The Lord specifically calls us to reach out to prisoners in Hebrews 13:3, "Remember the prisoners as though you were in prison with them ..."
When you think about a crime, do you think of those who pay the price? Of course there is the victim. But what about the family of the offender? How about the offenders themselves? Or the men and women who have served their time and now struggle to readapt to a society which makes it almost impossible to succeed?
This is why Cru is interested in making a difference in the lives of those affected by their own or a loved one’s incarceration.
We minister in prison because it’s a part of the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
In obedience we proclaim the good news to everyone we can. The message of God’s love and forgiveness is for all people, but is especially well received by people who are loaded with a sense of guilt and shame because of their own sinful behavior.
As we minister to prisoners we are also ministering to the community at large, particularly the inner city from which most prisoners come. The pastor of an inner city church in Detroit states, “The key to reaching the inner city is to reach men in prison.” Why did he make this bold statement? Because that is where the male role models are. When they are reached for Christ, they will have a significant impact on the lives of children and young men who have looked up to them.
Families of are the forgotten victims of crime. Overwhelmed with a loss of income, the pain of seeing a loved one locked up, and the aimlessness caused by an incarcerated parent, the family member often slides into despair. Partnering with churches and ministries, Cru can bring the hope of Christ to meet these needs.
Prisons are a ripe field for harvest. We are commanded by our Lord to go into this harvest field and be used by Him to bring the lost into His kingdom.
BeyondBars is the result of many years of ministry experience. It includes biblical foundations, instruction, and case studies. It provides an introduction to reaching out to prison inmates, both before and after they are released. In addition, it provides some tracks on which to run in order to reaching out to their families. Read more.
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