• Stephen

Messianic Prison Ministry - the Mission

Where did is all start?

After spending a career in the U.S. Army and working in some other jobs, I finally was afforded the opportunity to start a ministry. The ministry was not something I dreamed about doing but rather God had it sneak up on me over time. It's funny because people around me would say something about prison ministry. Finally I thought it could be an option but not unless I could get the time (and retirement was a long way off). Another obstacle was my employment - since I worked in a correctional facility the regulations did not allow employees to volunteer. With my experience in prison (prior employment) I got to work with a lot of incarcerated men, young, old, veterans, etc. who were in prison for a variety of crimes. So over time God put it on my heart but there were lots of obstacles in the way.


There is a Need

There are many volunteers with religious programs that go into prisons. However, there were no Messianic volunteers. There are volunteers who are Buddhist, Pagan, Wiccan and variety of some protestant denominations but again there were no Messianic Judaism volunteers (that was the case till GLO Prison Ministry started). This means those who practice and or are interested in Messianic Judaism/Hebrew Roots don't have access to good, quality Messianic teachings, materials or outside fellowship. Meeting without a volunteer vs. with a volunteer

Depending the security level, Messianic believers can meet for religious holy days (Sabbath, feast days, etc.) but the number of participants is very limited. Without a volunteer present, only members of that specific faith group can attend (and in limited number). However, with a volunteer present, the numbers of participants increases and other people not belonging to that faith group can attend (sounds crazy but that is how it works). For example, in one Correctional Facility if a volunteer is present the number of participants goes up to 20 people and other people interested in finding out about Messianic Judaism can also attend.


Now what happens if inmates want to have a group bible study? Well, they cannot do this by themselves, its against regulations. However, with a volunteer overseeing the bible study they can attend. See how the basic freedoms we have are limited to those inside prison? This presents a great opportunity to minister to Messianic believers but also those who are interested in finding out more about being Torah pursuant.

Can anyone volunteer?

Not everyone can just walk off the street and volunteer, there are certain procedures that must be followed. The CDOC (Colorado Department of Corrections) requires an application, a background check and mandatory training (with a passing test score). If one is starting a new ministry/program, that program must be approved by the CDOC Faith & Citizens group. There are a number of regulations and rules but I think the most important thing is to have heart for men, and to promote their success through a ministry/program. People also need to understand that prison ministry is not for everyone. There have been accounts of people, who just started out as correctional officers or volunteers, who entered a prison and when the sliding door with bars shut behind them with a loud clang, they couldn't handle it (so that was their first and last day). Now these people can find other ways to serve and build the kingdom of God. The good news is there are people willing to do prison ministry - everyone needs to find where they fit. It's a blessing that I have found where I fit and can minister.



Opportunity in Colorado

It was amazing how God orchestrated this Messianic Prison Ministry. It's not like there is one prison close to where I live but ten! Out of those ten prisons there are six where GLO can minister (due to security levels). The total number of inmates in these six prison totals about 5,183. That is a huge opportunity to preach the gospel, fellowship, make disciples and help those in need. Those who are incarcerated look forward to attending meetings with volunteers because many don't have any visitors at all (because they have a life sentence, their families have abandoned them or family cannot visit because of distance, health reasons, etc.). With this being the case, many who are incarcerated are more receptive to volunteer programs.


Frequency

Some ministries volunteer on a monthly basis, others once a quarter, I saw one that shows up once a year. But I have the time and opportunity to meet once a week. This allows more time to encourage, preach, disciple and help men who need it. As I stated before, I am available to meet weekly on Sabbaths, feast days and also for bible studies. Something that not many people can do.


How am I able to do this? God provided

The reality is God did provide, over time. Most people have expenses (rent or mortgage, loans, etc.) that require them to work full-time and does not allow a lot of free time. However, with my past employment and the dedication of my wife and family, we have been able to greatly reduce our expenses so that I can minister full time. It's funny because it took decades but I finally see how this was all put in place, and not by me. God is truly an awesome God who provides on His timeline and not ours.


Future plans

GLO looks to not only conduct weekly prison ministry but also provide Messianic books and materials (teaching DVDs) to correctional facilities so those inside can continue to study Messianic Judaism. To do this we will need funds to purchase good training materials. It's unfortunate but many prisons do not have any messianic materials and GLO hopes to supply these materials with the help of supporters.


How you can help

Obviously if you want to help and volunteer (you must submit application, background check, etc.) please contact me and we can discuss more details. However if you are unable to do this you can donate to the GLO prison ministry. Please note GLO is not a 501c3 but all money will go directly to the ministry to purchase books, study materials, DVD lessons, etc. No money will be used for 'admin costs' - all admin costs are taken care of. So your entire donation will go directly to those in prison. With your donation, and ours, we will purchase these items so everyone in the prison can have access to these materials.

To donate all you have to do is send funds via PalPay using this link...


https://paypal.me/GLOprisonministry?locale.x=en_US


Clicking this link will open another tab on your browser that will bring you to a page that looks like this...


There you can support this ministry by entering an amount that you would like to give. I hope you take the time to pray and give as you see need. The harvest is full inside the prisons and I look forward to working with you in this endeavor. Be sure to check back here on the blog to see the status of the ministry.


Take care and blessings to you and yours,


Stephen


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