Hundreds of Christian leaders are receiving training inside the prison system before being released. We can equip your church for effective ministry both inside and outside the prison walls.

How does prison ministry training benefit your ministry?

  • Gives a turn-key solution for training for your church to welcome the formerly incarcerated.
  • Offers the ability to contextualize prison ministry training for your teams.
  • Impact the recidivism rate in your community.
  • Fellowship of like-minded people engaged in reaching their city with the gospel.
  • Increased access to other World Impact programs and resources as an approved World Impact ministry partner.

"I got involved in TUMI in Centinela Prison, Level 3. For me there was accountability with a lot of the brothers. They were always like, ‘Did you study today or did you read your Bible?" Or "Did you do the memory verse?’ There was a sense of accountability, a sense of community that regardless of how dark it was, how chaotic it was, there was a community that loves God and one that was willing to meet every few times a week just to study or just to fellowship or to worship.” -Justin C., Los Angeles, CA

Get trained in prison ministry

With training, men and women who have experienced incarceration can be powerful agents to advance God’s Kingdom in and through your local church. Trained leaders reduce the number of repeat offenders and are catalysts for ministry growth in your community.


  • Complete application process.
  • Pay registration fee (based on income).
  • Active within a local church.
  • Affirm World Impact’s Statement of Faith.
  • Complete a brief interview with a Prison Ministry Program Director.
  • Participate in program orientation.
  • Purchase required texts (hard copies or Kindle versions when available).

How does it work?

World Impact’s Prison Ministry Program trains churches and ministries to equip prisoners and returned citizens to do effective ministry in and through the local church in two ways.

Training on the Inside

We establish Church-Based Seminary satellites inside prisons in partnership with churches and ministries like you. We are currently training over 1,400 leaders on the inside.
  • Apply to become a Church-Based Seminary Satellite on the inside.
  • Complete supplemental prison site coordinator application.

Training on the Outside

World Impact’s Onesimus Workshops train churches and ministries to equip prisoners and welcome the formerly incarcerated into the life of the church while empowering them to do effective ministry.

Named after the runaway slave in the book of Philemon, the workshop is designed to equip you as your ministry creates space for returning citizens to use their giftings for the Kingdom.

How does it work?

  • Attend a workshop or orientation.
  • Host an Onesimus Workshop on your own or in collaboration with World Impact
  • Each of the 4 sessions is approximately 2 hours long.
  • Can be completed at your own pace. We recommend one 8-hour workshop.
  • Purchase the program materials:

Reach out for more information

Contact Prison Ministry Director
Rich Esselstrom –

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Prison ministry

We believe in discipling the incarcerated and released

At World Impact, we believe that God can transform the lives of those in prison and call them to participate with Him in His Great Commission. Through our Prison Ministry, we are training and equipping radical men and women to pastor and plant churches within prison walls and the communities in which they used to live.

We help thousands of inmates receive effective training and gain vital urban ministry and church leadership knowledge.

We do this first by establishing church-based seminaries inside prison walls. Then, we equip churches and ministries to come alongside released prisoners, provide discipleship, and empower them to do effective ministry in some of the most forgotten places in our cities.

Our prison ministry methodology equips churches for effective ministry both inside and outside of prison walls

When you partner with World Impact, you ensure that men and women get the resources and support they need to find Jesus, become ministers within prison walls and are discipled to change their local communities when they are released.

Prison Ministry Partners


Prison Ministry Trainers


Prison Ministry Workers


Former prison gang leader advances the Gospel while serving a life sentence

Jason was locked up in the early 90s to serve a life sentence. Gang life there was so bloody, his unit was nicknamed the Terror Dome, and the only way to survive was to stick to your race. Initiation was kill or be killed, and Jason quickly climbed the hierarchy of the Aryan Brotherhood, a notorious white supremacist gang.  

A New Path

As the warfare between gangs grew bloodier, Jason’s role as a leader landed him 10 years in segregation, a 23-hour-a-day lockdown with no human contact. At the time, he was barely literate. A Muslim and a Christian occupied the cells on either side of him, often arguing about their religious views. God used the situation to spark a desire inside Jason. He began requesting books on philosophy and theology and, in time, he surrendered his life to Jesus. 

Jason renounced the Aryan Brotherhood, stopped using smuggled heroin, and signed up for an intensive grad program to study world religions as his literacy improved. He became a field minister (chaplain’s assistant), assigned to the hospice unit. As Jason sat holding the hands of two prisoners who were taking their final breaths, he didn’t know what to say to them, other than “I love you.” Words he’d never said to another man before Christianity.

Advancing the Gospel

Eventually, Jason enrolled in World Impact’s Church-Based Seminary classes. He wanted to understand Christianity that not only addressed life in prison, but death in prison.  

Jason and a fellow field minister named Jackie, a Black man formerly known as “The Fighter,” now lead classes in the Terror Dome. Their group — composed of Black, Jewish, White, and Latino men — join in prayer, united in a brotherhood that transcends racially divided gangs. God is working through the incarcerated church to bring hope and renewal to our society! 

Life Transformation is possible because of your generosity

To help more people like Carlos and Martin through prison ministry programs, click below to give now.

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