Christianity Today dedicated its September issue to the topic of evangelicals and their ministry to those impacted by crime and incarceration. One excellent article–How Churches Change the Equation for Life After Prison–highlighted the fact that over the past several decades, Christians have entered the arena of prison ministry in hordes, but their focus has been largely on evangelism and discipleship–impact on an individual and heart level–while areas like reentry and criminal justice reform have been largely untouched.
Does your church have an active ministry focused on prisoners and their families? For most congregations in the United States, the answer to that question is “no.”
A new study by LifeWay Research reveals that while more than four out of five pastors have visited a correctional facility at some time, and virtually all believe it is the Church’s responsibility to help returning prisoners and care for their families, few have contact with current or former prisoners as a regular part of their ministry.