Saints Step Up to the Plate to Share the Gospel with Inmates
Reaching individuals in prison is a challenge. Many prisoners won’t attend a chapel service or Bible study while incarcerated but will go to a sporting event at which a gospel message is shared. The Saints Prison Ministry uses the language of sports to reach inmates with the message of Christ’s love.
The Saints Prison Ministry, headquartered in Moorestown, New Jersey, began in 1987 with a softball team that played nearby prison teams. The outreach grew, and additional sports teams were added. To date, the Saints have played more than 3,300 games in nearly 420 prisons in 33 states and two countries and have seen more than 26,000 inmates make a profession of faith. The ministry currently has 13 softball, basketball, soccer, and volleyball teams nationwide.
“The Saints teams go into prisons to compete against inmate teams and share the gospel and their personal testimonials with inmates,” says Jimmy Cochran, Saints Prison Ministry strategic mission partner at First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Georgia. “During half-time at each game or between games of a softball doubleheader, one of our players shares his or her testimony, and another player presents the gospel message.”
Playing on one of the Saints’ softball teams in Georgia has been a life-changing experience for Cochran. During a recent game, he was asked to present the gospel message from John 3:16. When he was done, he invited the inmates to come talk with him. A convicted sex offender asked Cochran how he knew God loved him. Cochran shared his own personal experience with overcoming a pornography addiction.
“I told him that there is nothing he could do to make God love him any less,” says Cochran. “I explained that if God could forgive me, he would forgive him, too, if he had a sincere heart. That day, he asked for forgiveness and invited God into his heart.”
The Saints ministry continues long after their visits. They offer a Bible correspondence school, a pen pal program, and a birthday card ministry to encourage and show Christ’s love and forgiveness to prisoners year-round.
“By the grace of God, I am able to correspond with the Saints, and I give praise and thanks for the organization,” says Gilbert, an inmate in Dallas, Texas. “I have consistently received a birthday card for about 13 years. It means so much to receive that one card, even if it’s from someone you don’t know.”
Learn more about the Saints Prison Ministry.
Saints Prison Ministry Gallery