For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
Luke 19:10

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Taking the Gospel into Prison

Andrew Adams, Dominion Street Gospel Hall,  Orillia, Ontario, kindly submitted this report. If you have any questions you can contact him by email.

In 1993, a former Sunday School scholar found himself in the Barrie Jail and word got back to Andrew Adams that he was there. He went and visited him. After sentencing, he was transferred to the institution in Brantford, and met some Christians who were doing prison outreach work there. He told them that someone in Orillia might be interested in that kind of work. Andrew Adams was contacted by the leader of New Life Prison Ministry from Arva, ON because the chaplain at Beaver Creek (a minimum security institution) in Gravenhurst was asking him for some inmate visitation services.

Some brethren at Dominion Hall in Orillia were willing and started an inmate visitation program in May 1994 which has continued to this day. Hundreds of men have been exposed to the gospel, some have been saved, and others are routinely being brought by their fellow inmates.

When the medium security institution (Fenbrook) was built in the same area, the chaplain recommended we apply for access to it. That was done, and now we alternate week by week between the two institutions. Since then, the assemblies who gather at Deer Lake, Midland, Lindsay, and North Bay have also started their own inmate visitation activity. Deer Lake is close enough to the Beaver Creek site that the brethren from that assembly go and pick up approved inmates, bring them to their own weekly gospel meetings, and then take them back before their curfew.

The men come willingly, there is no coercion by the guards, so we must make the time attractive and informative. Our brethren use Christian films and videos that depict the changes in lives through the salvation of God, and then have time for one-on-one with the inmates. The spiritual growth in the lives and testimonies of the participating brethren has been a real encouragement to the saints at the Orillia assembly.

The greatest challenge is to supply meaningful Christian contact for the men after they leave the minimum security institution, because they are only there for about two years. Unfortunately, some find themselves back in again, and the brethren recognize them and have to start all over again!


In 2001, Andrew Adams (a professional accountant) was approached to help financially with the books at a local soup kitchen and men's hostel in Orillia, known as Lighthouse Christian Ministries, operated by a multi-denominational group from this city. Every day, before the lunch is served, the street people who gather must listen to a brief gospel message. He was asked if someone from our church might be interested in participating in this work. Harry Pronk, from the assembly here, took on this work himself and has faithfully gone Monday mornings to preach the gospel to them. They call him "the Pastor", and he has had many a conversation with the street people who gather there each day. That work also carries on faithfully.


In the fall of 2007, the assembly was challenged to have a monthly "Community Supper" when any citizen in the City of Orillia could come to the Hall, have a meal prepared by the sisters of the assembly, and hear a gospel message. This now takes place on the third Lord's Day of each month from October to June. Presently, we are averaging about 45 to 60 guests each time. Many of them are the folks from the Monday morning lunch time, who come because Harry Pronk has invited them! But the word is being preached and they are responsible. Some have come to our regular gospel meetings as a result, but most are just interested in "the loaves and fishes" (John 6:26). If the Lord suffered the same rejection of His word, what can we say? This work, too, is ongoing.

Brethren and Sisters, preach the Word simply and faithfully. We are not responsible for the success of the gospel, but we are responsible to communicate the message that we have believed! The Holy Spirit of God will do His own work with the Word that has been preached.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't know much about prison ministry but this sounds very fruitful. Many of these men, because of where they find themselves, would be at rock bottom. What better place to be when the Holy Spirit comes calling through a message or visit?! Just a guess, but I would have to think prison ministry to be one of the most succesfull places to spread God's love via the Gospel.