United States (MNN) — Crossroad Bible Institute is at the frontlines of spiritual warfare in prisons. Their ministry is growing rapidly and they have great hopes for 2007.
Their goal of 37,000 students was surpassed and they now have 40,500 active students. That is 7,000 new students in 2006. Everyday they partner with new prison chaplains and continue to add referral affiliates. "I think by God's grace Crossroad Bible Institute is becoming sort of the go-to ministry for in-prison Bible studies and by God's grace people are recognizing the good work our instructors are doing as they're seeking to disciple the prison in-mates," David Schuringa President of Crossroad Bible Institute.
CBI has more than 5,000 volunteer instructors who correct lessons all over the world. One
statistic says that a Bible study is completed by a student every 3.5 minutes. Each of these lessons takes about an hour and a half to correct and is accompanied with an encouraging
letter from the instructor.
"There are frequently that we have our students that will confess down the road that they actually started it for the personal letters, because 80 percent of those in prisons never receive any personal mail ever," said Schuringa. These people often get hooked on God's word one they start the program.
"We, frankly, don't care what the original reason is that they start taking the courses. It's the old bait and hook. Whatever hooks them that's great, because we believe that God's word is active and powerful and if they're truly connected with God's word it's a good thing," Schuringa said.
Those who are seeking get involved as well; such as Muslims, or even new Christians.
"Islam is the fastest growing religion in America because it is the fastest growing religion in the prisons," said Schuringa. Also cults, Satanism, and Wicca are very active within prisons.
The letters are especially important to show that God's people truly care. They are proof of God's love and that what they are learning through the Bible studies is "the
With the growth of the organization there is a need for more instructors. "We have a special need for English and Spanish instructors- those who can read and write Spanish," said Schuringa. "When you're sitting at the beginning of the year you wonder where's it all going to come from because we have our largest budget ever this year so we appreciate God's people praying about that," he added.
2007 will be the second year they offer seminars for CBI instructors. The number of them has tripled this year to accommodate the need and demand for the training. "It's open to instructors, as well people who are interested in prison ministry, as well as just church members who want to be up to speed on what's going on in the criminal justice system and those seminars can also be found on our Web site," said Schuringa.
You can volunteer from your home if you are interested in being a part of this ministry. CBI trains and provides lessons for all their instructors.