COVID-19 may have closed America’s prisons, but it can’t shut out the hope of the Jesus. We are seeing new and innovative ways developing to share the Gospel with the incarcerated.
Despite recent reforms, the United States still has the largest prison population in the world. America’s prisons need a culture shift if we’re to see an end to the cycle of crime and incarceration.
In this Easter message of second chances and redemption, Prison Fellowship president and CEO James Ackerman looks back at Charles Colson's legacy.
James Ackerman is the CEO of Prison Fellowship® and a longtime Angel Tree® volunteer. The following story was originally published for Jubilee®, and is reprinted here with permission.
My wife Cathy and I couldn’t tell if anyone was home.
We walked up the cluttered approach to the old mobile home and knocked on the door. There was no car in the driveway and no tracks in the snow that had fallen overnight.
On paper, my nephew should never have become addicted to drugs. He was a bright young man raised in a wonderful home by godly parents. And yet, he traded it all in for his substance abuse, leaving his heartbroken family behind when he went to prison.
“So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me.’” – John 11:41
Jesus had a friend named Lazarus who died of an illness. By the time Jesus arrived at the home of Lazarus’s grieving sisters, Mary and Martha, Lazarus had been dead for four days, and his body was sealed in a tomb with a large, heavy stone.
On a recent trip to Michigan, I approached a man that I thought was our local Prison Fellowship field director. I hugged him and thanked him for all he was doing.
When I asked how he was, he said, “I’ve been out for three months, and I am an associate pastor!”
In my decades as a pastor, I saw a lot of things in church, but this was a first.
In the middle of the church auditorium, surrounded by their families and other worshipers, were about 100 prisoners in orange jumpsuits. They are part of a partnership between a county jail and a local congregation.