In an effort to develop, publicize and promote support for ministry to people affected by/through the criminal justice system I am writing a series of articles for the UMC newspaper and will also publish on my blog. I would like to ask you if you would take the time to share YOUR story with me. You can do this by simply answering some of the questions below that are relevant to your personal experience and adding your own comments. I will likely need to edit in order to be able to share without revealing personal details and to keep the article appropriate in length and content.
1. What caused you to initially become involved in prison ministry?
2. How long have you been going into jails as a ministry?
3. And, what changes have you seen occur in that period of time? Like changes in the make-up of the jail population, and the way the prisoners are treated?
4. What was the most difficult aspect of that work? What was your greatest challenge?
What was the most rewarding?
5. Did you find that the prison systems in which you worked were hostile or supportive toward your work?
6. What steps would you like to see taken to better enable volunteers to reach inmates?
7. What caveats (cautions) would you give someone considering entering into prison ministry?
8. Would you tell us in your own words, what is the best counsel you could give someone who is interested in this ministry? And please elaborate!
9. Is there any type of prisoner that is easier to minister to, like drug abusers and non-violent crimes, those going to prison, or crimes against persons? What type is the toughest to minister to?
10. Many times you see repeat returnees (recidivists), and you should not get discouraged about them coming back. (1). How do you not get discouraged? (2). What do you do to keep from getting discouraged?
11. What type of prison ministry have you been involved in: i.e.- church services, bible studies, visitations, aftercare, victim support, family support, substance abuse, homelessness, or other?
I am sure there are many other questions or thoughts that you would like to share with people. Please feel free to pass those along!
** You can email me at: barefootpreachr(at)gmail(dot)com