Become A Prison MinisterJune 14, 2012 by Reverend Vernon
Provide Spiritual And Emotional Support To Prisoners And Their Families
Why You Should Be A Prison Minister
It isn’t difficult for someone who feels a calling to be a minister of a church to do so thanks to online ministries like the Universal Life Church, and preaching to a congregation of free people is also relatively simple. Worship services meant for people who live outside the confines of prison walls are meant to provide food for thought, serve as reminders of the moral principles espoused by the denomination, and perhaps provide a little spiritual guidance. It can be a lot harder to start a prison ministry, however, as the incarcerated men and women prison ministers attend to frequently look to them for nothing less than salvation. Some elements of society like to look at convicts as the lowest, most horrible people on the planet, and America’s least sympathetic denizens would rather think that they don’t deserve any pity or that they are beyond saving. While it’s true that many prisoners commit terrible acts to merit their presence behind locked cell doors, many of the world’s myriad religions teach us that nobody is beyond saving. The “worst” of us have opportunities to turn our lives around, and even someone who will never get out of prison deserves a chance to find peace. This is why prison ministries are so important; they help those whom society have all but discarded to find solace and turn their life around. The American penal system is primarily meant to rehabilitate, after all, and there exists no greater way to save a soul than through the healing power of religion and spirituality.
Services Online Ministries Provide
Many churches and other Christian organizations have prison ministry programs and opportunities for members of their congregation to volunteer at a prison. These ministers and volunteers mentor convicts or ex-convicts, hold Bible studies in prisons and help those who are reentering society after serving their sentence to find employment and otherwise put their lives back together. These programs may also work closely with other counselors to advise prisoners and ex-convicts who have had problems with drugs and alcohol or even refer them to other counseling services. All of this doesn’t require a huge time commitment; most prison ministries ask for about three hours a week of their members’ time to visit a prison or a jail and minister to inmates. Prison ministry work doesn’t always need to be done live, either. Thanks to modern technology, online ministries have made it possible to deliver sermons, organize Bible studies or even speak to inmates entirely online.
The First Step: Get Your Online Ordination
The integral first step to becoming a prison minister is to get ordained. Fortunately, it’s not as difficult to get ordained as many people believe it is as the conventional ordination process isn’t the only option available to those interested in acquiring a ministers license any more. Anyone over the age of 18 with internet access and and a desire to spread the word of God can be a minister within the space of a couple of minutes. Universal Life Church ministers have had opportunities to become prison ministers for decades, starting when their parent organization was founded in the 1950s, and now thanks to online ministries like the ULC Ministries. These churches present only one of many ways in which someone can become a prison minister. If you want to start a prison ministry but are uninterested in acquiring an online ordination, we advise you speak to the pastor of your local church to learn more about how you can work as a prison minister. With luck, the church or the denomination it represents will already have an active prison ministry program in place. If they do not, feel free to petition the church to allow you to create such a program for them as most religious organizations are eager to extended a helping hand to inmates.
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