This winter I saw a prison leader do something that almost never happens. At a Midwest prison, where men are enrolled in a Prison Fellowship seminary-level training program, the warden allowed close to 400 prisoners to gather in the gymnasium to drink coffee, have cookies, sing, hear the Gospel, and interact with 30 volunteers.
In my time at Prison Fellowship, I’ve rarely seen 150 men brought together. For security reasons, a gathering of 400 is practically unheard of. After spending some time with the men, I asked the warden why she felt comfortable allowing it.
Her answer was simple: The men themselves, particularly those studying in the seminary-level program, would maintain order. Through them, she said, God is changing the entire prison into a place with a more calm, safe environment. Even those prisoners who do not yet believe in Jesus respect these men’s spiritual leadership to such a degree that the warden had complete confidence in allowing the event to go forward.
The correctional officers have been affected, too. Instead of yelling and blowing whistles, they treat the men with respect and care. The prison has become a better, safer place for them to work.
The Kingdom of Heaven is advancing behind prison bars! God is using friends like you, volunteers, wardens, and prisoners themselves to establish His peace, order, love, and respect for the dignity of all within jails and prisons across the country. It’s an exciting time in the history of Prison Fellowship! Learn more at www.prisonfellowship.org.