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Inspiring Prison Ministry Ideas

Prison ministries take the church behind bars to minister to a captivated crowd. However, inspiring, connecting and making a real difference in the lives of the inmates requires a ministry that understands the interest and abilities of its volunteers, and the needs of the prisoners. Listed are a few ways your church can serve in a Prison Ministry, to not only meet the human needs they have, but ultimately, share Jesus and meet their spiritual needs through discipleship.

Read with Me Program
A women's groups in Kansas started a program at Topeka Correctional Facility that allows 40 to 50 jailed
mothers to tape themselves reading books. They then send the tapes to their children as birthday gifts.
Similar efforts are under way in Pennsylvania, Colorado and Tennessee. Groups in Philadelphia
experimented with a videotaping program for a women's prison. The "Read with Me" program in
Topeka traces its roots to 1997. Women from First United Methodist in Lawrence, Kan., shop carefully
for age-appropriate books.
Organizers of the "Read with Me" recorded-books programs claim dual benefits. The recordings bridge
the gap between a mother in jail and children living without their mom, while increasing literacy among
inmates.

Dad and Me Programs
In Tennessee, churches in Nashville and Franklin put together a "Dad And Me" reading program at the
Davidson County Sheriff's Office Criminal Justice Center. The churches donate books and provide snacks
and toys for monthly visits between men in the program and their children.

Bible Study Groups
Some churches choose to immerse themselves more fully by going inside prisons to lead retreats, Bible
study groups and other face-to-face ministry.

Partnering with Established Prison Ministries
In the United States, there are many prison ministries already established and ministering to the prison
population. These ministries are always looking for volunteers and supporters both in prayer and
financially. Listed are a few prison ministries that serve prisoners worldwide. They also show how you
and your church can serve in a prison ministry from a face-to-face ministry, to baking cookies or sending
uplifting notes and cards, to Bible-study mentoring, to supporting a Christian prison newspaper.

Kairos Prison Ministry
Kairos, a worldwide prison ministry, sends cross-denominational teams to conducted five-day retreats
with inmates. These teams bring a home-made treat like cookies for the inmates who come to the
retreat. To achieve this, Kairos partners with local churches to bake cookies, upwards to 200 to 600

dozen. Team members say the inmates appreciate the simple benefits of the ministry: cookies,
conversation and sometimes home-cooked meals. The Kairos teams encourage people who are not
comfortable inside a prison to bake cookies, pray or make cards in Sunday school classes with messages
for the inmates.

Crossroads Prison Ministries

Crossroads connects prisoners with mentors in Christ-centered relationships so that lives, prisons and
churches are restored through the Gospel.
Crossroads mentors give of their time to connect with men and women in prison as they review
students’ Bible study lessons and answer their questions. They write encouraging letters and pray for
them. They share stories from their own lives and help their students see how God is speaking to them
through His Word. In the process, both lives are transformed through studying God’s Word together.
Crossroad Prison Ministry works in partnership with Challenge Literature Fellowship USA (Challenge
Prison Newspaper).

Challenge Prison Newspaper Ministry (Challenge Literature Fellowship USA)
Challenge Prison newspaper contains testimonies and stories from Christians whose life resembles the
lives of the inmates reading their story. A story that includes finding grace, forgiveness and freedom
through the power of Jesus Christ. This is an astonishing revelation for many who think that Jesus would
not (could not) forgive them for all the destruction and pain they may have caused.
Challenge Prison ministry’s vision is to provide support to prison chaplains and prison ministries. Since
Prison Chaplains and ministries are overwhelmed in their ministry (some prisons have no prison
ministry), the Challenge Prison newspaper wants to come alongside the Chaplain to help carry the load.
The Challenge Prison newspaper not only gets into the prison, but into every cell and ultimately every
prisoner’s heart.
Challenge’s mission is to share the Gospel with those imprisoned. As of July 2018, the Challenge Prison
newspapers is in over 285 prisons throughout the United States and Canada. In 2017, over 800 prisoners
responded to the Good News message in the newspaper; and to those prisoners who respond in writing,
their letters are sent to Crossroads Prison Ministries for mentoring and discipleship.

Information courtesy of:
Read with Me Programs
Dad and Me Programs
Challenge Literature Fellowship USA
Crossroads Prison Ministries
Karios Prison Ministry

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