Obeying Jesus Christ's command to visit the incarcerated, two ministries are partnering to equip and exhort local churches to evangelize and disciple the lost behind prison bars.
Bill Glass Behind the Walls (BGBTW) and Lifeline Global Ministries (LGM) announced Thursday that they joined forces by signing an Ephesians 4:11-13 agreement to unite in outreach efforts to reach "the least of these" in America's prisons.
Taking God's calling seriously
LGM CEO Romney Ruder stresses that reaching out to the lost includes those who – to many – are out of sight and out of mind.
"The backbone for each of our organizations is to engage the local Church," Ruder explains in a press release. "Both organizations train Christians to take next steps to follow Jesus by reaching out and caring for the least of these."
Wichita, Kansas-based LGM is devoted to train and mentor local believers to disciple inmates in prisons, jails and other correctional centers across the United States.
"LGM's mission is to inspire and equip men, women, families, churches and communities to develop godly fathers and mothers – regardless of their circumstances," the release states. "[Our] curriculum – some written by incarcerated men and women – provide[s] the local Church ongoing opportunities to disciple inmates on how to have a spiritual impact on their children's lives … with a goal of family reconciliation."
BGBTW interim CEO Scott Jones emphasizes how fruitful the prison outreach can be in just a short amount of time.
"We train Christians on how to evangelize and then give them an immediate opportunity to share the gospel with those behind the walls," Jones shares. "Our average first-time volunteer will experience three to four inmates accept[ing] Jesus Christ as their Savior."
Hope where there is none
The numbers speak for themselves, with Jones' Duncanville, Texas-based evangelistic ministry training tens of thousands to save more than a million souls behind bars over the past several decades.
"Since 1972, BGBTW has trained more than 58,000 Christian men and women volunteers to share the gospel with nearly 6 million incarcerated men, women and youth – resulting in over 1.2 million commitments to Jesus Christ," the ministry states.
Sharing a common heart for those locked up behind bars, both organizations recognized the synergy a convergence of their efforts could bring to the Body of Christ.
"Bill Glass Behind the Walls has trained and sent Christian volunteers to more prisons and jails than any other evangelism organization," Ruder impressed. "Their events will literally open more doors for us to disciple inmate fathers and mothers to become godly parents – leading to restoring families."
The partnership is geared to transform lives through Christ – both inside prison walls and out.
"Many of our volunteers make connections with the inmates they meet [at] our events," Jones points out. "Now, with our partnership with Lifeline Global Ministries, they'll have new opportunities to journey toward full life with Christ with these men and women – through the study and application of the Word of God."
May 16 has been slated for a BGBTW event launching the partnership in prisons near Bonham, Texas.