Church Behind Bars: Who they are; how they grow.
“Church” is a word that we are all used to. For some, it is the gathering of God’s people; for others, just a building with a cross on top. The first time the word “Church” was revealed to us in the Bible, was in Matthew 16:18, when at Peter’s statement of Jesus being the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, Jesus responded “… on that rock (truth) I will build my Church.” (Mt 16:18)
For many, a church is a group of people who act and dress in a certain way and are judged by those standards. If you don’t match with the establishment standards, it is doubted that you are part of the “Church”.
Even Jesus’ disciples at some point though that they were the only “legal” church. One day, John came to Jesus and said: “Master, we saw someone driving out demons in your name. We tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” And Jesus replied: “Do not stop him. Anyone who is not against you is for you.” (Lk 9:49)
The Church is not an institution, but a living organism that is born, grows, matures and multiplies. It never dies though, because it’s Jesus’ body and its life comes from God through the Holy Spirit. Yet, it is as diverse as God is creative. It might be different in the different environments it grows, but if all churches have the same foundation: Salvation through faith in Christ, we are the Church of God.
The Church Behind Bars is alive, it is growing and with this initiative, we are supporting it so that it may mature and multiply by itself in an organic way. Yes, it is unique and with its own identity, so it grows and multiplies in its own way, but founded in the Word of God.
There are great things the Lord is doing with this part of His Body that is behind the bars of a Correctional Institution! Rejoice and join us in this initiative, for “… Blind people “receive sight”. Disable people “walk”. Those who have skin diseases are “made clean”. Deaf people “hear”. Those who are dead are “raised to life”. And the “Good News is preached” to those who are poor”. (Mt 11:5)