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CLANK CLICK CLANK CLICK CLANK CLICK ! The doors and the gates slam shut the locks click behind me. How did I get myself into this nine straight months of weekly visits to a prison. Im sure that many of you out there have experienced all or a part of these questions. My introduction to prison ministry began as a member of a six week follow up team of a Bill Glass weekend. After the follow-up, a group of us were asked by the inmates if we would continue the weekly bible study and we did. For different reasons members of the team dropped out until I was left alone. Why continue; just quit? If you are currently doing some type of prison ministry you have or will see the Holy Spirit change lives right in front of you. Knowing that you are Gods hands, eyes, ears, and mouth you here on earth you stick and press on.
Those of you who havent yet experience this ministry or are not sure you are called to it, I believe the best way to see is to go in on some crusade weekend; Bill Glass, Prison Fellowship or other. Just commit to a specific amount of time. Pray about it, experience it, and pray some more. Prison ministry is not for everyone, but how else will you know, if you dont try it out.
I think that the greatest value of the free world volunteer is not the specific lesson given, though that is important and should be well prepared, it is the presence of a persistent brother in Christ who comes to share Jesus with them. Everyone you meet in the chapel has had some exposure to Christianity, but they have not been able to use it to keep them out of trouble. Most of them have not had a good/law abiding man to model their lives after. No living example of how to apply what they have been learned. Remember you are Christ to them.
A few pointers will help your experience a fulfilling event. Do not look down upon them. Remember they are a child of God too. Always show your happiest self remembering that you are Gods eyes, ears, mouth and hands; be happy. Do not show any favoritism to one or a few. You must be the same to all. Do not take sides against anyone inmate, group, or authoritys. The inmates will try to convince you that they shouldnt be there, that they are abused by the guards, and they dont get their share. Remember that they are there for a reason. Do not give them anything without proper clearance of the authorities. I know of one brother who almost loss the right of going in because he gave a man a pencil. Do not allow physical contact of any kind. But most of all, do show Christs love and caring. This is a very abbreviated list and if you wish to continue in prison ministry you should avail yourself to good training, most prison systems require and offer training.
If you are now doing any kind of prison ministry; prison bible study, jail, rehab, or parole work; I would like to hear about it. Your experiences, thoughts, and needs will be well received. Please write or email me at:
Thomas McKeand Jr 401 S. Brazosport Blvd. #279 Freeport, Texas 77541, email@example.com
Brothers have been conducting a prison ministry at the Retrieve Prison in South Texas since 1985.
Ninety-year-old Oliver Osborn has been involved in prison ministry at the Retrieve Prison in South Texas since 1985.