Discover how Prison Ministry played a key role in one man’s journey of transformation fueled by faith, perseverance, hard work and dedication.
God’s amazing work in Gregory O.’s life is awe-inspiring. In 1998, at just 19 years old, he was arrested for first-degree murder. Living a life of sin and addiction, he was broken and seeking God when he found himself in the county jail. It was there that he asked Jesus Christ to be his Lord and Savior and began his journey with the King of Kings. He was eventually convicted of second-degree murder in 1999 and sent off to state prison in California to serve 16 years to life.
Prison Wasn’t The End, It Was the Beginning
The path wasn’t easy, though. Despite his love for God, he slowly slipped back into addiction while incarcerated. Throughout his time in prison, God repeatedly spoke to him, reminding him that all he needed was Him, not drugs or alcohol. But coping with life in prison was beyond the skills Greg had at the time. But, because God allowed him to get caught with drugs behind prison walls, Greg was motivated to begin some serious self-reflection. Thank God for discipline! Finally, the Holy Spirit opened his heart, mind, and ears to hear God’s voice more clearly than ever before.
Greg kicked off his recovery by experiencing the Celebrate Recovery program for the first time. It had a profound impact on him—so much so that he has been facilitating it since 2012!
He also took World Impact’s Church-Based Seminary classes (also known as TUMI, The Urban Ministry Institute) from 2014 onwards which gave him a strong understanding of the Bible. It also equipped him to serve in church leadership. This enabled him to draw closer to God and get closer acquainted with His word.
In 2018, Greg was released from prison, and three years later, he graduated from TUMI. At that time, he took the position of honor as a Deacon at The Pillar of Fire Church where he currently helps facilitate TUMI Classes. Greg is a disciple who is making disciples!
Learn more: Three Inspiring Prison Ministry Lessons From the Book of Philemon
3 Powerful Components in Prison Ministry Transformation
Thanks to this incredible journey of transformation fueled by faith, perseverance, hard work and dedication, Gregory O. is now fully equipped for every good work as he continues doing his best to serve our Great God while helping others do the same.
Did you notice a couple of key components in Gregory’s transformation as a result of Prison Ministry involvement?
1. Church-Based Seminary Training
First, through World Impact’s seminary education opportunities inside prison walls (TUMI), Greg gained Bible knowledge and leadership acumen. There are numerous ways you can get involved in Prison Ministry, both inside and outside of the church, and we are happy to discuss options that fit your ministry.
Also, Greg took on an attitude of humility, choosing to see his incarcerations as opportunities to self-reflect and seek God. The result? Salvation, maturity, transformation, and multiplication!
It’s healthy for those who are incarcerated to have an open mind and a humble perspective in order to properly learn from their mistakes and grow as individuals—which is a wise principle for every one of us, whether we’ve spent time in prison or not.Don’t be discouraged by setbacks. Instead, embrace your humble position and ask God to make good of your mess. He is able! Click To Tweet
3. Trauma Healing
Another ingredient that many individuals find critical to their long-term success is involvement in our Trauma Healing program. Unfortunately, we see significant levels of trauma experienced in our urban ministry settings, especially within prisons. But, when individuals can participate in Trauma Healing and get equipped to offer trauma care, barriers to hearing the gospel are removed.
Related reading: Evaluating Theological Education in Prison
How Prison Ministry Fulfills the Great Commission
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 women and men like Greg to pastor and plant churches within prison walls and the communities in which they used to live.
We help thousands of individuals behind walls receive effective training and gain vital urban ministry and church leadership knowledge. First, we establish 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.
That’s the impact that Greg experienced, and that’s the contagious impact that he’s currently having in his neighborhood, by facilitating a recovery program and serving on church leadership.
Learn more about the incredible impact of Prison Ministry in the life of Jason, whose mission is to mentor other men into faith in Christ.