The Fastest Growing Church in America
Many people are not aware of one of the most rapidly growing churches in the world. People by the thousands are attending services and becoming believers in Christ each year. “Where is this church?” you ask. It is within the walls of the jails, prisons and juvenile institutions all across the world
. As part of that growth last year over 1,350,000 inmates attended Prisoners for Christ services and more than 306,000 of these men and women became believers in Christ for the first time.
Evangelism vs. Discipleship
Prisoner for Christ is a very evangelistic ministry. However, evangelism is not the prize. Evangelism is only the means to get to the prize. The prize is “a changed life.” A dramatic life change does not generally happen overnight. I have heard testimonies of individuals who came to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and overnight had a complete change of heart and lifestyle. These examples are rare.
For most new believers, a dramatic life change occurs over time; in other words, it is a process. The old man does not want to die to self very easily. For some, a life change can occur in a matter of months; for others it is a matter of years; and for even others, it takes a life time.
The process of becoming more Christ-like (i.e. imitators of Christ) is what we call discipleship. A disciple is one who walks alongside someone who teaches him or her the ways of God. The process involved in getting an individual who has taken that very first step of faith in receiving Christ to become a full functioning warrior for God is time-consuming. It is messy. It is tiresome. It is frustrating. Yet it is what we are called to do in Jesus’ last instructions to his disciples: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations.”
Discipiling someone outside the 4 prison walls is a difficult task at best. Discipiling someone while in prison is an even greater task. This is what PFC is called to do. We believe the church on the “outside” has a responsibility to come alongside these new believers and provide mentoring and encouragement. One of the ways to do this is through the Prisoners for Christ Bible Study Correspondence School. Lessons in our curriculum are being mailed to inmates all across the country and are introducing many to God’s Word for the first time.
The Bible School- Project Sequoia
In all of God’s creation, among the tallest and oldest living things on earth is the Giant Sequoia. You can find the Sequoia at its finest along the western slopes of the Sierra Mountains where it tops out at just under a towering 300 feet. Its root system, the foundation on which it stands is only 4 to 5 feet deep, but expands over a very wide area.
In these forests are trees that are over 3200 years old. They have endured bugs, beetles, diseases, and fire. It is said that the average tree 1500 to 2000 years old has survived over 100 forest fires.
What’s the secret of life to these great trees? How is it that they survive when so many other trees succumb and fall? It’s their bark. The giant Sequoia has a layer of bark that is two feet thick. Not three inches, eight inches, or even twelve inches, but two feet. Hold your hands two feet apart. Can you begin to see the secret that keeps the Sequoia’s alive when other trees are being consumed by the flames and forces of nature?
We too, need two feet of bark in our lives. We are not trees. We are people. We need to find something that will protect us from the fires and trials of life. We need two feet of bark but unlike the Sequoia, we have to choose to wrap the bark around us.
Project Sequoia is all about learning to wrap ourselves in the bark of the power and protection of our Almighty God. It is about building spiritual strength, the heart of the Christian life. It is about building character, the branches of your Christian life and how you relate to others around you. It is about building endurance, the bark in the Christian life.
The Bible Study Correspondence School of Prisoners for Christ Outreach Ministries has developed a series of studies to develop these attributes in the life of an inmate; strength, character, and endurance. As we can learn from the giant Sequoia, we must have a firm and broad foundation to withstand the forces that pound against us.
These lessons from the Bible are designed to give a foundation to help the inmate grow in their Christian walk and draw from all that God has given us in His word.
All an inmate needs is a pen, a Bible and a willing heart. Multiple lessons in each of the units of the Basic Curriculum provide a foundation for an effective walk with God. The Advanced Curriculum has additional studies currently available, with more being developed to assist the student as they continue to grow in their walk with God.
We currently have over 2,400 inmates on our student body roster with more being added every day. Each student receives two lessons at a time. This course was designed to take two years to complete through the mail. We are adding lessons each year. We currently have 15 units of study. After each unit the student will receive a certificate of completion.
How can you help?
There are three areas that someone can get involved:
- Referral: Do you know an inmate that needs to be enrolled in our school? If yes please email Rhonda@pfcom.org : (A.) The inmates name and DOC number (B.) Institutions name and address
- Financial Partnership: You can make a monthly or one time donation at: https://www.servicenetwork.com/olg/pfc/donate.asp
- Volunteer to become a grader: If you are interested in being one of our 100 plus graders and you live in the Seattle Metropolitan area please contact Rhonda@pfcom.org
Unit 1 Basic Beliefs
Unit 2 Parables of Jesus-Part I
Unit 3 Parables of Jesus-Part II
Unit 4 Study on Prayer
Unit 5 Sharing Your Faith
Unit 6 Men of the Bible-Part I
Unit 7 Men of the Bible-Part II
Unit 8 Women of the Bible
Unit 9 I Corinthians
Unit 10 II Corinthians
Unit 11 Galatians
Unit 12 Ephesians
Unit 13 James
Unit 14 I, II, III John
Unit 15 Gospel of John