Keys Ministry was founded in the fall of 1987 by a retired pastor. He had originally planned to spend his retirement years with his grandchildren and his hobbies, but felt he could not ignore the many hurting people he saw in the society around him. As homosexuality became more acceptable in the culture, he sensed God calling him to provide an opportunity for same-sex attracted people to reach out for help to overcome their issues. While militant gay groups were focused on gaining more rights, he recognized that some gay people, disillusioned and unhappy with their lifestyles, were open to pursuing redemption in Christ.
At that time, few resources were available to help same-sex attracted (ssa) people overcome their temptations. So he prayed, “I don’t know how. I have no materials. If You want me to do this, You have to provide.” He then sat down and began to write the 40 Keys lessons, using the Bible as his primary textbook. He described it as an inspiration: “I don’t believe the program is my program; it’s the Lord’s.”
He then put a small ad in a local paper. In spite of the fact he lived in a small town in a remote part of the Midwest, someone responded. Then another. Soon a small group had formed; then other groups formed. Soon Keys had become a 40-hour a week project, from which he received no salary. In addition to working the program with groups and individuals, he set up display tables at church conferences to make the Keys program available to pastors and lay leaders. All donations went directly into ministry costs.
The materials were written primarily for ssa males, and the founding director worked with approximately 100 men before he began to receive calls from women. The current director is the second woman with whom he worked. Prison ministry volunteers spread the word about Keys, and inmates began to contact him. When Keys Ministry got a computer and a website, it became available globally, with contacts coming from six continents.
In the fall of 2005, the founding director experienced a series of strokes. No longer able to continue the ministry, he handed all his materials over to the current director, telling her that she could do whatever she wanted with the ministry.
Shortly thereafter, large numbers of prison inmates began contacting the ministry for help. Many were minor-attracted (ma) sex offenders who wondered if a program for ssa people could help them also. Transsexuals (tx) also began to seek help. Between the summer of 2009 and early 2011, the materials were re-written to include not only ssa males, but also maa’s (minor-attracted adults), tx people, lesbians, and also to reflect more up-to-date research that has been done on ex-ssa’s.
Then in the summer of 2011, the director began writing Handbook chapters to go with each Keys lesson. This project is in response to numerous pastors, missionaries, lay leaders, ministry volunteers, campus ministries, etc., expressing a need for such materials. As of this writing (fall of 2021), the Handbook is still an on-going project.
This ministry belongs to Jesus.
It is founded on the Word of God and driven by prayer.
May Keys Ministry be used according to God’s will.