3 common hesitancies for Christians joining prison ministry

By December 21, 2023

USA (MNN) — Does prison ministry seem like a niche outreach? Something only certain Christians with particular personalities could successfully get involved in?

With Crossroads Prison Ministries, any follower of Christ can get involved to encourage incarcerated men and women with God’s Word. Crossroads makes the process simple and addresses several concerns for potential ministry partners.

First, some people think that prison ministry can only be done by going into the prisons themselves.

This misconception keeps many Christians from even considering prison ministry as a discipleship opportunity.

Paige Deur, Crossroads’ content and social media specialist, says, “If you are looking at prison ministry, in general, going into prison is an intimidating thing. I think, particularly for introverts, it’s a very overstimulating environment and you often have to talk to a lot of people.”

(Image courtesy of Crossroads Prison Ministries)

Christians involved with Crossroads don’t have to physically travel to prisons for ministry. In fact, they don’t even have to set foot outside of their homes.

Instead, mentors correspond with incarcerated Bible study students through the mail. Together, mentor and student walk through the Crossroads curriculum and dive into God’s Word. All communication is done through letter writing, and Crossroads handles the rest.

Another concern that potential mentors have is anonymity.

Crossroads church mobilization director assistant Alaina Zwiernikowski says, “I hear often people are hesitant to sign up because they don’t want to give out their personal information, and they think that they might have to do that. So as a Crossroads mentor, we make it so that all their information is anonymous!”

Finally, a third major hesitation is simply: What if I don’t know what to say?

Alexis Ryan, Crossroads’ mentor coordinator, says, “Another pushback I’ve heard from some prospective mentors is that they don’t know if they’ll have all of the right answers because they’ve never experienced something even similar to being in prison or jail. That is a good thought, but I think that the lessons do a great job of aiding in giving the mentors something to say to the students, even if they have no similar experiences.

“Each time a mentor corresponds with a student, they are going to be reviewing a lesson that the students filled out. So they can really focus on the biblical lesson content and learn together as a mentor and student.

(Image courtesy of Crossroads Prison Ministries)

“We also provide answer keys for mentors, so those answer keys will give lots of good details, Scripture references, [and] example answers of what students might say so that mentors can best respond to a student.”

Learn more about becoming a Crossroads mentor!

Crossroads is especially looking for more Spanish-speaking mentors to correspond with Spanish-speaking Bible study students.

Most importantly, Deur says, “I pray that the Holy Spirit would work in and through the words that are exchanged between both our students and mentors so that [they] continue to grow in their faith through this ministry. [Pray] that doors would continue to open for us to serve even more students as we face different mailing restrictions from different facilities.”





Header photo courtesy of Milad Fakurian/Unsplash.

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