Why Memphis needs a prison ministry more than ever

The latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau states that, as of 2019, Memphis is home to more than 650,000 residents. World Population Review reports that it’s the second largest city in Tennessee and more densely populated than Nashville, the state’s capital and largest city. Other reports paint the Bluff City in a different light – an article from 24/7 Wall Street named Memphis the second most dangerous city in the U.S. At the beginning of 2021, Memphis Data Hub reported more than 45,000 major violent or major property crimes. To some, these last two statistics may be scary, but to us it’s confirmation of our calling and mission to support justice-involved individuals. Here are a few scripture references that demonstrate why we feel called to lead one of Memphis’ largest prison ministries now more than ever.

Matthew 25:36-40

“‘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.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

This verse speaks for itself. It’s our Christian duty to help others because Jesus called us to do so. He called us to help those in need, and when we do, it’s like we’re helping Jesus himself.

Mark 2:17

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Once again, Jesus makes it clear what our mission is as Christians. Jesus is the almighty Healer – His forgiveness covers all sins. He’s not interested in perfection, He wants to change our hearts. As the hands and feet of Jesus on Earth, we are called to follow his example. We should not only commune with other Christians, but should reach out into our communities and spread the love of Jesus with all people.

Psalm 107:10-16

Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness,
prisoners suffering in iron chains,
because they rebelled against God’s commands
and despised the plans of the Most High.
So He subjected them to bitter labor;
they stumbled, and there was no one to help.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and He saved them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness,
and broke away their chains.

Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love
and His wonderful deeds for mankind,
for He breaks down gates of bronze
and cuts through bars of iron.

We are all sinners. We have all fallen short of the glory of God. No matter our darkest secrets or sins, He will always be there to pick us up and comfort us in our time of need. Because of His forgiveness, we are able to forgive! What a beautiful blessing to share with those at the lowest point of their lives.

These are only a few of the verses that make our mission clear and light our path. Memphis is ripe for a prison ministry program because Memphians need Him the most. We are His mouthpiece for the good news!

If you’re interested in getting involved with our prison ministry, please call 901-272-3700 or email info@hope2hire.org.

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