SERVE

  • IN PRISON
  • RE-ENTRY
  • FAMILIES

Lead male or female inmates in Christian discipleship and life skills training through Pathway to Freedom.

Contact:  Cameron Sheffield at (334) 207-6538 or cameronsheffield78@gmail.com

Sponsor inmates in the faith-based dorm at Elmore Correctional Facility. Opportunities include:

  • Providing meals to about seven inmates on a quarterly basis
  • Providing counsel and Christian mentorship
  • Working with the chaplain to connect those who are near the end of their release with resources that will enable their success in the free world.

Contact: Chaplain Ossie Brown at (334) 567-1460 (Ext. 300).

Serve as a volunteer director of religious services and life skills programs to help inmates at the Montgomery City Jail.

Contact: Major Jennifer Reaves at (334) 625-2351 or (334) 850-4440 or jreaves@montgomeryal.gov

Join a Kairos Team to counsel, disciple and pray with prisoners in a weekend spiritual retreat. Kairos is a Christ-centered ecumenical ministry, like Walk to Emmaus for those in the free world, except Kairos is designed specifically for prisoners.

Contact: Carl Finkbeiner, First Baptist Kairos Liasion at cfinkbeiner52@gmail.com or (205) 317-3195.

Help launch the Landing Zone, a Christ-centered halfway house for females, currently under construction in Elmore County. This halfway house is a non-profit entity founded by our own Ken Brothers. Opportunities now include:

  • Providing financial contributions
  • Providing construction help and yard maintenance

Contact: COL Ken Brothers, Founder, at brothers-kgb@charter.net or 334 220-6519.

Help men who are recently pardoned and paroled through Renascence, a Halfway Home House just blocks away from First Baptist. Dentists, Teachers, and Baptists needed. Opportunities include:

  • Providing free emergency dental care
  • Serving on the Board to expand Christian denominational diversity on the board
  • Providing handyman work to help renovate the home
  • Providing life skills training
  • Connecting the residents to decent employment opportunities

Contact: Col. Nelson Smith at 334 590-2865 or tondsmith@gmail.com

Provide devotional services and one-on-one counsel to those labeled as sex offenders and recently released from prison, now living at the Vineyard Halfway House north of Prattville. This takes a special calling and sensitivity to those victimized by sex offenses. On one end of the continuum are those who are guilty of shocking offenses and may still struggle with old temptations. On the other end of the continuum are those who made mistakes when they were young or were even coerced. Because of the Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), both sides of the continuum live under the same tight restrictions governing their whereabouts. All need the love of God.   

Contact: Mr. Barry Smith, Director of the Vineyard, at 334 365-0250.

Provide Christmas gifts to children of prisoners through Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree. During the Christmas season, simply pick an angel from our tree at First Baptist Church.

Help children of female inmates by volunteering at Adullam House. Attorneys, Handymen, Interns, I.T. techs, and Weekend Missionaries are needed. Opportunities include:   

  • Sharing the mission of Adullam House
  • Providing I.T. and video tech support to complete their mission video, “Close Enough to Reach”
  • Providing yard work and maintenance (great for that one-day Youth mission trip)
  • Volunteering weekends at the Adullam House Thrift Store
  • Painting children’s bedrooms
  • Providing handyman help to complete school extension
  • Serving as an intern, providing care to babies
  • Providing free legal assistance in complicated faster care matters

Contact: Mrs. Angela Spackman, Founder and Director, at angie@adullamhouse.org 334 233-1569.

TIPS ON WHERE AND HOW TO SERVE IN THE RIVER REGION

Sensing a call to prison ministry, but don’t know where to get started? Here are a few questions to help you discern your call:

Do you prefer to minister: 

  • To men or women?
  • To young people or adults? 
  • To those who are in easy driving distance?
  • To those in “disaster” mode, just locked up and awaiting their fate?
  • To maximum-security inmates with long or life sentences?  
  • To medium-security inmates with medium range sentences? 
  • To minimum-security inmates with short sentences?
  • To those with severe emotional and mental challenges?
  • To those who are infirmed?
  • In a Baptist, ecumenical or interfaith environment? 
  • In an existing program or do your own thing?
  • With others, your spouse (if married) or by yourself?
  • To families of prisoners; children, spouses, or parents?
  • To those going to prison?
  • To those getting out of prison and need a hand-up?

And the two most important questions: 

  • Do you sense God’s call to prison ministry?
  • Will you serve as a team player with others following a similar call?

Not sure yet?

Contact Carl Fisher at chaplaincarlfisher@gmail.com or (334) 580-0458, our director of prison ministry, or any person on the FBC Prison Ministry Team to help you assess where you will thrive in prison ministry. Once, you decide on a specific institution, program, or ministry, Carl or our other volunteers can connect you to the best person in that entity to begin your application process.

Volunteerism in a Prison:

To volunteer in a prison, it’s best to understand the mission of a particular prison and the vision of the chaplain or religious services facilitator there. You will have to submit paperwork and attend a training session. The type of training varies from Federal to state to county to city. You may be required to provide an endorsement letter. In order to gain a security clearance to enter most correctional facilities, you may be required to provide your social security number, date of birth, driver’s license information and other personal information. It’s part of being a volunteer in a prison.

Manage your own application process with due diligence. Make sure you submit and sign everything required in a timely manner and follow through. Regularly check on the progress of your application, being sure to quickly provide anything that is missing. Once accepted into volunteer service in a correctional facility, plan to attend the volunteer training every subsequent year.

Right in the River Region area, there are 14 correctional facilities plus other ministries and services that help families of prisoners and inmates being released from prison.

There are many different types of correctional facilities, ranging from jails to penitentiaries to minimum-security prisons, and Federal, state, county, and municipal and privately owned facilities. Our incarcerated citizens vary in age, gender, culture, religion, education, degree of criminal offence and sentence, and in their levels of mental, emotional, and spiritual maturity, and in their physical wellness and ability to adjust back to the free world. Philosophies within prisons and the criminal justice system range from get-tough-on crime models to restorative justice and reconciliation models. Each prison has its own distinct mission and function and administrators and chaplains have their own unique styles of leadership.

Prison ministries vary. Examples include one-on-one counsel to inmates; leading or assisting in worship; musical and choral performance; leading Bible studies and discipleship groups; or facilitating training in life skills, family life, marriage, parenting, anger management, financial stewardship, and breaking addictions. Ministry to families of the incarcerated range from delivering Christmas gifts to children, helping to maintain foster homes for children, or sponsoring scholarships. Ministries to those being released to the free world include supporting halfway-type ministries to actually providing jobs and housing.

PRISON MINISTRY Contacts

Prison Ministry Director

Carl Fisher

Carlton Fisher, D.Min., is our Prison Ministry Director. He retired as a chaplain from the Federal Bureau of Prisons after 20 years of ministry in maximum, medium and minimum-security prisons and retired as a chaplain from the U.S. Army Reserve after 29 years of service, retiring as a Brigadier General and Deputy Chief of Chaplains – U.S. Army Reserve. He earned three bronze stars from two tours to Iraq and one to Afghanistan and is the author of My Brother’s Faith and Where Warrior’s Walk. After retiring from the military, Carl served as the North American Mission Board’s keynote speaker for 2018 chaplain training conferences. He now leads our prison ministry, serves on two community service boards and manages a farm in South GA. He is married to Lisa and they have three children; Hannah, Chloé, and Travis who is in the Army Chaplain Candidate Program and married to Amy. Carl thrives in the “ministry of reconciliation and strives to help “form a more perfect union.”

Phone:(334) 580-0458