faces light up. ...It's just like Santa Claus walked in the room.
"They want to give him a high-five. That makes their day."
"He just saw a need for children, something better than the streets," said LouElla Allen of Canton, one of the certified teachers in the SPASE program who has seen kids'academic performance and behavior improve.
"You know, it almost seems to come easy to Jasper," said Andy Brown, 27, of Clinton, one of 10 men who volunteer with Bacon as a mentor to boys out of tri-county area detention centers. "He commands their respect. From when Jasper walks in the room, the boys' attitude changes. They're... more positive. I wish I had the same gift."
One Saturday a month, they meet with boys they've ministered to in youth detention centers. They gather in a church gym in Brandon for recre-ation and mentoring. Some told friends, who showed up to shoot hoops. "It's not free," Bacon said, chuckling. "If they're going to play basketball, they've got to listen to the gospel message."
Bacon accepted Christ when he was 16 years old, a conversion that tied into his calling. Before then, "My understanding of salvation growing up was church membership and water baptism."
Several years later, playing football at Alabama A&M, he saw others in the same predicament, fellow athletes and other young adults who equated salvation with church membership. "It was there where God burdened my heart with lost people... these people who were spiritually blind."
For them, "It was a Sunday-only kind of religion. That all burdened my heart, that lack of understanding of what it meant to be a Christian.
"God wanted me to take gospel in a full-time way to people who were lost." Bacon transferred to Wheaton College, a Chicago-area Christian liberal arts college. He returned to Mississippi in 1985.
Bacon's In His Steps is about more than youth. "The whole idea is to be able to minister to the whole family, starting with the kids and then allowing that to be a door into the whole family, mainly moms and dads."
Additional components include short-term mission opportunities for individuals and church groups to serve pressing needs in Canton, working together across racial lines for community development.
Since Bacon has been back in Mississippi, through IHS and the former church where he pastored, "We've raised 150-plus roofs for the elderly and single parents," he said. He wants to peg local groups and volunteers to get involved. Amazing how groups travel across the country for missions, he said, with so many opportunities just down the street.
In His Steps Ministries' next step is a big one, building on a 15-acre site about a mile from the Square in Canton starting this summer. The larger site will allow marital and family enrichment classes and expanded educational services.
Bacon also teaches several adult evening classes at Belhaven College, including "The Bible and Racial Issues," team-taught with Ray Easley, Wesley Seminary vice president for academic affairs.
"Mixed in with all these," Bacon said, "is a strong burden to see people come together in the body of Christ." And walk in his steps.
year we were blessed to have Jasper Bacon, along with his wife and
two children, join us for several days in May. This was a wonderful
time for many in our church body to meet them in person, as well as
reconnect. Jasper was a wonderful element to our Missions Month of
May. We continue to be excited about the growth and development of
this ministry – not only by its physical growth as they build
campus on their property, but also by the fact that churches local to
HIS are involved. Relationships continue to develop each year by our
group that goes each summer. This year’s trip ventured into
territory by sending part of the group to Biloxi, Mississippi to work
with Hurricane Katrina relief in rebuilding homes. This was truly a
blessing. Further details regarding this year’s Mississippi
trip can be found here.
Jasper Bacon writes:
"Thank you for all the calls and emails inquiring about how you can help with the needs of displaced families from New Orleans, Louisiana. Indeed, many lives have been devastated with the lost of family, friends, and personal belongings. In most cases, these families have nothing or only the bear minimum of necessities.
“You can HELP in several ways. First, financial contributions will help families with their necessities until they can receive federal assistance or get employment. Any donations may be made out to In His Steps Ministries with a note indicating the purpose. Secondly, we need clothing of all sizes. Women and children clothing are especially needed. Individuals wishing to make donations of clothing should first contact the IHS office at (601) 859-5708 or email email@example.com. Specifics will be given on the sizes and items needed.
“Again, thank you for your willingness to help with these pressing needs. May God bless you.”
Rev. Jasper Bacon