How Can Those Who are Incarcerated Learn More About God?

Discover the lasting way those who are incarcerated can learn about God—from trained professionals to others in prison.

While many of us agree that God’s grace is available to all who believe, it might be hard to envision how that message is communicated to those behind prison walls. 

Sharing the good news of Jesus is challenging within prison walls. First, those who are incarcerated may be wary of someone coming into the prison to teach them about God, as they may not trust someone from the outside. Also, an outsider entering a prison might not understand the culture and norms that prisoners are used to, making it hard for them to effectively communicate their teachings. Finally, even if some who are serving time accept an outsider preaching about God with open arms, others may view them with suspicion and prejudice because they are from outside the prison walls‎‎‎. 

I bet you can think of other reasons it can be challenging for an outsider to go into a prison and talk about faith and encourage trust in a Savior. Yet, we are called to make disciples—at church, school, work, and in prisons. What’s the most effective method? Would it be more impactful and lasting if the message came from inside the prison walls?

That’s why, through partnerships with local ministries and churches, World Impact helps thousands of incarcerated men and women receive effective training and gain vital urban ministry and church leadership knowledge. We believe in discipling the incarcerated, and we believe in disciples making disciples! 
Keep reading to learn more about World Impact’s Prison Ministry, and meet someone committed to spreading the Good News to unexpected groups today.

Incarcerated Individuals Make Disciples Who Make Disciples

We trust that God has the power to change the lives of prisoners and call them to join Him in fulfilling His Great Commission. Through our training, we are preparing and empowering radical men and women to preach and plant churches behind prison walls and in the neighborhoods where they formerly resided.

We believe that all people—incarcerated men and women, pastors, lay people—have the privilege of sharing their gifts for the good of the Body, and that can happen at home, at church, or inside the prison walls. 

Amazing things have happened as a result of imprisoned individuals sharing their newly-discovered, God-given gifts inside the prison. Maybe you’ve learned about the transformation of Jason or Darryll. Keep reading and meet another transformed servant named Laura. 

These are just a few of the exciting stories of redemption—many others are happening right now!

More about Prison Ministry: Evaluating Theological Education in Prison

How Do Incarcerated Individuals Learn About God?

Through our collaborations with neighborhood churches and ministries, thousands of prisoners acquire practical training and foundational knowledge about urban ministry and church leadership. That’s the first step: trained leaders share the news of Christ and disciple groups of individuals behind walls. 

From there, those in prison are equipped to disciple others in the facility through practices like studying the Bible, praying with one another, and encouraging each other daily. 

Once released, people who were formerly incarcerated can work with our partner churches to offer them ongoing discipleship, and give them the tools they need to carry out effective ministry in some of our cities’ most overlooked neighborhoods.

Because the formerly incarcerated had the opportunity to mature in knowledge and practice their spiritual gifting while behind bars, they are ready to serve upon release. And some are ready to lead.

When Laura attended a church-based seminary in prison, it was a catalyst for a complete life change. Not only did she discover freedom through a newly-found faith, but she harnessed her natural leadership skills and compassion for others, and started a church for those who were homeless. 

Every service begins with a much-needed meal for the attendees and includes her greeting each individual by name, looking into their eyes, and seeing beyond their external struggles. 

Because she’s a bi-vocational shepherd, many have no idea what Laura does outside the office. And there is very little worldly glory in her work. But God knows, and the souls she is touching through her ministry certainly know. Laura is the epitome of faith expressing itself through love.

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Galatians 5:6)

Learn more: Three Inspiring Prison Ministry Lessons From the Book of Philemon

Impact of Prison Ministry

While Laura is uniquely gifted in her work, there are many similar stories! In 2022, World Impact’s Prison Ministry reported:

  • 92 Partners
  • 109 Trainers
  • 1,211 Workers

That means that almost 100 ministries have answered the call to disciple the incarcerated, and 109 trainers interacted with prisoners and introduced them to the redemptive work of the cross. From there, more than a thousand disciples were unleashed inside the prison to continue the discipleship process. 

In 2022, World Impact’s Prison Ministry worked with 92 partners and equipped 109 trainers to disciple prisoners, resulting in 1,211 workers for the Kingdom. Your church can be a part of this exciting ministry, too. Contact us today. Share on X

How Your Church Can Get Involved

We are dedicated to offering affordable and effective ministry training. Every urban community needs a healthy church and our training will help you build and sustain your church.

Our four core ministry programs are contextualized for urban ministry and are focused on gospel-centered leadership development, church renewal, and spiritual formation. You can access programs online through World Impact U or in-person training. 

The five steps to serving the incarcerated through Prison Ministry include:

  1. Apply: Fill out an application to be a World Impact Partner.
  2. Interview: Meet with a Program Director to determine acceptance.
  3. Orientation: Begin your orientation at the next available date.
  4. Training: Kick off your training in one of our core programs, like Prison Ministry. 
  5. Activation: Activate your work within your local community. 

These five steps are a tangible way for you and your ministry to live out this powerful verse:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Mathew 28:19-20)

Equip Those Who are Incarcerated to Disciple and Lead

When churches like yours partner with World Impact’s Prison Ministry, men and women get the resources and support they need to find Jesus, become ministers within prison walls, and are discipled to change their local communities upon release.

Play a role in the transformative power of Prison Ministry when you donate to World Impact.