Dozens of books have been published proving that the people of a place are the best ministers for that place. Missions around the world now recognize the priority of native believers in the work of reaching the lost.
Why then is it so hard to accept that incarcerated men and women can be empowered as disciples and leaders for the kingdom? Why is it so difficult to believe that the best ministers for prisons might be redeemed prisoners?
This is not a full answer, but I see at least 4 problems at play.
A Missiological Problem: We don’t view prison ministry as missions. We view it as compassionate charity. Missions is evangelizing, equipping, and empowering disciples to be strong and mature in the Lord. Charity is alleviating suffering. We view prison ministry as the latter, when in truth it should be the former.
A Theological Problem: We don’t believe in the equal status of incarcerated Christians. We apply the logic of the justice system, which strips…