Skip to Content

Prison Ministry

Prison Ministry Contacts:

Celeste McDonough
Team Leader, Mercy & Missions

Ardo Draper
Pastoral Staff, Prison Ministry

Lou DeGraaf

Lou DeGraaf
Ministry Assistant, Mercy & Missions

Ministry Focus

Meeting the Spiritual Needs of Incarcerated People & Their Loved Ones

By faithfully sharing the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, we desire to see hearts changed and lives transformed. We embrace a diverse group of volunteers who work together to fulfill Christ’s call to action in Matthew 25:36 when He says, “I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

We take to heart Isaiah 61:1 which says, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” Psalm 142:7 also says, “Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.” It is our desire to bring spiritual freedom to those who are who are in great need of hope.

One of the ways our ministry serves is by carrying out church services in local jails and prisons. Services start in the early afternoon. They include prayer, a time of worship, preaching of the Word, an invitation to salvation, and a time for one-on-one counseling and prayer after the service. There are usually between two to six volunteers and 15-50 people in attendance on any given week. Each person comes to the service with a different mindset, some have been believers for a long time and really want to learn (more common in a long-term prison setting) while others may come just so they have something to do (more common in a jail setting). We understand this difference in mentality and try to fit into whatever their needs are.

Ways to Get Involved:

  • Pen Pal: This person would engage the inmate through letters of correspondence at least twice a month.
  • Team Leader/Teacher: This person would work with Ardo to help facilitate the service. If comfortable, they would engage in one-on-one counseling/conversation after the service.
  • Team Member: This person would be willing to open or close the service in prayer as well as be willing to read Scripture when needed. If comfortable, this person would also engage in one-on-one counseling/conversation after the service.
  • Musician: This person would lead worship through singing and/or the use of a musical instrument as well as prayer and Scripture reading as needed. If comfortable, they would engage inmates in counseling/conversation after the service is over.

Contact to get involved, contact Ardo Draper or Lou DeGraaf.

Local partnerships that support inmates and their families:

  • New Creations Prison Ministries, their mission is to reach inmates with the Gospel of Christ, mentor them in the faith, and help them overcome life-controlling behaviors.  New Creations Prison Ministries has many opportunities for individuals to use their gifts, talents, experience, and passion, to serve the Lord.  Most of them do not involve physically going into a prison, and some can even be done in the comfort of your own home.  Whether you have just one hour a week or several, years of theological training or brand-new faith, there is a place for you to serve and grow. To find out more click here and begin the process of volunteering by filling out the contact form.
  • Reach the Forgotten Jail Ministry: RFJM believes in the redemption and restoration of inmates through Jesus Christ and is the largest jail-focused ministry in the U.S. They empower chaplains and volunteers to share hope and salvation with the “forgotten” women and men incarcerated in Michigan’s county jails. You can learn more about them and opportunities to get involved here.