Christ United Methodist Church in Franklin, Tennessee has had an active ministry to prisoners for a number of years. Jerry Nail, a lay member of the congregation, has led this quest to help those who are incarcerated to find God in prison.
Author Robert Ratcliff, in an article posted on January 7, 2011, in Ministry Matters, wrote about his interview with Jerry Nail and the details regarding the ministry’s activity for inmates. Members of the team focus on four steps.
- They build relationships by visiting prisoners and getting to know them as individuals, as well as sharing Scripture.
- They lead Bible classes.
- They hold a Communion service every Sunday morning.
- They help those who are released find jobs and places to stay through the church’s reentry program.
“Many of these folks wind up coming to our church, along with their families,” said Nail.
He also offered advice to any church group who wants to start a ministry program for prisoners:
“Before you take any step, give it prayerful consideration,” he said. “You have to be able to commit for the long haul. Our chaplain at Riverbend, Rev. Jerry Welborn, has told me that so many individuals, groups, and churches get into prison ministry, but then quit after a short time. If you want to make a difference in someone’s life, however, you have to stay with them . . . Apart from their families, there just aren’t that many support structures in place for these folks when they rejoin society. They’re going to need your help.”
Watch this inspiring video on YouTube—an interview on 100 Huntley Street with John Jonathan ex-offender and former addict, and Brandi Jonathan, former drug and alcohol abuser, about what led them to find God in prison:
©Karen O’Connor (www.karenoconnor.com). Karen contributes regularly to Finding God Daily.Visit Karen’s website to learn more about this author who has touched the lives of many women.