Tag Archives: jail

Oklahoma Church’s Latest Campus Thrives Behind Bars

By Carl Stagner

Oklahoma City’s Crossings Community Church has taken prison ministry to another level. For the influential capital city congregation, it’s not just about visitation, prayer, and preaching the gospel to the incarcerated. Earlier this year, Crossings celebrated the first anniversary of its satellite campus location altogether housed within the confines of Joseph Harp Correctional Center. The medium-security prison for men down the road in Lexington, Oklahoma, is not considered a mission site, a location for service projects, or even a local partner in ministry. Crossings Joseph Harp is a full-fledged campus of Crossings Community Church, and the effect of this unique arrangement on inmates and volunteers from the outside has been nothing short of life-changing. Continue reading

Former Inmate Empowers Others through Education

Joel Whiteside

Joel Whiteside’s first stint in prison lasted twenty-eight months when he was just seventeen. After release, Joel struggled to make good decisions and soon his life was spiraling out of control. A three-year sentence in 2008 was a turning point. He realized that it was time to change the trajectory of his life. Joel’s personal story of transformation fuels his nonprofit organization, Been There, Done That, which supports those who are re-entering society in Cowlitz County, Washington, after incarceration. Continue reading

Church of God Corrections Chaplains Deliver Hope Behind Bars

prison_fence_stock_FORWEB

By Carl Stagner

They’re drug dealers. They embezzled funds. They’re kidnappers, rapists, and murderers. Upon re-entry into society, however, they’re also the ones some churches would rather not welcome into their congregation. But these men and women were created in the image of God. Family and friends have written them off, but God’s hand of unconditional love stretches out to them. Called beyond the familiarity of local church ministry, Church of God corrections chaplains are ordained ministers who have instead been led to “remember those in prison” (Heb 13:3), accept them, and share with them the hope of Jesus Christ. Continue reading

Doing Time on the Other Side of the Bars: Ministry to Families of Prisoners

prison_bars_FORWEB
By Carl Stagner

You’ve probably seen the bumper sticker that says, “My child is on the honor roll.” But you’ve probably never seen the bumper sticker that reads, “My child is at the county jail.” Linda Davis offers this contrast to stress that parents of the incarcerated are anything but proud of their children’s achievements—and often alone in their shame. Davis, who attends the Church of God in Hartville, Ohio, knows exactly what it’s like to carry the emotional weight of having a son in prison. She also knows all too well what it’s like to have no support system. And that’s a terrible problem when states like hers have fifty thousand people in the prison system. Continue reading