Jim Hayes

Jim Hayes welcomes a group of once-homeless men to the regular Friday morning prayer service at the Door of Faith, a residential and rehabilitation facility for men on Des Moines’ south side. He leads with a prayer: “Our health comes from you, our hope comes from you, our life comes from you.”

Some men read along; some have eyes intently on Hayes as he reads the Gospel. He closes his Bible and knocks on the podium. “Bump, bump, bump,” he says. “Things that go bump in the night. Speed bumps in life. The road is a bumpy one, but it’s not all that scary.”

Hayes, associate dean and director of Simpson’s Center for Vocation and Integrative Learning (CVIL), continues by relating the Gospel reading to the men’s experiences on the streets and during their recovery here. A man in a Hawaiian-print shirt sits in the back row, crossing his legs and following along.

“I’m done with my required service attendance,” the man declares. “But I keep coming back ‘cause he’s so good. He never misses a beat. He’s right on point.”

Resident Jeff McCulley said: “Jim is a priceless resource. He offers the gentlemen of the Door of Faith a look at Scripture not only in depth of meaning, but in context and application as well.”

As part of his initial undertaking as director of CVIL, Hayes surveyed the nonprofit scene in the Des Moines area looking for partnership opportunities for Simpson.

In addition to building up these partnerships and growing Simpson’s service base, Hayes found outlets for his own desire to give back — through Big Brothers Big Sisters, Hope Ministries (Door of Faith) and Hospice of Central Iowa. He also preaches at a variety of Christian-based churches on weekends.

“It’s very refreshing to come here,” Hayes said at the conclusion of his service at the Door of Faith. “It allows me to be part of the community of Des Moines. There are a lot of people with fractured lives. There are a lot of colorful stories.”

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