Prison Fellowship International – founded by the late world-renown evangelist Chuck Colson – is going global in a new way with its Global Capacity Initiative, which unleashes an intensified level of support to Prison Fellowship ministries to help them be more fruitful.
Slated for an early 2020 launch, the new program devised by Prison Fellowship International (PFI) is predicated on tested and tried research proving the effectiveness of peer-to-peer organizational mentoring engagements that target specific development needs – a strategy that is found to be the most effective intervention technique for building ministry capacity.
Pumping up prisons with God’s love
With nearly a dozen (11) Prison Fellowship ministries supporting this new endeavor and serving as the initiative’s founding advisory council, PFI President and CEO Andrew Corley is eager to enter a heightened level of prison outreach.
"Many of our ministries want and need help to grow," Corley announced in a PFI press release. "This initiative is part of an end-to-end capacity building strategy designed to engage ministries in our Global Family, who are in the early stages of organizational development, with more seasoned mentors so they can serve prisoners and their families more effectively in the years to come. In addition, the Global Capacity Initiative meetings will be held concurrent with our international board meeting to all our board to interact and listen to the voices of leaders at the razor's edge end of our global work."
To bolster this Christian outreach around the globe, ministries participating in the initiative will me matched in mentoring relationships with new or struggling ministries according to their needs, cultural context and geographical locations.
In addition, mentors will work with mentees up to three years to improve various aspects of their ministries, including: leadership and staff development, fundraising, volunteer mobilization and management, board development and financial systems. This will work to build and carry out a plan that focuses on identifying underlying problems and finding solutions, as well as formulating and executing action steps and improving budgets.
In order to drive and ensure success, the 11 founding members of the GCI Advisory Council from around the world will serve crucial roles, and the international ministry leaders include:
- Peter Hall, Prison Fellowship Australia
- Valdeci Ferreira, Prison Fellowship Brazil
- Stacey Campbell, Prison Fellowship Canada
- Lacides Hernandez, Prison Fellowship Colombia
- Peter Holloway, Prison Fellowship England & Wales
- Tobias Merckle, Prison Fellowship Germany
- Erik de Jonge, Prison Fellowship Netherlands
- Benson Uzonwanne, Prison Fellowship Nigeria
- Robin Scott, Prison Fellowship Northern Ireland
- Kenneth MacKenzie, Prison Fellowship Scotland
- Luzia Zuber, Prison Fellowship Switzerland
PFI’s 100 ministries provide an outreach to more than 800,000 prisoners, nearly 6,000 children and approximately 1,300 crime victims.
Dates for GCI Advisory Council’s inaugural meeting in Washington, D.C., are slated for March 24–26 of next year.
Tebow reaching out behind bars
Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow also reaches out behind prison bars to transform broken lives in the name of Jesus Christ and visited hundreds of prisoners this fall.
“Tim Tebow paid a surprise visit to a Texas maximum-security prison after an inmate’s father reached out to the Tim Tebow Foundation,” Fox News announced in October. “The outspoken Christian athlete spent nearly five hours at the facility – at one point addressing 250 men.”
Even though most of Tebow’s fame comes from his professional football and baseball careers, his true passion in life is reaching out to others in Christ’s love.
"Honestly, it's one of my favorite things to do on this Earth," Tebow shared when leaving the prison, according to Fox News. "I know it sounds weird – going to a prison – but, man, I just feel like it's something God put on my heart a long time ago, and He said, 'Hey, most of the world forgot about them, but you don't forget.' So I try not to forget. I try to get with them and share with the hope that we have in our faith, to share encouragement ... how they matter to me, but more importantly, how they matter to God."
The muscle-bound athlete had fun with inmates and admitted defeat when he lost in a pushup contest 84–71, which he shared in a video via social media.
“We had fun, but I got smoked!” Tebow shared in his Instagram post. “So encouraged by what God is doing at Alfred Hughes Prison and grateful for the time spent with my new brothers in Christ today! Excited to see how they will use their lives for the Kingdom as the grow closer to God and encourage others to live in faith!”