About the Keys
Rev. Gene Purtle officially began “The Keys are at the Cross Prison Ministires, Inc.” in March of 2002. After several years of involvement in the jail ministry of his local church, discipleship, Shepherd School of Ministry, and leadership development he was ordained and sent out as a Missionary to Prisons.
Although never spending any time incarcerated himself, Gene spent his years from early teens until thirty-two years old heavily involved in drug and alcohol abuse. He accepted Christ in 1981 at the age of twenty-two but did not get grounded in the Word of God or a local church. Gene soon drifted back into the lifestyle he was familiar with. In 1990 through much trouble and sorrow, God brought Gene to a point of decision and changed his life once and for all.
Through the 1990’s Gene grew in his relationship with Christ and his Word and got involved in a municipal jail ministry. God broke his heart for those he ministered to and began to bring much fruit. The ministry grew and doors opened until it became clear to Gene and his Pastors that God had called him to that ministry in a full time fashion. In 2001 Gene began preparing himself and his family for the field. He left a job of just under twenty-five years and now operates “The Keys” with the help of many volunteers and the financial support of many individuals and churches. The Keys team has been very actively involved in ministry to inmates in several prisons and jails in northwest Missouri ever since.
As of February 2013 Gene is the full-time Chaplain of the Jackson County Detention Center and the Regional Correctional Center in downtown Kansas City, MO. He oversees all religious programming for the 800-1000 inmates of those two facilities. This position is an extension of The Keys ministry and is not compensated by Jackson County or the city of Kansas City. Although he has had to limit his involvement in many of the other prisons he has served in for years, other members of The Keys team continue to operate regularly in seven facilities in north-western Missouri. We do church services, one on one counseling, Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University” classes, motorcycle events, and also facilitate some Christian rock concerts in these jails and prisons.
The Keys has been involved in many outreaches through the years which try to help offenders and their families on the outside as well. They operated a “Career Assistance Program” for seven years helping ex-felons find employment and many other resources they needed. They continue to promote and be involved in Angel Tree each year by recruiting local churches to help the children of the incarcerated along with other reentry initiatives at times.
Rev. Purtle’s goals include partnering with churches and continuing to initiate works in Missouri prisons and jails that take prison ministry beyond evangelism alone. He desires to see men and women begin to “…learn, love, and live the Word of God.” His desire is to disciple men and women through teaching, preaching, and counseling to grow in their understanding of the Word and begin to see what a biblical walk with Christ really means. He also looks to partner with ministries and organizations who deal with reentry issues so that there might be a support system for those who leave the institutions and return to society determined to succeed. Please pray for “The Keys” that God will give us open doors, favor in the institutions, and wisdom in how to proceed.