“I was in prison and you came to Me” (Matthew 25:36). Those words of Jesus, describing what to expect at the Judgment, should cause every Christian to consider those who are prisoners. While the world may be content to “lock them up and throw away the key”, such should never be our attitude.
In the summer of 2016 the elders of the Central Church of Christ agreed to assume the oversight of NewLife Behavior Ministries, an outreach to inmates incarcerated in two area state prisons: Northeast Correctional Complex in Mountain City, and the NECX Carter County Annex in Roan Mountain.
Since 2008 Marshall Danby has worked to make available to prisoners courses published by NewLife Behavior Ministries, an effort of the Kings Crossing Church of Christ in Corpus Christi, Texas. 15-week courses on “Christians Against Substance Abuse” and “Managing My Anger” have been taught at both sites. Those who complete the requirements participate in a graduation and are awarded a certificate. A third course, “Attitudes and Behaviors”, has been proposed for the Carter County Annex in early 2017.
The word of God is the foundation of each of these courses, and it is exciting to see the enthusiasm most have for learning and implementing Biblical principles. Some have surrendered their lives to Christ in baptism as a result of their studies.
Worship services are also conducted on Sunday afternoons at both the Mountain City and Roan Mountain facilities on select Sundays. Efforts are continuing for more opportunities to conduct worship services and classes.
The goal of NewLife Behavior Ministries, since 1984, has been “Reconciling individuals and their families to God, each other and society”. Why do we seek to work with those convicted of crimes? 2 Corinthians 5:17 explains: “If any person be in Christ, he is a new creature…” That Scripture is found on the title page of ever NLB workbook. God’s power can do amazing things!
This outreach could use more help, both inside and outside the prisons’ walls. If you’d like to know how you can help, speak with Marshall.