Christ Prison Ministry is about saving souls and changing lives by sharing the truth and grace of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, we support the goal of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Chaplaincy Program, which is to positively impact public safety and reduce recidivism through moral rehabilitation by rendering pastoral care and quality programming to facilitate spiritual transformation.
The Program Director for Christ Prison Ministry is Stephen Paul Wolf, who is also a Certified Volunteer Chaplain’s Assistance (CVCA) with the TDCJ. The primary location of Christ Prison Ministry is at the James V. Allred Unit located in Iowa Park Texas. The Allred Unit is one of the largest prisons in the United States with over 3,700 offenders at any give time. Without questions, Christ Prison Ministry needs your prayers and we need your financial support. Please prayerfully consider becoming a partner with us – it is a very easy process!
In Matthew 25, our Lord and Savior Jesus clearly illustrated His expectations for us to be involved with those confined to prison. Indeed, the fields are white for harvest behind the prison bars as we are able to come in contact with many persons with broken and contrite hearts. Christ Prison Ministry is a mission field and the Allred Unit is in our own backyard. While we must go to the ends of the world proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ,we cannot ignore those that are living in close proximity to our residences.
Indeed, prison ministry is a lot like entering a foreign land as we must have special permissions and certifications to reach the lost at these locations (similar to obtaining a passport and visa – yet more difficult). Prison also has its own customs and language, too. Still, the workers within Christ Prison Ministry are able to seek and save the lost without having to travel half-way around the world. We have a desire to bring the ministry of reconciliation to the men-in-white who have been convicted in their hearts that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
The consequences of churches and individuals being involved in Christ Prison Ministry are very real – both in this life and the life to come. Approximately one-half of all paroled offenders return to prison within three years. However, there is clear evidence to indicate that the return-rate, or recidivism, among inmates who complete some form of Christian-based rehabilitation program, such as Bible Correspondence Courses, Bible-based study, Bible-based worship, and personal Bible study, is 2/3 less than inmates without Christian-based education. Again, Christ Prison Ministry is about saving souls and changing lives by sharing the truth and grace of Jesus Christ. As demonstration of the dedicated service of those involved with Christ Prison Ministry, over 600 offenders have been immersed in the waters of baptism since the beginning of this ministry at the Allred Unit since 1996 .
Christ Prison Ministry offers a wide range of spiritual support to those at the Allred Unit, to include the following:
- Sunday Worship Service. Worship service is held on the last Sunday of every month. The service lasts from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. The inmate singing group worships in song during each service. We lead the worship Allred by way of preaching, leading songs, leading prayers, and having communion with approximately 200 offenders.
- The New Life Behavior Course. New Life Behavior was developed by the churches of Christ, however, this strong Bible-based curriculum is now taught in and out of prisons by various churches around the world. It focuses on the new life that we have in Christ Jesus. The class has 30 students and it is held every Monday evening from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
- The Voyager Course. Voyager is behavior enhancement curriculum developed by the TDCJ Instructional Division that was given to Christ Prison Ministry to lead. We teach the class of approximately 30 students every Tuesday evening from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. This class is taught from a biblical and Christ-centered perspective even though men from other faiths (Muslim, Buddhist, etc.) are in attendance. Therefore, it is a great way to share the Gospel to those that are not yet in Christ Jesus. There are 51 lessons with the goal of going through 2 rotations of students each calendar year.
- The PACE Program. Each Wednesday and Thursday from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m., our ministry team (led by CVCA Terry Bradley) leads a Bible-based program for those offenders assigned to Administrative Segregation. These offenders are confined to solitary conditions for 23+ hours each day due to serious infractions after being sentenced to prison. Our goal is work with these 27 offenders and bring them around to a better way. This program lasts for 3 months and is considered highly effective by TDCJ.
- Pastoral Counseling and Mentoring. Our CVCAs and Volunteers spend a great deal of time and energy with offenders, often one-on-one or in small groups. We encourage them in their Christian walk and empower them to share their faith with other men-in-white. We counsel them in grief and even help them set goals.
- Correspondence. One opportunity where we always need help is in the correspondence program. We are to able to be a bridge to offenders and provide them a Christian link to the outside world. This opportunity is open to both men and women, 18-years of age and older. The two ways we participate are through encouragement cards and letters. Encouragement cards are sent to recently baptized inmates allowing us to share the joy of their new birth in Jesus. Of course, strict guidelines must be followed.
- Christmas Blessing Bags. Every December, Christ Prison Ministry distributes a small gift to every offender at the Allred Unit, all 3700+ of them. Although the blessing bag is humble (usually a pair of socks, some soap and shampoo, Christian literature, a calendar, and a snack), it is greatly appreciated by everyone. For many of the offenders, this is the only Christmas present that they will receive. Christ Prison Ministry requires funds and personnel each year to make this a reality.
- Holiday Card Distribution. Card distribution usually occurs on a Sunday before major holidays – such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Christmas. Like with many of our functions within Christ Prison Ministry, we are the only organization that is doing this at the Allred Unit.
- Staff Appreciation Day. This much anticipated event is held once a year for the staff and officers at the Allred Unit. Volunteers prepare and cook hamburgers and offer encouragement & thanks for all the staff does for our communities on a daily basis.
Without reservation or hesitation, Christ Prison Ministry affords us a wonderful opportunity to apply our Christian faith. Again, we need you to become a partner – both through prayer and through your generous offering. If you have any specific questions, please contact Stephen Paul Wolf at Stephen@Edgemere.org. With your partnership, we will make an impact for our communities and for the Kingdom of Christ Jesus. If you wish to know more about Christ Prison Ministry, join our email list to receive updates with prisoner stories, events, and volunteer opportunities.