Correctional Ministry of Africa Gospel Church in Kenya
“Regard prisoners as if you were in prison with them.” Hebrews 13:3 (The Message)
Peter Kipngeno had been a prisoner for more than 10 years when he accepted Christ after pastors visited his prison in August 2010. Prison officers shared that Peter changed completely from that day on. “I was in the dark, but now I’m in God’s light,” Peter said. Six weeks later, Peter was released from prison.
He has since graduated from Kaboson Pastors Training College and was married in the same church where he had stolen money. He lives peacefully with his new wife and their baby girl in the same community that once considered him a dangerous man. Pastor Peter now holds out hope of new life to current inmates as he passionately volunteers with the Correctional Ministry of Africa Gospel Church in Kenya.
Correctional Ministry was commissioned by the bishop of AGC in 2011 as an outgrowth of a prison ministry course at Tenwek Hospital’s L. Nelson Bell International Chaplaincy College. Currently, six experienced chaplains, including two women, are serving in the counties of Kericho, Bomet, Kakamega, and Narok. Additional volunteers are also taking the ministry into other counties. Kenya has more than 200 prisons, so the opportunity and need for outreach is great.
The mission of Correctional Ministry is to biblically and wholistically transform offenders through reconciliation to God, themselves, family, and community. This is accomplished through teaching the Word of God, providing a supportive presence, and offering rehabilitative opportunities. Such outreach is happening both inside and outside more than 10 men’s and women’s prisons as well as numerous youth facilities, ex-prisoner fellowship groups, and probation departments.
“The team is working hard to sensitize churches, communities, government offices, and businesses about the ministry and the needs of those in the prisons as well as those recently released who are trying to reintegrate,” shared missionary Alene Burgert. “Several national radio programs have given airtime to the ministry, and networks for resources and collaborations within Kenya are evolving. AGC churches are also growing out of ex-prisoner fellowships. The ministry has been growing, but the mission is still the same.”
Inside the Prisons
In the prisons, men, women, children, and youth are hearing the transforming Word of God and seeing His love in action through many different avenues. Correctional Ministry staff members are:
- Organizing church teams for visitation and programs
- Enlisting praise and worship teams to visit prisons
- Mobilizing partners for donations of Bibles, soap, tissue, clothes, etc.
- Sending teams for medical outreach and teaching
- Leading Bible studies, discipleship groups, and Sunday School classes
- Baptizing new believers
- Providing counseling and preparation for release
- Ministering to and partnering with correctional staff
Outside the Prisons
Outside the prison walls, the Correctional Ministry team is working to change and reconcile families and communities one step and one life at a time. Some services given to ex-prisoners include:
- Meeting with their families and the Prison Release Board before they are released to prepare for their reintegration
- Escorting them home following their release
- Providing emergency needs immediately upon their release
- Connecting them to local churches, pastors, and community leaders
- Working with them to heal broken relationships
- Helping them to develop ways to support themselves (giving tools to start a carpentry business or sewing machines for tailoring)
- Creating accountability through ex-prisoner fellowship groups
- Searching out opportunities for education, job training, and theological training
- Establishing rehabilitation and childcare centers in each county (some of this land has been donated by ex-prisoners)
- Raising awareness of criminal justice issues and how they impact communities
“When no one was visiting me, I saw the church come,” wrote a prisoner to an AGC pastor. “When I needed soap and tissue, the church came. When we needed medicine, the church came again. I think that when I am released, I will have to visit that church.”
PRAY: Pray that the truth of God’s Word will set the hearts of Kenyan prisoners free and that ex-prisoners will find forgiveness and reconciliation.
Pray that Kenyan pastors and churches will respond to the call of Christ in outreach to prisoners and their families, overcoming cultural stigma and rejection.
Pray for extra strength for the families of those who are imprisoned. May they find Christ’s light in their dark times and support for their many needs from the local church and community.
Pray that the Lord will provide the resources needed for the Correctional Ministry of Africa Gospel Church in Kenya to continue its mission.
GIVE: There are many ways in which you can support the Correctional Ministry of AGC—Bibles, computers, printers, public address system, transportation, intern allowance, etc. Click Give to donate to the outreach, or visit www.wgm.org/burgert and click on the email graphic to contact missionaries Steve and Alene Burgert about specific items needed for the ministry.
SHARE: Click this link to view a speaker outline for the Correctional Ministry of AGC in Kenya.