Jim & Carol Carpenter
- Our Local
- Our Reach
- Our Self
Jim and Carol Carpenter serve in southeastern Grand Rapids, Michigan, an urban area that houses many “at-risk” African-American children and teens in a high-crime area. Due to changes in the community, those living in poverty struggle to find housing, and many rely on government financial assistance for daily needs.
For twenty years the Carpenters’ ministry has been serving African-American families almost exclusively. Recently, Hispanic families have begun to move into the neighborhood. While many local families do not attend church, the Christian faith is welcomed in this community, and some parents are eager to have their children attend the outreach.
Due to the financial distress in this area of Grand Rapids, there is a great need for employment and family education in the community. Local children and teens also need a place where they can safely hang out and learn, especially during the summer.
After seeing the need in their community, the Carpenters began serving with, and now direct, Eastown Ministries, an outreach to local children and teens with an emphasis on evangelism and applying scripture to life experiences. The ministry provides a safe place for children to spend time with caring volunteers while receiving attention and love. There are weekly programs for different age groups, and times for fun activities like a game of basketball or craft time are also available after the Bible lessons.
“We meet weekly and have various teachers and role models bring Bible and life lessons,” Jim writes. “We also mentor young people, walking with them in life. We help them know Christ better through our example, teaching, and love for them.”
In addition to Eastown Ministries, Jim and Carol also study the Bible weekly with a dozen area adults. The study has been a source of encouragement for the seniors who make up the majority of the class.
Jim serves as a chaplain and ordained minister, entering the local jail and detention centers to mentor the local youth who have gotten into trouble. He is also a victim advocate with the county sheriff department. Carol is full-time in the ministry, but also serves as an on-call nurse one or two days a week at a local nursing home. She also passes out over a hundred “blessings” and verses to staff at the time clock once a week.
The Carpenters have served as InFaith field staff since 1998.
Jim has a Masters in Religious Education from Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary. He is ordained, and serves as a chaplain with the Walker Police Department in a suburb of Grand Rapids. Jim has also served as a victim advocate in the Kent County Sheriff’s Department for two years.
Carol is an LPN, and serves as an on-call charge nurse in a local nursing home. The Carpenters have three sons and seven grandchildren.
Jim and Carol were called as young newlyweds to full-time Christian ministry. They served as missionaries in Haiti for one year with Baptist Mid Missions before beginning ministry in the United States. They are endeavoring to pass the torch to younger visionaries and become mentors to keep local outreaches vibrant and effective for the glory of God.