Prisoners in Christ (formerly Christians for Prisoners/Prisoners for Christ) is an outreach ministry of Church of the Servant Christian Reformed Church. Formed in 2005, the ministry grew out of a need for Christian prisoners to live out the disciplined life of a true follower of Jesus Christ. It took root through a vision that God revealed to Troy Rienstra in 2003. Troy, a Christian inmate, saw Christians behind bars being trained to be effective disciples while serving their sentences, and uniting to the church of Jesus Christ though communion (letter-writing, visits, sharing the sacraments, and responsible involvement) before and after release from prison.
See also the Prisoners in Christ blog.
The foundation of Prisoners in Christ is Christ’s commission to “go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey” (Matt. 28:19-20). The mission is to build connections between “bond” and “free” groups of followers of Jesus Christ for the purpose of discipleship and building unity.
- Care and support of those being released from prison through the CONTACT reentry support group.
- Partnership with Troy Rienstra, a COS member and prisoner in the Michigan Department of Corrections.
- Education and advocacy about restorative justice.
- Sponsorship of the Life Change Seminar series at Handlon prison in Ionia, Mich.
- Prayer for prison and reentry programs, including Celebration Fellowship, an emerging congregation in two prisons in Ionia, Mich. Read a Grand Rapids Press article about the congregation. Read the Celebration Fellowship winter 2013 newsletter.
Message from Troy Rienstra
Our movement, Prisoners in Christ, seeks to have candidates be mentored and equipped for effectively carrying out evangelical work and church planting during their “tour of duty” within the prison system.
God has created a unique and advantageous opportunity by positioning several men in various prisons who share the same zeal and vision for the increase of the family of God. Our vision is that prisoners will be equipped to become more active in the ministry of the word, that they will be able to observe the sacraments, and that church discipline will help establish integrity and virtue as standards for the prison church.
It is important for the prison church to have an impact within its immediate community. We are called to serve, not to be served, and to minister outwardly by doing all things for the building up of the body of Christ. I challenge and call upon Christians in prison to become faithful in tithing, develop an outreach ministry through their “congregations” and always intercede in prayer for someone they don’t know personally, as well as for those they do know. This is how we can be used by God, and this is the only way a change will come.