(BRAZIL) – Leaders of the Indiana Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch for future law enforcement officers, at-risk kids, young witnesses, and victims of crime have named Pastor Phil Ping of Indianapolis as the not-for-profit’s volunteer senior chaplain.
Ping, a minister at Joyful Manna Ministries, will head inter-denominational faith programming and coordinate personal items wanted and needed by teens attending overnight visits, weekend retreats, and post-COVID weeklong leadership academies at the 62-acre training retreat.
A U.S. Army veteran and graduate of the Colorado Theological Seminary, Ping is both a successful business and faith leader in Central Indiana. He founded, owned and operated Ping Tree Service, Indiana’s largest family-owned business of its type. He also established Joyful Manna Baptist Fellowship, which features a daycare ministry, a memorial legacy to his late wife. Ping’s missionary work has taken him to Eastern Europe and Africa, where he helped build and repair wells, hospitals and schools. Ping developed a Spanish-speaking ministry in Greater Indianapolis and has been instrumental in establishing the Chaplain’s Fund at the Indiana Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch.
“Our Youth Ranch is a non-profit organization and not a government agency, so folks can find comfort about any question of separation of church and state,” said former Marion County Sheriff John Layton, board president of ISYR. “Our charitable mission is to help Indiana parents and grandparents raise better kids with safer futures. Pastor Ping will be key to our success.”
Ping will organize a group of statewide, volunteer faith leaders for the Youth Ranch from all major denominations across the state, Layton said.
“Sheriffs’ experiences in hosting local and regional respect-for-law camps teach us religion is already an important part of many young leaders’ lives. With other teens, faith is something that is missing but sometimes wanted. Like everything at the Youth Ranch, a teen’s decision to join in prayer or not is a personal choice and opportunity that parents and guardians will be made aware of beforehand, may influence and help decide,” ISYR Vice President and Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel added.
Ping has agreed to help ISYR seek financial and in-kind donations of religious books teens may take home for themselves and to share with family if interested – Bibles, Torahs, Books of Mormon, among others.
Additionally, the volunteer chaplains’ office will provide personal items needed by Youth Ranch visitors – toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, t-shirts, socks, shorts, and sometimes safe and properly fitting shoes, said Allen County Sheriff David Gladieux, ISYR’s treasurer.