“I was in prison and You came to me” Matthew 25:36
One of the goals for our current church plant in West St. Tammany Parish was to develop a sustained discipling presence at our local jail (which houses over 1,100) and to connect with their families on the outside. We have been able to walk with a group of guys through Celebrate Recovery, we’ve began a Sunday AM worship gathering at the Jail complex, we hope to launch a state approved Faith based recovery program this month, and we have seen several families of inmates plug in with Bridge Church. I have personally enjoyed being involved in these ministries and seeing the transformation in lives of men on the inside. Why? Two reasons at 10pm on Thursday night:
- The goal is community transformation. To transform a community requires a willingness to go to the dark corners with the light. What good is it, if our church grows, but the community continues to deteriorate. Reducing recidivism and bringing hope to the inmate is one way for churches to push back darkness in our communities.
- The heart of Christ – “I was in prison and You came to me.” Christ’s example to us was, whatever it takes, and that’s how he desires for us to live.
Last weekend, Bridge Church, sponsored the first ever Family Day at a local Work Release Center. It was great to see the second part of that goal coming to pass as we connected with families of inmates. It was also great to see members/partners of Bridge Church giving themselves in service to the prisoner.
Here’s part of a recent letter received at our church, written by an inmate in a local jail:
“Thank you for your part in bringing something so goo to a situation that is mostly filled with loneliness and loss and despair.”
“It is lonely here as a Christian and you coming here and bringing the Spirit you have is bitter sweet. It just magnifies the lack of it in so many others we are forced to live with. So, thank you for the time you spend with us.”
Glad to be part of a church that reflects the desire of Christ – “I was in prison and You came to me.”