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Author Topic: Jail Ministry?  (Read 2151 times)

Offline me again

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Jail Ministry?
« on: December 02, 2014, 03:26:41 PM »
Has anyone here ever been involved in a jail ministry?  :o

I'm getting involved for the first time. I swore that I'd never do it, but then I saw an advertisement for it in a church bulletin that used the scripture Matthew 25:36,37,40 and the Holy Spirit flashed across my mind, "Do it." It was most definitely a command, but I ignored the prompting and set it aside for good. I then wondered what kind of man I am to lay aside the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Am I lazy? Disobedient? So time elapsed and then...

My wife said, "Hey, did you see that they need volunteers for the jail ministry? You should do it." It was a second command from the Holy Spirit. Alas, now the Holy Spirit was speaking through my wife -- and I don't need to be told three times, so I participated for the first time last Friday night.

In the past, I have been involved in home-bound ministry with disabled people and it is work. When you get mixed up in the personal needs of needy people, things can get complicated. Buy hey, if the Lord wants me in a jail ministry, then nothing can stop me. I'll do it.

Sooooo have you ever been involved in a jail ministry and what was your experience?
"So then, stand firm and hold to the traditions :o which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter" (2 Thessalonians 2:15).

Offline John Oscar

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Re: Jail Ministry?
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2014, 08:14:21 AM »
I've had experience both with the local county jail, and the state prison system.

Kenosha County Jail (both sites)- church service is an earned right, so the prisoners I was performing a church service for were either low level offenders, or medium level offenders who through good behavior earned the right to attend church.  Usually we did three services for about 20-30 people apiece.  They marched them in, sat them down, and then locked me in with them.  We did worship via a CD player with song sheets, and then I'd preach a repentance heavy Gospel message.  I had many decisions, but since we could not follow up, I'm not sure how many stuck.  They women were the best ones to do in my opinion- not as hardened as the men.
Cynicism would try to get me down about doing it thinking (as the guards would mention)-
The are only coming to get you to show up at the hearing and give them a good word
These are just jail house conversions- they'll be back on the street doing the same thing
They are playing you to get you to do something for them

Either way, I felt it was a great ministry to be involved in.  I did it twice a month on average until the head chaplain retired (a RC nun) and hired a Muslim in her place ("after all, it's all the same god"-her quote), and all of the Christian ministers were promptly told no more ministry for "security reasons".  Muslim clerics aren't an issue apparently as I know a few and they are allowed in.  Okay, rant over...

State Prison System- be ready to be treated like an inmate in segregation by the guards.  With the county system, we were searched (patted down) and asked to empty pockets, mostly for our own safety that we weren't bringing in things that could be used as weapons.  State prison was another animal entirely.  The guards were very demeaning to clergy, openly made fun of them and disrespected them in front of inmates, and did everything they could to disrupt services.  I was at both Waupun and Fox Lake and I'd have to say I wouldn't waste my time because of the guards behavior.
Saying that, Jackson County correctional is pretty close to me.  I know a few of the guards from working the hospital.  I'll ask them about it since I already have a relationship with them.  I'd like to get involved again...
Perhaps Florida is better...
John O


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Re: Jail Ministry?
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2014, 09:38:02 AM »
  I had many decisions, but since we could not follow up, I'm not sure how many stuck. 

Yes, that has crossed my mind. We plant the word (or show kindness to Jesus [He is in the prisoner, so to speak]) and then the Holy Spirit is the one who moves their heart, possibly immediately or hours, days, weeks or years later.

The are only coming to get you to show up at the hearing and give them a good word
These are just jail house conversions- they'll be back on the street doing the same thing[/u]
They are playing you to get you to do something for them

That reminds me of Mark 4:14-20, specifically verses 18 and 19.

State Prison System- be ready to be treated like an inmate in segregation by the guards.  With the county system, we were searched (patted down) and asked to empty pockets, mostly for our own safety that we weren't bringing in things that could be used as weapons.  State prison was another animal entirely.  The guards were very demeaning to clergy, openly made fun of them and disrespected them in front of inmates, and did everything they could to disrupt services.  I was at both Waupun and Fox Lake and I'd have to say I wouldn't waste my time because of the guards behavior.

Holy cow!


  I'd like to get involved again...

For many years, every time the big metal door would clang behind me, I got the e-bee-gee-bees and was very uncomfortable. It was dirty and had a sense of uncleanness that is hard to describe. The behaviors of the inmates were very "street level" (it's hard to describe to someone who has never seen or experienced it) and those people always seem incorrigible, at least on the surface.

and yet...

On judgement day, Jesus rewards his people for visiting him (via the prisoners) in prison. Apparently Jesus knows something that we don't.  :o
"So then, stand firm and hold to the traditions :o which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter" (2 Thessalonians 2:15).

 

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