Many men and women come to faith in Jesus while in prison. In some cases, they might have come to faith prior to committing their crime and were not fully living their faith or had not overcome addictions that still controlled their life. Occasionally there are those who are wrongly convicted. These believers often grow dramatically while in prison as they have plenty of time to read the Bible and connect with Christian groups in the prison, one of which is Yokefellowship. Upon release, many of these believers struggle fitting back into society. And more importantly, they struggle finding the fellowship they experienced while incarcerated and a church family that will welcome and help them continue their walk with Christ. The Body of Christ is alive and well in many institutions across the state.
Yokefellows is looking to partner with churches in Pennsylvania:
- As a source of new volunteers,
- To raise awareness of what God is doing in the lives of inmates and returning citizens, and the struggles they face, and
- To become ministry partner to help returning citizens
Source of Volunteers
Yokefellowship is looking for new volunteers to minister inside correctional facilities, to help returning citizens and to help with organizational tasks. New volunteers are considered Volunteers-in Training for a period of time depending upon a number of factors and are assigned a coach during that time. All volunteers are required to attend training sessions at least once every two years. Training is offered locally, regionally, and at our annual conference.
While it may be difficult to find prison ministry volunteers, Yokefellows resists the urge to accept anyone who expresses an interest. The cost of placing the wrong volunteer in prison ministry can negatively impact the spiritual well-being and even the eternal destiny of those we serve, as well as negatively impact the ministry itself.
Whenever possible, Yokefellowship staff and volunteers are available for presentations to congregations, ministry groups, and others wishing to help. The goal is to raise awareness of what God is doing in the lives of inmates and returning citizens and the importance of connecting them with other believers and loving congregations. Testimonies of returning citizens are shared when possible.
Become a Ministry Partner to Help Returning Citizens
Yokefellowship is committed to cultivating a transitional environment where these believers can connect with churches on the outside who will help them to continue to grow in their faith and put their spiritual gifts to use in the body of Christ.
Working Together – YPM brings to the table more than 60 years of experience in prison ministry and working with returning citizens. Local churches bring to the table the fellowship and nurturing that is needed at the local level. They play a pivotal role in the daunting task of successfully transitioning back into society.
“…the Church can manifest the love of Christ to these ex-prisoners and help them become ambassadors for Christ who are grounded in God’s Word, dependent on prayer, anchored in the local church, experiencing freedom from destructive habits, and living out the calling to be salt and light in their families and communities.”Pat Nolan, Prison Fellowship
We are currently in the process of establishing a database of churches that welcome returning citizens. We would like for it to be more than a database; we would like to establish a working relationship with the churches so that we can work together and build on each other’s strengths. Below is a general description of YPM’s commitment to this relationship and what we ask of the church.
YPM commits to:
- Be available to assist and answer questions.
- Communicate the times of services and contact information of Partnering Churches to returning citizens.
- Offer a network of information through our website, volunteers and staff.
The Partnering Church commits to:
- Be in agreement with the YPM Statement of Faith.
- Provide an atmosphere of grace, mercy and nurture for returning citizens.
- Offer opportunities for relationships, spiritual development and personal growth beyond the Sunday morning service.
- Be committed to love and help the returning citizen develop to their fullest potential in Christ.
YPM understands that receiving former sex offenders into the congregation can present a unique set of challenges. So, we would like to specify in the database if congregations are open to receiving former sex offenders.
If your church is interested and would like to meet with a Yokefellows representative please contact us.