STARTING POINT: GOD BEHIND BARS
By Jim Gray: One Saturday night, I crowded into a truck with 2 other volunteers to head out to Florence-McClure Women's Correctional Center. I required special permission from the warden to go inside the prison, and I won’t kid you – I was nervous about going inside those walls. My wife was praying for my nervousness at that very moment, in fact.
Inside the gym there were about 300 chairs, a large video screen and four cinder-block walls. I wasn’t sure what to expect, as inmates started coming in and finding their seats.
It wasn’t long, however, before the room exploded with the sound of their voices lifted in praise. From this point on, all I could do was be was blown away by the singular fact that these ladies were serious about worshipping God.
See, my friend Jake Bodine has a unique passion to reach the lost, broken, and forgotten that live in cells, jails, and prisons. He runs a non-profit ministry called God Behind Bars (GBB), that streams live, dynamic, high-quality worship experiences into prisons all over the world. I was visiting a GBB service that evening, watching ladies worship God with all their hearts, and I was fighting back tears.
After the service I was able to chat with one of the inmates who told me two things that have stuck in my mind:
"...what you see happening here is no front, these ladies are 100% committed to being here..."
"...God Behind Bars is the MOST talked about thing inside of this prison..."
Months later, as I sit here reflecting on that time, I wonder what would happen if we modeled Jake's passion for the lost and broken – extending full-throttle, unconditional grace to those around us. Extending second chances for those who have robbed, raped, stolen, stabbed and hurt those around us.
Sounds tough right? The key is starting somewhere in your life today. Jake started by asking the question, "What happens when inmates find God behind bars?" That question, that starting point, grew into God Behind Bars, which is pretty much defined by unconditional grace.
What’s your starting point? What question can you ask? How can Jake's example inspire you?
Learn more about Jake’s story here.