Equipping the Redeemed
I am humbled by the calling to empower the urban poor to be leaders for the Kingdom in Los Angeles. One of the ways God has been doing this is through The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI) inside of prisons all throughout California. World Impact has a national vision to equip believers who are incarcerated to be the next leaders of the urban Church.
Many who have served time in prison are equipped through their testimonies to reach people in the darkest places in inner cities across America. We have believed in and seen 1 Corinthians 1:27 actively demonstrated: “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.” World Impact currently partners with reentry homes, local churches, and mentors to provide those who have been incarcerated the support they need to live out their Kingdom calling.
Last month, I had the honor to go inside Calipatria State Prison to witness a TUMI graduation along with 40 other inmates who are TUMI students. They led a powerful time of worship. It was an image I will never forget; men who were covered in gang tattoos, worshipping God with such passion because of the way He has redeemed them and called them to His purposes. This seminary-level degree has equipped them to be Christian leaders in prison and will continue to equip them when they re-enter society. The graduates shared their testimonies with tears of gratitude, expressing how TUMI has given them the tools and purpose to focus on their calling.
Here are some powerful stats I learned while visiting the prison:
- There are about 181,000 prisoners in the California prison population.
- One percent of those inmates are in World Impact's TUMI seminary classes.
- There is a 47% recidivism rate (reoffending and returning to prison) for the state of California.
- There is only a 6% recidivism rate for World Impact TUMI students.
Please pray for the ongoing revival and equipping of prisoners. God is doing amazing work in the hearts and lives of leaders behind bars across the country for His Kingdom!