Best practices are specific, discrete ministry activities that measurably increase program scale, effectiveness, and/or efficiency, and can be replicated by other National Ministries. Best practices should be supported by evidence (data).
When looking for volunteers to work in prison ministry, the church should be a strong ally. The call to minister to the prisoner is specifically given to the church. The ministry doesn’t rely on church volunteers because they are a captive or easy audience; the ministry relies on church volunteers because they connect with the heart of Jesus and the ministry of reconciliation given to Christ’s followers. Your ministry and the local church are starting from a common ground. Benefits include:
It’s important to engage the people who are truly interested in being a part of prison ministry, because the time and resources you invest in them are exhaustible assets.
1. Human Resources
Relationships require time — not only to build, but to maintain. When planning time, consider:
Recently, I have been thinking about something Isaiah was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write, and that we repeat often at this time of year: ‘Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.’ What really strikes me is that all around the world right now, this is happening. Every time a person comes to believe and follow the Lord Jesus, it becomes ‘even more’ true. And no more so than in prisons all over the world.
And you are enabling this to happen. It is a profound and wonderful thing that God chooses to work through people like you and me. It would be fair to say this is His intention in order to strengthen and mature his sons and daughters in their faith, and in doing so extend his rulership across all peoples and nations throughout time. And this is where you, our volunteers, are so important and vital in our life-giving work. Not only because of the gifts and talents that you bring, but also because the number of ‘hands and feet’ on the ground who are meeting the Lord Jesus inside the prison walls (Matthew 25) get increased exponentially. The PFI family has always valued, affirmed, and relied heavily on our volunteers. Nothing has changed. We value each one of you in your God-given calling.
The Bible talks to us about never tiring of doing good to everyone, especially those in the household of faith (Galatians). Be assured that when we serve prisoners, their families, and victims, they reside in either one of these categories. And in this way, you fulfill this exhortation from Paul that is 2000 years old, but just as relevant.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
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