Jesus calls us to be in communion with the outcasts of society – and few are more outcast than inmates. They are shamed and judged and scapegoated. And yes, some of them have done some pretty horrible things. But what they have done is not who they are.

The prison ministry is a gritty ministry in the midst of suffering. The environment is defined by noise, concrete, iron bars and razor wire. Communication can be difficult and strained. This ministry opens our hearts, teaches us about forgiveness, and reminds us that we are not defined by our sin, but our redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ.

A Higher Standard

We aren’t just a bunch of tattooed bikers riding out to prisons to hand inmates a Bible. Although, the tattoos and bikes do give us a special bond with some inmates (we do not wear our cuts within prison walls for obvious reasons.) Sometimes our appearances open spiritual doors that a suit and a slick evangelist haircut will not. All members that participate in the Holy Discontent prison ministry are required to complete various readings and programs in order to fully understand how to convey God’s word to those within our jails and prison systems. 

“I was in prison and you came to visit me … I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”  Matthew 25:36, 40

The Reality of a Prison Ministry

When most people think of prison ministries, they envision confrontation with dangerous people, or walking to the electric chair with a condemned killer. However, it is unlikely that you will actually become involved in either of these, or any similar situation in a lifetime of ministry. Because most of the pioneers in prison ministry, men like Ed Martin and Chuck Colson, are ex-inmates, many people have the impression that you must be an ex-con to work in prison ministry. This is just not true. In fact, there can be considerable harm done if we build a ministry that glories in the evil past of our members rather than emphasizing the redeeming power of Jesus Christ. While a short testimony from an ex-con who has found Christ is a great icebreaker with inmates, the “look at me, I made it and so can you” message gets real old quickly. Although familiarity with the prison setting is helpful, all that is needed is a sincere desire to use your gifts and talents to serve our Lord, without concern of earthly rewards.