About RTF

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide Christ-centered hope and healing through biblically-based, chaplain led, volunteer jail ministries.

Our vision is for every incarcerated person to experience new life in Christ and develop healthy family, church, and community relationships.

Our values are Compassion, Dependence, Equipping, God’s Word, Hospitality, Integrity, and Kingdom Diversity.

  • Compassion: Restoring broken & hurting people.
  • Dependence: Prayerfully relying on God & the body of Christ.
  • Equipping: For greater capacity & empowerment in the Holy Spirit.
  • God’s Word: Revealed in Jesus, scripture, & creation.
  • Hospitality: Service with humility & grace.
  • Integrity: Stewardship of resources & relationships.
  • Kingdom Diversity: God sovereignly works in & through many kinds of people.

Leadership

  • Nate DeWard
    Executive Director
  • Scott Hall
    Regional Director
  • Linda Haveman
    Program Director
  • Erika Mariglia
    Development Leader
  • Kenny Hovis
    Regional Leader
  • Rick Eschenburg
    Mission Advancement Leader
  • Aaron Lewis
    Assistant Regional Leader
  • Robert Frarey
    Assistant Regional Leader

Board & Trustees

Officers

David Ellis- President

Retired School Administrator

Herb Lantinga - Vice President

Board Chairman of Notions Marketing

Dan Helmholdt- Treasurer

CPA/CEO Helmholdt & Co.

Matthew Antkoviak- Secretary

Attorney with Antkoviak & Antkoviak PC

Trustees

Kristen Aidif

Owner, Grand Rapids Event Management

Robert Ellis

Business Consultant

Larry Stelma

Retired Sheriff

Nathan DeWard

Executive Director

Partnerships

Reach the Forgotten Jail Ministry partners with Our Daily Bread to distribute a version of the popular Our Daily Bread devotional that was specially designed and curated for men and women in jail. The needs of people in jail are different because of the stress and sense of hopelessness that many people experience during incarceration. This partnership helps restore peace and hope.

Crossroads Prison Ministries and Reach the Forgotten Jail Ministry have had a long standing relationship as we both began our work in the Kent County Correctional Facility. In 2020, RTF began a pilot partnership with Crossroads to begin using their correspondence Bible courses and mentoring program. This partnership provides mutual discipleship for mentors and students.

Reach the Forgotten Jail Ministry began using the Life Recovery Bible in jails in 2018 after realizing that men and women in jails need a readable version of the Bible that helps them apply the truth of Scripture and reflect on how addictions prevent people from living an abundant life in Christ and engage the recovery process from a biblical perspective. This partnership frees inmates from the bondage of addiction through God’s Word.

FAQ

Reach the Forgotten Jail Ministry focuses on ministering to inmates in Michigan county jails.

In Michigan, every county has a jail that is operated by the local sheriff's department correctional staff. A jail is a place where inmates are staying until they are sentenced or if they are sentenced for less than one year for their crime. Prisons, on the other hand, are for inmates that have been sentenced for a year or more.

This distinction between jails and prisons is important because inmates that are in jail face a lot of uncertainty. Many of them anxiously wait for their legal process to unfold so they know how long they will be locked up. Those who do know their sentence and remain in jail are often thinking about what they will do when they get out of jail. In jail ministry, we reach people that are often at their lowest point. Many inmates cry out to God and appreciate having a chaplain, volunteers, and God's word to help them get their life back on track.

Reach the Forgotten is a multi-denominational Christian ministry that is made up of Christian churches from local communities. We refer service for inmates that request clergy support from other faiths.

The best way is to get in touch with the RTF chaplain from your county.