FBC prison ministry meets every Monday night from 7:00 to 9:00pm at the Orange Correctional Center, Hillsborough, NC. This ministry has been ongoing since April 1975. Since the ministry began God has blessed it to meet, as of May 16, 2005, for 1560 consecutive Monday nights, without missing a single Monday Night Bible Study. Praise and glory belong to God for all that has been accomplished in this ministry. The program format is simple. After the meeting room is set up for the Bible study an announcement is made over the unit PA system for the Bible study program. All the men wishing to attend are allowed to come. After a short greeting some songs are sung and then there is a sharing time that allows each man to briefly share what is going on in his life and any prayer requests that he has. There is then an extended prayer time and every prayer request that was noted is brought before the Lord. The rest of the time is spent in Bible study. Over the years many of these men have come to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior and others have rededicated their lives.
The Need for Prison Ministries
Several years ago a prison chaplain at the largest prison facility in western North Carolina conducted a study over a long period of time. His study revealed that almost 90% of all of the inmates incarcerated at the time had been in prison before and statistics showed that they would be in prison again within 5 years after they were released. Also, his study showed that of all the inmates who participated in a Bible study or received some other form of spiritual training while incarcerated, that less than 10% of those inmates ever went to prison again. Although the prison system tries to rehabilitate those incarcerated, the law prohibits any religious training being put into practice. For many inmates incarceration is a spiritual awakening. This is where God has opened a “large door” for the Church in the form of prison ministries such as Bible studies.
The Cost of Incarceration
As of May 14, 2005 the prison population in North Carolina was 37,090. The average cost of incarceration of an inmate was $62.43 per day. The average cost to incarcerate an inmate for a year was $22,787. This figure multiplied by 37,090 is $845,169,830. This figure does not take into consideration the cost of building new prison facilities and hiring more prison personnel and management. Nor does it take into consideration the cost of police and sheriff’s departments, courts, attorneys, jails, lost time, and wages, not mention the terrible costs placed on all levels of society, or the inmates’ families. It is estimated that the State of North Carolina will spend in excess of one billion dollars in 2005 combating the costs of crime. Far worse is the loss of an inmate’s soul. At the present time there are more men incarcerated in the United States than there are in all of the armed forces of the United States combined.
How You Can Help
If you are looking for a worthwhile ministry to invest your time and one where the need is great and cost effective then you need look no further. If you are interested in this ministry please call the FBC church office at (919) 688-7308 or email Jack Evans.