Brandon didn’t want to attend the weekly service held at Adams County Correctional Facility, but another inmate convinced him to try it. He was at first argumentative, but on his second visit he found himself sobbing. He became a regular attendee, joined in the singing, and was even willing to provide solo music for the group.
If Jesus were on earth today, we would undoubtedly find Him in the prisons, talking and dining with criminals and outcasts. “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners,” He said after being criticized for eating with tax collectors and sinners.
This service, led by RMC prison ministry coordinator Ted Williams, is held by prison ministry volunteers. For the last five years, volunteers have been at Crowley County Correctional Facility. When the ministry began, there were weeks when none of the incarcerated men showed up. Instead of giving up, they stayed to read and pray, and their prayers were rewarded. Now they often have 75 men attending. This month, 95 men showed up.
Most church members don’t know anyone in prison, so prisoners remain hidden from their lives. LifeWay Research reports that about two-thirds of Protestant senior pastors say they lack the training or finances to run an effective prison ministry. Prison ministry work is primarily done by individuals in the congregation.
Williams wants to change this. His goal is to develop prison ministry leaders at each church in the Rocky Mountain Conference.
Like Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship, Williams believes that, “Even the most broken lives and situations can be restored and made whole when we respond to God’s call to serve men and women behind bars.”