The Prisoner’s Journey (TPJ) program is part of Prison Fellowship International’s (PFI) exciting work in worldwide evangelization. Our purpose for 35 years has been to share God’s redemptive love and transforming power with prisoners, exprisoners, and their families. From our founding
in 1979, we have grown to more than 125 countries and now engage 45,000 volunteers around the globe in prison ministry. We are considered the world’s leading prison ministry organization and are recognized by the United Nations as a consultant and content expert in prison-related issues.1
However, much work remains. Millions of prisoners and their families have never been introduced to Jesus Christ. They have never received any tangible expression of His love in the form of someone reaching out to meet them in their desperation, and we have yet to establish a strong presence in over half of the more than 22,000 prisons in the world.
Today, over 10 million prisoners are incarcerated around the globe. Most of these men and women have never heard or understood the good news of the gospel. They have never experienced the transforming power of God’s love. Many are alienated from their families, communities, and God, representing one of the least reached people groups in the world.
Evangelization is core to PFI’s purpose: “Proclaim and demonstrate the redemptive love and transforming power of Jesus Christ.” All PFI national ministries are engaged in some form of evangelization within prisons, inviting prisoners to enter into or renew a relationship with Jesus Christ and his church.
Our opportunity for ministry in prisons around the world continues to grow. Today, 45,000 PF volunteers are conducting prison ministry activities in 31 percent of the prisons in their respective countries.2 This translates into nearly 2 million prisoners that national ministries have direct access to on a regular basis around the world.
No other organization is better positioned to reach prisoners with the transforming message of Jesus Christ. PFI has the mandate, mission, and global reach to ensure millions of prisoners around the world can understand who Jesus is, why he came, and what he calls them to do.
The Prisoner’s Journey has five phases, which take place over six months. The program is designed to run twice a year.
- Preparation Phase (3 months): This includes aspects of internal preparation: recruiting and training volunteers, and inviting prisoners to join the program.
- Promotion Phase (2 months): This phase culminates in a large, in-prison event, held twice a year.
- The Course Phase (2 months): An eight-week course, on the gospel of Mark, is run by trained TPJ course leaders.
- Discipleship Phase (2 months): Program coordinators and national ministry leaders choose one of five prequalified programs following the course.
- Evaluation Phase (ongoing): Tools are supplied to evaluate all aspects of TPJ.
- Partnerships with PF national ministries and other ministries to deliver the program
- Structured, repeatable, and built on best practices to ensure a consistent, high-quality experience in every location
- Offers an invitation to explore a relationship with Jesus Christ
- The heart of the course is to let the gospel reveal the gospel, without preaching or manipulation
- Eight teaching sessions based on the Book of Mark
- Facilitative format is volunteer-driven and explorative in nature
- The course is culturally relevant and video- assisted
- A turn-key kit includes a full suite of materials to guide national ministry leaders and volunteers in delivering the program
TPJ is designed to appeal to prisoners, to address their psychosocial and spiritual needs, to work within the institutional realities of prisons around the world, to adapt to diverse cultural, religious, and social contexts, to respect all Christian traditions, and to attract participation by national ministries, churches, volunteers, and donors.