The Apostle Peter says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9). When the good news of the gospel has penetrated your heart their is a natural response to want to see the same life change in others. That is why at Mercy Hill we believe that every member is a missionary. It is not simply the job of the pastors to do the work of the ministry but rather it is the task of the people to boldly proclaim the Word of God. Here is a great example from one of our Mercy Hill members – Inkwon – who is doing just that. We hope it is an encouragement and a challenge.
“On November 2012, representatives from various local ministries were invited to speak at the church I was attending. During the course of the night, I felt strongly led to one particular missions…the prison ministry. The next day I called the associate pastor in charge of missions, after expressing my interest, I was told that the church would organize a meeting for those interested in volunteering but not until early 2013. My immediate thought was thanksgiving and Christmas – wouldn’t the inmates need to hear the gospel now more than any other time of the year? The holidays can be a brutal season for people in general, I couldn’t begin to imagine what it would be like to be incarcerated.”
“I decided to contact the Chaplin at Greensboro correctional facility directly and was told that in order to volunteer for prison ministry, a church sponsorship was required and that individuals were not allowed but had to be a part of a church group. The phone conversation with the Chaplin ended with his suggestion that I contact my church.”
“The holidays came and went but the Holy Spirit kept this ministry in my heart. Starting the first week of January 2013, I began emailing and calling the associate pastor regarding the prison ministry, but continued to see no movement. At this point I had all but given up – “Perhaps I’m not right for this, maybe my faith is still weak for this type of witnessing,” I told myself. I prayed to God that he would use me where ever he saw fit, if it wasn’t prison ministry then something else…anything.”
“The next month, I witnessed the sheer awesomeness of God, I reconnected with a classmate from elementary school with whom I had not spoken to in 25+ years. The catalyst for me and Demond’s reunion was his devotion to Christ, which was spelled out via his Facebook posts. You know that feeling you get of immediate closeness and excitement when you run into another believer? Well, I felt this esprit de corps and after a brief IM exchange we decided to meet up for lunch to catch up.”
“It was over the “Thursday lunch special” at a Greek diner in high point, where we swapped stories of rebellion and how fatefully Christ became our center. I expressed to Demond my frustrations with the church regarding the red tape and bureaucracy of organizing a church sanctioned ministry to inmates. After my vent session, Demond just had a big grin…he said “I know the Chaplin at high point correctional, in fact I did prison ministry 2 years ago and wanted to start it up again but was being lazy about it…you wanna do it together?” With these words I was just basking in the glory and grace of God.”
“For 5 months now, every Monday night, Demond and I share the gospel with those that society rejects. To be honest and I think I get much more out of this ministry than the inmates. It never ceases to amaze me how evident the presence of the Holy Spirit is at the prison and every time I’m a witness to this my faith grows and I’m constantly encouraged. Without fail, when sharing the gospel with an inmate I don’t even recognize the words that are coming out of my mouth or my reference to a certain verse or chapter in scripture…you see I have terrible memory and by nature I’m introverted a man of by few words to say the least and totally awkward in social settings, my loving wife will attest to this. But man, when ministering to the prison’s general population the Holy Spirit just takes hold of my words, memory, and the confidence to approach an inmate who’s intently watching an episode of “the Simpsons.” It’s a constant, every Monday night time after time witness the Holy Spirit not only working through me but also through the inmates. Thus far, I’ve witnessed two inmates come to Lord and I’ve seen the Holy Spirit encourage a number of other believers.”
“So I guess if there’s a take away to my experience it’s that…if it’s in His will it WILL happen, if you have a calling from the Holy Spirit answer it, ignore the world and self doubt and finally…we received a gift that’s meant to be shared and what you give does not compare to what you receive. I am constantly in awe of the awesomeness of our Heavenly Father.”
For more info on how to partner with Inkwon or to get invovled in a prison ministry here in the Triad contact email@example.com.