Remembering Chuck Colson

OUR FOUNDER, CHUCK COLSON

Chuck Colson, President Nixon's "hatchet man," served time in a federal prison camp where he felt led by God to honor a promise he made to remember prisoners and their families. That promise grew into the world's largest family of prison ministries.

THE LEGACY OF CHUCK COLSON

The story of our founder is a testimony to God’s grace and mercy.

In 1974, Chuck Colson, a former top aide to President Nixon, voluntarily pled guilty to obstruction of justice on a Watergate-related charge and served seven months as a new Christian in Alabama’s Maxwell Prison.

I found myself increasingly drawn to the idea that God had put me in prison for a purpose and that I should do something for those I had left behind.

In his best-selling memoir, Born Again, Chuck wrote, “I found myself increasingly drawn to the idea that God had put me in prison for a purpose and that I should do something for those I had left behind.”

Colson emerged from prison with a new mission: mobilizing the Christian Church to minister to prisoners. He founded Prison Fellowship in 1976, which has become the world’s largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families. In recognition of his work among prisoners, Colson received the prestigious Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion in 1993.

On April 21, 2012, Chuck Colson passed away. His legacy continues, however, in the work of Prison Fellowship, and in the lives of the many people his ministry has touched.


For more than 35 years, Chuck Colson, a former prisoner himself, has had a tremendous ministry reaching into prisons and jails with the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. When I get to Heaven and see Chuck again, I believe I will also see many, many people there whose lives have been transformed because of the message he shared with them.

He will be greatly missed by many, including me. I count it a privilege to have called him friend.Rev. Billy Graham, evangelist


For nearly four decades, Chuck Colson’s life and example have been a constant and necessary reminder to those of us in and out of public office of the seductions of power and the rewards of service. His famous redemption story and tireless advocacy on behalf of the marginalized and the outcast have called all of us to a deeper reflection on our lives and priorities. He lives on as a modern model of redemption and a permanent rebuttal to the cynical claim that there are no second chances in life.Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R, KY

Chuck was a great example to me and millions of others for his willingness to share so openly about his own faults and the besetting sins of his life. Only a humble and broken man thoroughly disinterested in his own image could so openly admit it was his own pride and out-of-control ego that led to his downfall.

From that shame, though, he emerged as a shining example of the redemptive power of Jesus and spent the rest of his life setting aside his own ego for the sake of others, investing his time and energies in those besides himself.Jim Daly, President & CEO, Focus on the Family


Chuck Colson has had a significant impact on the work of the ACLJ. One of the first letters I received after arguing my very first case at the Supreme Court was from Chuck. His words of encouragement have had a lasting impact on me. He is a friend and a mentor.Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel, American Center for Law & Justice

Chuck Colson was one of the most influential evangelical leaders of the past half century. After a career in hardball politics, he devoted his life to ministering to prisoners and sharing the Gospel’s message of love and hope to millions. His contribution to the growing cultural influence of evangelicals was difficult to overstate.

The first book I read after coming to Christ was Chuck’s Watergate memoir, “Born Again.”. Both the book and Chuck’s ministry had a major impact on me and countless others. I will miss him terribly.Ralph Reed, founder of the Christian Coalition


Chuck Colson was one of the great Christian statesmen of our generation. His life was transformed by Jesus Christ, and as a wonderful testimony to the grace of God, Chuck’s life and work with Prison Fellowship impacted thousands of people from prison inmates and their families to churches and communities all over the world. He will be missed. But his courageous voice, which spoke truth to the hearts of so many, will continue to impact lives for years to come.Franklin Graham, President and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse

For nearly four decades, Chuck Colson’s life and example have been a constant and necessary reminder to those of us in and out of public office of the seductions of power and the rewards of service. His famous redemption story and tireless advocacy on behalf of the marginalized and the outcast have called all of us to a deeper reflection on our lives and priorities. He lives on as a modern model of redemption and a permanent rebuttal to the cynical claim that there are no second chances in life.Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R, KY

My personal relationship with Chuck Colson began several months after his release from federal prison. A friend and fellow Iowan, former U.S. Senator Harold Hughes asked if they could see me. During the meeting, Chuck described his vision of developing faith-based programs to bring hope and support into correctional institutions across the country. The vision Chuck talked about that day went on to become Prison Fellowship, a program that continues to touch the lives of countless offenders and their families throughout the U.S. and around the world.

Chuck was a truly brilliant visionary, a man who understood human frailties and wanted to bring Christ’s love and compassion into the lives of the downtrodden. His life exemplified the admonition for all of us contained in Micah 6 –“to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God”.Norman A. Carlson, Director, Federal Bureau of Prisons (Ret.)


HELP CONTINUE THE LEGACY OF CHUCK COLSON

God used a prison sentence to change Chuck’s heart 40 years ago, and He’s doing the same for many men and women behind bars today. Will you join with Prison Fellowship as we carry on Chuck’s vision of restoration?