A national prison ministry has seen more than 450 inmates baptized after giving their lives to Christ this year.
God Behind Bars says "Jesus is moving in POWER!" after the number of inmates accepting salvation has more than quadrupled since 2021.
"In comparison, last year, only 90 were baptized," the organization wrote on Facebook. "The gospel is spreading like we have never seen in prisons. Jesus is moving in POWER! Many prisons were shut down last year but this verse has been our promise... 'You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives - Gen 50:20'".
Since 2009, God Behind Bars has worked to restore the lives of inmates, by building their faith, during incarceration and after their release.
"We create satellite campuses in prisons and our whole mission is to introduce inmates to Jesus," Isaac Holt, Director of Innovation for God Behind Bars, told CBN News.
"There are 3.1 million inmates every day across the nation and that's a huge group of people. We believe we can reach almost all of them," he shared.
As CBN News has reported, God Behind Bars has created the first Christian app available for prisoners that streams sermons, worship music, and God's Word.
"The Pando app streams...right now to 550,000 inmates," Holt explained.
The group also partners with churches around the country, and one Tennessee church reported that 51 inmates dedicated their lives to Jesus in just the past week.
Lisa Cole, a campus pastor with Faith Promise in the east Tennessee area, works closely with God Behind Bars in Morgan County Correctional Complex, Bledsoe County Correctional Complex, and Bledsoe County Women's Unit.
"We share the Gospel every single week, but our thing is it's not about just sharing the Gospel and accepting salvation, it's 'what's your next step?'" she explained.
"Sometimes it's a rededication to make a public declaration in prison so that everybody knows they got baptized," Cole added.
Cole and a group of volunteers reach more than 500 inmates each week.
"A lot of people see it as an outreach, but we see it as there are a lot of men and women who just don't get to go to church, don't get to have a church home, and when they get out they have to find a church," she explained. "We provide them with the opportunity that when they come out they already have a church home."
Faith Promise sends teams of leaders in prison each week to greet, host, and pray with inmates.
"But really the guys inside serve just as much as the (volunteers)," Cole said.
"They have prayer teams, they do small groups, they do membership classes, they have prayer groups every night in their units, they invite other people," she added. "We challenge them to win their world by sharing the Gospel."
Cole's dedication to the program is a calling.
"It's an obedience to God," she said. "My first thought was, 'Why are you sending a woman into a men's prison to preach?' I thought, 'that's crazy', but we knew this was from God."
"Now, it's more than just obedience," she added. "There are people inside who will never ever get out of prison, who are more free and living a more peaceful and joy-filled life (now)...It's really unbelievable."
Lisa spoke of Michelle, a woman who had a 30-year meth addiction that landed her in prison. When Michelle began to attend church services at Bledsoe County Women's Unit, things began to change.
"She really gave her life to Christ and began reading 10 different devotionals a day," Lisa said. "[She] was coming to church service and really praying for women and (she) is one of the biggest, brightest lights I've ever seen for Jesus."
Michelle was recently released from prison and now attends church on one of Faith Promise's campuses, but it was how God answered three specific prayers for her that is encouraging women inmates.
"She wanted to find a good job, she wanted reconciliation with her children, and she wanted to have her teeth fixed," Cole said.
As a recovering meth addict, Michelle was self-conscious about the condition of her teeth, but a God Behind Bars volunteer and mentor spoke with a local dentist who agreed to provide her with a full set of dentures for free.
"That would not have happened if we did not have a mentor who was discipling her and her being a shining beacon of light for so many," Cole said.
Michelle has also found a great job and attended church with her daughter a week after being released from prison.
"She hadn't seen her since she was three, and she is 17," Lisa explained.
She adds that those types of "miracles" give the inmates hope.
"Their identity from the world, for some of them, they have to carry it for the rest of their lives even if they get out," Lisa explained. "And so many people don't feel a lot of hope when they're inside."
Lisa and Isaac said the inmates are learning who God says they are.
"We see that God still has such an amazing purpose for these men and women behind bars. They aren't counted out," Isaac Holt explained. "I think so many people look at people in prison and count them out and people think that they are kinda worthless. And I know these men and women feel that too."
"I think if God's grace can't extend to a prisoner, then it can't extend to me," he added. "And I think that we as believers and Christians should believe that God's grace can change the worst of the worst."
"We are all redeemed," Lisa expressed. "God does such amazing miracles."
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