Local handymen, ‘Off the Chain for Jesus’

As a servant of Christ, former horse jockey and maintenance worker, James McDonald was fired for witnessing to others on the job. But he saw that there was a great need for handyman services in South Florida, and the Lord gave him the idea to combine his physical and spiritual tools to reach people for Jesus.

So, McDonald, his mentor Lester Lemke, who has been a prison minister for 25 years, and Minister Buddy Malcomb founded Off the Chain 4 Jesus Ministries (OTC4J), a unique mix of mission and repair work.

OTC4J offers handyman services to the public on a “donation only” basis, unheard of in this day and age. From fixing fans and faucets to screens and sprinklers, they do almost anything and without a minimum donation price.

Some of his workers are recruited from Faith Farm, a rehabilitative center and shelter which houses about 165 men, many of whom join the program to deal with substance abuse. The men go through a nine-month orientation that teaches them the Word of God, gives them daily tasks and trains them how to survive without alcohol or drugs.

McDonald says he came up with the name “Off the Chain 4 Jesus,” because he used to feel “bound to the chain of sin but now is free in Christ.”

When OTC4J first began, McDonald did not know how they were going to fund the business, but they’ve learned to rely on the Lord to provide.

OTC4J Ministries stands upon the hope found in Philippians 4:13, “Our God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” and Romans 8:28: “We know that all things work together for the good to them who love God, and who are called according to His purpose.”

After a little advertising and word-of-mouth, James and his crew volunteered to go to homes or churches. Their clients usually pay for the materials themselves and then only pay what they can afford or are willing to give for the work. Looking to expand into Dade and Palm Beach counties, McDonald’s main goal is to mobilize fellow Christian workers to help others and glorify God.

When he’s doing handyman work, God will usually give McDonald an opportunity to share the Gospel. Then he will ask his clients if they know about Jesus and what would happen if they were to die today. If the clients are interested in learning more, he has been known to invite them to his house for dinner. Having a wife who loves to cook comes in mighty handy for this handyman, enabling him to get to know his guests better and minister to them.

After the donations from OTC4J are used to pay McDonald and his workers, the funds go to different ministries, and McDonald hopes to one day use the funds to build or renovate a home for men trying to get back on their feet.

OTC4J is located at 7850 Kimberly Blvd. in North Lauderdale, Fla. For more information, call 954-597-1985.

handymen:  James McDonald (left) started Off the Chain 4 Jesus Ministries to help men get back on their feet. Pete Demkow (right) is James’ right hand man.

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