By Pastor Diane J. Robinson, Liberty Christian Center Church of God, Union City, CA
Going Where They Are
The Great Commission compels us to go into all the world and
preach the gospel (Matthew 28:18-20).
The Great Commandment challenges us to love God with everything within us and to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40).
In John 4:33-35, Jesus said to them, My food is to do the will of
Him who sent Me, and to finish
Do you not say, There are still four months and then comes the harvest?
Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for
they are already white for harvest!
If we are going to respond to the call of the commission, comply with the command to love, and participate in finishing the work of Jesus, we have to get out of our comfort zones.
Did anyone else hear the words of Jesus in Matthew 25? . . . I
was in prison and you came to Me. Then the righteous will answer
Him . . .
when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You? And
the King will answer and say to them, Assuredly, I say to
you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren,
you did it to Me.
Tuesday night of each week, we go into the Santa Rita County Jail
to do a chapel service for medium security ladies. This facility
holds both federal and state prisoners and has three levels of
security: minimum, medium and maximum. I have ministered to ladies
only there for a few months and those who will be transported to
state prison for many years. I have also ministered to prisoners
(both men and women) in maximum security who are doing long-term
sentences. I am often asked the question, Aren't
you afraid to go into jail or prison to minister?
My response is that only a fool would not be afraid. No, I'm
not afraid of their faces. I am consciously aware of my environment
the necessary Spiritual warfare. I'm totally leaning into God
knowing that I can do nothing without Him. He must be present in His
might and power if anything wonderful is going to happen. Each week
I say to God; If You don't go, I'm not going. Each
week He shows up!
I grew up as a child in a depressed area in West Oakland, CA. Many
of the people that I grew up with are strung out on drugs, in prison
or dead. I am the youngest of four children who had the covering
of a praying mother over us. Our father died when I was four years
I have memories of our mother laid out on the floor many nights
before the Lord pleading for God's protection and salvation for
It was not uncommon to hear gunshots and someone would yell out,
Hit the deck. As far as I know, my mother's family was the
only one in that neighborhood that did not suffer the loss or imprisonment
of a child.
What I have experienced is that God took all that the enemy meant for me as evil and used it for good. I have a certain understanding of the mentality of the people in the jail system, a sense of the community many have come from and a passion for their deliverance.
husband, Peter and I pastor Liberty Christian Center, a three-year-old
toddler in Union City. We know that it is not by chance that several
women that I minister to behind bars are from the community where
our church is located.
There was a woman in my chapel service who told me each week, When
I get out I'm coming to your church and I'm bringing my family.
I hear this often, but many never make it we keep praying
for them. This particular women was released about two months ago,
has been attending services faithfully on Sundays and Wednesdays,
she brings about 15 family members with her. Pastor Peter and I
go to their house on Friday nights and do house evangelism. In
garage, there have been as many as 17 people gathered for encouragement,
exhortation and prayer. Yes, we lay on of hands, anoint with oil
pray. As a result, some of these people who have never attended
a church are attending Liberty and have accepted Jesus as their
Lord and Savior.
Here are a few ideas for prison ministry:
1. Don't go unless God calls you. It's not the place for lone
2. Go only with your pastor's consent and blessings.
3. Contact the chaplain's office of the facility where you choose
to minister and ask what the procedures are to get in.
4. Start decreasing realize you are nothing on your own,
so the power of God can start increasing in you.
5. Fast and pray often. You are going into battle in Spiritual realms. Casting out demons is vital to your ministry.
6. Get under a strong prayer covering. Have every prayer warrior that you know to pray for you especially at the time you are in the facility. Pray for souls and safety, etc.
7. Establish common interest. Present music that your group can relate to and encourage participation. Respond to their request for music when appropriate.
8. Arouse Spiritual interest. Ask about their experiences in life and religion.
9. Develop trust without condemning unnecessarily. Telling your
group to turn or burn will render you ineffective.
10. Share your testimony. Your testimony of where God brought you from is your most effective witness. Deal with the skeletons in your closet so God can use your past as your platform.
11. Open the group time with a strong prayer, taking authority over the powers of Satan, dismissing him from the start, in the name of Jesus Christ and loosing the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.
12. Be friendly but not foolish. Love those that you are ministering
to and remember where you are. (I remind my team to pray with their
eyes open, always being aware of what's going on in the chapel.)
13. Allow God to direct you and trust in the One who is sending you.
14. Keep the group time focused. Discern between those who simply
want attention and those who are serious. Kindly say, Thank you for
sharing that, we need to move on, God bless you.
15. Confront directly. If you have established a rapport and trust, this opens the way for the gospel message of salvation. Don’t sugar coat. They want a gospel message that will set them free because they are sick of their lives.
God has been so faithful to bless this ministry. Many souls have
been won to the Lord. There have been many healings and deliverances
from demonic possession and oppression. Please pray for us on Tuesday
nights. Chapel service is from 7:30 p.m. - 9:15 p.m. Perhaps
you, too, hear Jesus call to visit Him in prison.