When I first became a Christian I was unsure what doctrine was and I would often hear ‘we don’t hold to any doctrine because doctrine divides.’ But something within, perhaps my old rebel nature, wanted to rebel and at least know what doctrine meant. By chance (God) I started listening to a Christian radio broadcast called ‘Renewing Your Mind’ with R. C. Sproul. I became a fan simply because what he was teaching had ‘meat’ on it. I don’t remember how long it was before I realized that I was being taught doctrine. I confess I’ve become a 'theology junkie.’ I started acquiring different Bible translations from NLT to NASB, feasted on the teaching of not only R. C. Sproul, but also on the likes of C. H. Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, A. W. Pink, John Calvin, Augustine, and more. I started attending my current church, Redeemer Fellowship, where a heavy emphasis is placed on teaching theology and doctrine. However, God began to convict me about how I was using what He was teaching me. Was I learning to boast on what I knew and glorify myself or was I going to use it to glorify God and God alone? So, through prayer and a humbling heart God lead me to teach my students theology matters.
Prisons like a lot of churches attract many with a false theology and unsound doctrine that adds up to a false Gospel. To begin to counter the false Gospels one needs to know the Bible and one comes to know the Bible not just by reading it 15 – 30 minutes a day but by studying, mediating and praying in God’s Word.
Don’t be satisfied in just saying ‘I’m saved.’ Begin to ask questions on things you don’t fully understand. At the start of each class session I invite the students to submit questions they may have on a topic or an interpretation of God’s Word and I’ll do my best to get back to them the following week with teachings on the question asked by renowned theologians with Scripture to support the teaching.
“We have to determine our theology from the Word of God, not from what we feel.”
R. C. Sproul
I’m currently teaching a course entitled ‘A Soldier’s Call to Study the Bible.’ Based on David Platt’s four-part video teaching series ‘How to Study the Bible.’ It has been well received after the first two weeks of classes. Though not definite, pending review of various curriculums, I’m planning to teach the classes ‘A Soldier’s Call to Pray,’ teaching the students how to make their prayers more vibrant and confident by praying God’s will, and ‘A Soldier’s Call to Know God’ teaching the students the attributes of God.
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Titus 2:1 ESV
My push on theology matters and sound doctrine is often met with skepticism and some first time students may drop the class when they see the class involves more then discussing what certain passages of Scripture means to them. But over time those who stay have seen it bare fruit in their lives and they begin to share the truths of God and His Word with fellow inmates. The class size of the first discipleship class at Sheridan was ten students. Today there are two classes with a max enrollment of 40 students in each.
To Him be the glory
Ghost-Train Prison slang referring to the act of repeatedly transferring a "problem-inmate" from facility-to-facility or unit-to-unit as a security precaution. i.e.: he's constantly getting put on the "ghost-train"
Courtesy of Inside Prison
In the Classroom
I often wonder if people think my serving in prison ministry is just a few hours a day, a couple of days a week, and a few hours of admin here and there. Having just started the fall term of classes, I myself was reminded of how much goes into a week of prison ministry.
I won’t get to detailed as it then sounds like whining because I love what I do. There are times I do get drained of energy but that happens with everybody who has work and a family.
My weekly prepping for ‘A Soldier’s Call to Renewing Fatherhood’ is not that much. I’ve been teaching the same curriculum, “InsideOut Dad Christian”, in both Dixon and Sheridan since November 2011 and I’m very familiar with the weekly lessons. I only need to prep for the administration part, the printing of various articles distributed to the students. The articles are related to the area of fatherhood I’ll be teaching that week and there are usually three or four articles.
My weekly prepping for the discipleship class is more time consuming. This season I’m teaching ‘How to Study the Bible’ by David Platt, a set of four 1-hour videos. I prep a few weeks in advance to avoid any time crunch. I’ll watch each video lesson at least two times and using the transcripts make notes highlighting key points to address in the class. The week of the class I’ll watch the video once more and review my annotations and make revisions.
Wednesdays & Fridays are my actual days in the prisons. On Wednesdays I go to Dixon. I arrive at the main gate at 9:30 am and will teach ‘A Soldier’s Call to Renewing Fatherhood’ and the current discipleship class, leave around 3:00 pm. On Fridays I’m at Sheridan. It’s the same as Dixon except I teach two discipleship class and leave around 7 pm.
In addition to the prepping and teaching I keep track of attendance, respond to student requests for information on a Bible passage or various topics like predestination, eternal security. Quite often I’m asked to explain an alleged contradiction. Last task is the transcribing of prayer requests into my Mac for later distribution and review material for future classes.
SOCPM to Cease!
SOCPM is ceasing as a corporation, only. Was that a headline grabber? SOCPM is becoming an official ministry of Redeemer Fellowship Church of Saint Charles, IL. SOCPM has been a ministry of Redeemer in support and endorsement but has been it’s own entity.
Nothing changes in the mission and vision of SOCPM. I’ll still steward the ministry and do all that I’ve been doing. This is something I’ve been considering for awhile and was recently placed on the front burner when I began to investigate all the paperwork required if I was to pay myself a salary. My spiritual gift is teaching and I enjoy teaching. I do not have the spiritual gift of administration. I can fake the admin part in but when the admin becomes more involved with taxes and the like I don’t feel at peace faking it.
I met with the Elders on August 19th to make it official. I’ll become an employee of Redeemer and donations made to Redeemer and designated for SOCPM prison ministry will pay my $250 a month salary as well as all operating expenses.
I’m truly excited about this change for a number of reasons but primarily I feel SOCPM is a full member of the Redeemer family.
The Numbers are…
6,912 - Total world languages in the world.
2,286 - Total world languages that do not have a Bible in their language.
Secret Church 3: How to Study the Bible Part 1
Online Giving Coming Soon!!
I don't have an exact date other then soon, but when soon actually arrives you'll be able to start giving support to SOCPM online with reoccurring and one time giving. Stay Tuned!!!
SOLDIERS OF CHRIST IS DONOR SUPPORTED
Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries
P. O. Box 671
Cortland, IL 60112
I believe the Lord has many plans for SOCPM in 2015, but your financial and prayer support is a must. The expenses to accomplish the above will exceed SOCPM's current monthly giving. Additionally I've not paid myself any salary since SOCPM became my vocation in November 2009. I hope to begin
to pay myself a minimal monthly salary in 2015.
If you are a current monthly financial partner or
have given in the past, thank you! If you aren't
currently a monthly partner or have given a
one time gift before, would you please pray
about becoming a monthly financial partner?
1125 Oak St.
St. Charles, IL 60174
Please note "Prison Ministry" in memo to direct
the gift to Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries