The Prison Discipleship Ministry seeks to present the unconditional love of God through His Son Jesus Christ to men, women, and juveniles that are in jails or prisons; present salvation in a very clear, biblical way; disciple them in the knowledge of God’s Word and guide them as they mature spiritually with the goal of seeing them genuinely saved and grounded in the Word of God so they become God-honoring men, women, and young people upon their release instead of continuing in the “revolving door” of the correctional system.

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Galatians 6:1-10:

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Men and women are contacted initially through the Stark County Jail chapel services and may request follow-up visits after they are released as well as enroll in the Bible correspondence courses offered free of charge which they may begin while they are still incarcerated. Many of these people are sentenced and sent on to Lorain Correctional Institution where they are evaluated. When they are transferred from Stark Co. Jail, they are not permitted to take anything with them. Therefore when they arrive at Lorain, we resend any lesson they may be on. While at Lorain many of these prisoners have shown others the course and those people have requested to be enrolled. Once their evaluation is complete, most are transferred to other state facilities in Ohio. This is where they will serve the remainder of their sentence. The Bible course is then shared with others at their new facility and they also request to be enrolled.

  • Discover the Bible: A seven lesson course, by Pastor Tony Scheving of North Dakota, that establishes the authority of the Bible, which is foundational to all other Bible teaching. The course is easily read and understood and can be completed with or without a Bible since all of the scripture verses are printed out.
  • Discipleship From A-Z: A twenty-six-lesson course, by Pastor Robert Sargent of Washington state, that takes a person from salvation and begins to disciple them in the ways of the Lord from a practical aspect.
  • Bible Concepts: A six-lesson course by Dr. Briney that establishes doctrinal principles that can be built upon the foundation of the previous courses.
  • Massillon Baptist College Extension Campus: Massillon Baptist College has authorized the Prison Discipleship Ministry to be an extension campus on a non-fee basis. The student is responsible for textbooks that usually cost from $15 – $25. The student can earn up to 30 credit hours toward his degree and the credits are accepted in most Bible Colleges in the country
When a prisoner first requests to be enrolled in the course, a form letter is sent with the first lesson that explains how the course works. Once the first lesson is completed and returned the student begins to receive personal letters from his/her mentor that encourages dialog with the prisoner as well as teaches him things from the Bible that will help his individual situation.

When subsequent lessons are returned subjects such as “Why Am I Here… From God’s Perspective” (2 Peter 3:9 and Hebrews 12:6), “Salvation – What Is It – Really?” (a very plain and detailed explanation of what the Bible says is salvation), “Biblical Assurance of Salvation”, “Where Is The Battle?” (Ephesians 6:12), “How To Be Victorious In The Battle” (Ephesians 6:12-18), “Forgiveness”, and many more spiritually strengthening subjects as the Lord leads.

When a course is completed a Certificate of Completion is issued from the church which is signed by Pastor Tom Shank, Jr. and the mentor.