By Rodney Stewart, Missionary-Athlete, North GA Saints softball
One of my teammates recently sent me an article entitled, Prison Ministry: A Waste of Time, Right? It is a sentiment we have heard often as a ministry, and one I believe that all those in the Saints Prison Ministry’s family need to consider and have firmly answered in our own hearts and minds, so we can be ready to give an answer to those that would challenge the validity and necessity of our ministry.
As he set out to disprove that question, the article contained the author’s observations on prisoners working the system, using ministries like ours for short term benefits and tossing their Bibles as soon as their time is up. My first thought was, this is no different than how many people treat the church and God Himself. Instead of “Jailhouse Religion” they have “Crisis Religion”. Every time they find themselves in the midst of a health, relationship, financial or any other crisis you can think of, they run to the church and/or God. Then as soon as the crisis is over, they are nowhere to be found. Because of this, do we ask “is church and God worth it?”
We can’t be so naive (and I don’t think we are) to believe that every inmate we share truth with will respond to that truth in the right manner. As I have said many times before and early on in my time with the Saints, all we are responsible for is to be obedient to do what God has called us to do – to share His truth and then leave the results up to Him.
So, I challenge all of us (myself included) that if we ever start to question if our ministry is worth it, that we stop and understand that our service in this ministry is as much, maybe more, about our obedience to go and serve/minister as it is about what happens with the inmates. With that in mind our answer to the question posed by this article should always be an unequivocal NO!