When Charles W. “Chuck” Colson entered the Maxwell Correctional Facility in July 1974, he did so as a humbled man. The former special prosecutor for President Richard Nixon had pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice during the ongoing Watergate scandal investigation, and was preparing to serve a one-to-three-year sentence in the Montgomery, Alabama, facility. He went in with a Bible and a willingness to follow God wherever He led.
As it turns out, that would lead him back into prison … again, and again, and again.
It was during that seven month sentence in Alabama that Chuck heard the call to minister to prisoners and their families. And it was this call that continually drew him back behind bars to talk with the men and women there about the promise of new life in Christ Jesus. Sharing his own story of transformation, Chuck proclaimed this Good News with the same zeal that once earned him the nickname of “Richard Nixon’s hatchet man.” It was a call that took him back into prison time and again, including spending every Easter with incarcerated men and women up to his passing in 2012.
Today (April 21) is the three-year anniversary of Chuck Colson’s death. And even as we reflect on his life and celebrate the work that God accomplished through His servant Chuck, we acknowledge that there is much work left to do.
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few,” Jesus tells his disciples. “Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers out into His harvest.”
Today, there are 2.3 million men and women behind bars. And behind those numbers are many more—spouses attempting to hold a family together; children longing to have a mother or father return to them; extended families and friends taking on additional responsibilities in an attempt to break the cycle of crime that all too often runs from generation to generation. These are the lives Chuck Colson lived to serve, and they are the people that Prison Fellowship seeks to reach with the Gospel.
If you would like to be a part of the living legacy that began with Chuck in that Alabama jail cell, then join Prison Fellowship as we continue to live out Chuck’s vision. There are many opportunities to serve with and support the ministry Chuck founded nearly 40 years ago. If you would like to learn more about how you can be a part of this legacy, please visit www.prisonfellowship.org/get-involved.