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You hold in your hands the key to a great treasure box. Inside the box is gold, silver, and precious jewels. The box in which these treasures are contained is rather unusual–not really very appealing. It is surrounded by razor wire, electrified fences, and armed guard towers. But inside there is great treasure . . . men and women, precious to God, who are waiting for YOU.

The manual you hold in your hands–“You Came Unto Me”–is a training guide for jail and prison ministry. This manual provides instruction for every level of involvement:

-The minimal level of corresponding with an inmate.

-Visiting one-on-one with inmates.

-Ministering in group worship services, special programs, or Bible studies inside an institution.

-Assisting inmate’s families.

-Providing post-prison ministry upon an inmate’s release from a penal institution.

It includes instruction on dress and safety codes, institution and inmate typology, and how to relate to inmates in such a way that they will be attracted to the Gospel message and receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

This manual is designed to be used as a training course for:

-Individuals who have a desire to get involved in jail and prison ministry.

-Churches planning to start jail and prison outreaches.

-Denominations desiring to involve their churches in such ministries.

-Bible colleges desiring to offer jail and prison ministry training to students.

-Chaplains who need a training tool for training their volunteers.

Each chapter includes instructional objectives to guide the learning experience and a self-test to measure individual progress. (Answers to self-tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter in this manual and may be removed by the instructor if they do not want students to have access to them.)


Upon conclusion of this training manual you will be able to:

  • Provide references for the scriptural mandate for prison ministry.
  • Explain why believers should be involved in prison ministry.
  • Articulate the spiritual goals of jail and prison ministry.
  • List the social goals of jail and prison ministry.
  • Summarize what the Gospel has to offer prison inmates.
  • Determine your role in prison ministry.
  • Summarize the spiritual qualifications for a prison ministry worker.
  • Identify four areas of preparation vital to effective prison ministry.
  • Summarize the steps for starting a prison ministry.
  • Identify various types of ministries which you might provide in an institution.
  • Prepare and submit a proposal for prison ministry.
  • Recruit and train volunteers.
  • Explain how to get started corresponding with an inmate.
  • Summarize guidelines for corresponding with inmates.
  • Explain why personal visitation is an important ministry.
  • Explain how to get involved in one-on-one visitation with inmates.
  • Summarize guidelines for visiting individually with an inmate.
  • Identify various group meetings that can be conducted in jails and prisons.
  • Summarize guidelines for conducting group meetings.
  • Explain why inmates’ families are often in crisis.
  • Identify ways in which you can minister to inmates’ families.
  • Summarize guidelines for ministering to inmates’ families.
  • Explain how to start a ministry to death row inmates.
  • Discuss guidelines for ministering to death row inmates.
  • Explain how to help a death row inmate prepare to die.
  • Identify common needs of ex-offenders.
  • Describe types of post-prison ministries.
  • List steps for starting a post-prison ministry.  Determine your role in post-prison ministry.
  • Demonstrate understanding of institutional security levels.
  • Discuss differences between jails and prisons.
  • Discuss common inmate typology.
  • Explain how to deal with inmates who maintain their innocence.  Describe dress codes applicable for all penal institutions.
  • Summarize safety codes applicable for all penal institutions.
  • Give guidelines for surviving a hostage incident.
  • Explain the first rule for relating with inmates.
  • Summarize guidelines for relating to inmates.
  • Define a “setup,” explain how it occurs, and how to avoid it.