“While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ On hearing this, Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners'” (Matthew 9:10-13, NIV).
Mark Hubbell, Northwest Executive Director of Prison Fellowship Ministries, is one of many who takes this passage to heart. Hubbell spoke Friday in Corban’s Chapel, informing students about prison ministry and how they can become involved through the REACH program.
Hubbell’s journey to prison ministry began when, in 1976, he read Born Again by Chuck Colson. Colson’s testimony was a powerful tool that God used to direct Hubbell to prison ministry, and more specifically Prison Fellowship Ministries.
Prison Fellowship Ministries is responsible for reaching more than 713,000 inmates with the Gospel and leading over 53,000 men and women to accept Christ or to rededicate their lives to Him. While this is amazing progress, there is still work to be done.
His work of ministering to prisoners has never been easy. The hardest thing to overcome in prison ministry, according to Hubbell, is getting the church on board with what he is trying to accomplish. Many Christians are hesitant when it comes to embracing prison ministries, entertaining false notions about what preaching to prisoners is like. When the church does not have a perspective based on biblical truth, Hubbell finds it hard to give the prisoners the truth they need to set them free from sin.
Bruce, a former inmate, shared his testimony Friday morning with Corban’s students, and his message was a powerful one: “Some might hold against me my extensive criminal record. But there is One who doesn’t.”
If you feel led to make a difference in an incarcerated persons’ life, visit the organizations website, www.prisonfellowship.org, where you can volunteer or make a donation.