I have discovered that someone I attended school with has committed awful violent crimes and is now incarcerated. I do pray for him, but am wondering if God wants more from me. I am not sure if I have what it takes to endure something like this. I was hoping to hear from people that actually do prison ministry and get biblical advice on the why we go and who we go to, as Christians were being jailed for the gospel (as Hebrews 13:3 suggests)...this is not that, though I do know everyone needs the gospel. I am checking with my local church prison ministry team but wanted to check here first, before getting talked into it from a group that needs "bodies" for their ministry, which has happened in the past. Proverbs 15:22 Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed Thanks and God bless
ESV - 3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.
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AS a former policeman and also someone who was involved in prison ministry, I would like to share 3 very important elements of this type of ministry. From[ 2Timothy 4 ] the last letter Paul wrote from prison before being executed, this what the Holy Spirit gave me 1.- Proclaim The Message, 2.- Persist in The Mission and 3.- Patiently Minister. As this is true of all ministry but it is essential in prison ministry, for most of the people you encounter is at life's low point and is hurting and needful. Much prayer, time and determination are required to be effective. If your church group is experienced and dedicated to this ministry, then they probably have the best answers for your region. I would say seed your desire in prayer, talk with the leaders, then let The Holy Spirit guide your heart.
As a chaplain in my local jail, I am in agreement with all the above statements. The best advice I ever got was to remember that you are there for the spiritual business of the inmates. There will be many instances where they will need you to call people for them and pass information or all kinds of other business that has nothing to do with the inmate's spiritual life. Firmly following this rule keeps you on task and out of the middleman seat. God bless you as you consider this ministry. My experience is that people love or hate jail ministry there seems to be no middle ground.
First consider this. If you goal is to minister to a specific person in prison there is no guarantee that will happen unless the person joins a bible study, as nearly all such groups are voluntary. However, if you are lead by the Spirit to serve consider these scriptures: " remember those in prison, as though in prison with them" Hebrews 13:3 " I was in prison and you came to me". MT 25:36 " to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison, to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness." Isaiah 42:7 As a prison minister you are blessed with the opportunity to encourage and sustain those already in the faith and to bring the Light of Truth...the gospel to those who are sitting in spiritual darkness(true prison). It will never seem a chore to you as you serve only a blessing. At the same time the blessing your service bestows to others can have eternal consequences for many!
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