Is prison ministry your purpose – your passion – your answer from God? Then go for it! Prison ministry does NOT have to be hard. It is all about how much you are willing to invest. This investment is not all about money. You must be willing to get in and get your hands dirty.
Tip #1 Preparation! I cannot express enough about preparation. There is much work that goes on behind the scene before you actually get on a unit.
Tip #2 Decisions! Decisions must be made ahead of time. This is part of your preparation. Know what area of prison ministry you want to serve in. If you decide that you want to have your team identified by their dress, than order your shirts or jackets or whatever attire you have decided on. Know what day you want to serve on. Know the material you will teach on and prepare handouts. (You do not need handouts all the time. This is only necessary if you have a particular class that you and the Chaplain have agreed upon.)
Tip #3 Schedules! Before you approach a Chaplain about serving with them; know what times you and your team can serve. If you are flexible, let them know. If you can only serve on certain days this should be in your proposal.
Tip #4 Transports! Know how you and your will get there. This is very important because if you say you are going to be there; you NEED to SHOW UP!
Tip #5 Honesty & Compassion! Another very important point for you to focus on; is how the inmates perceive you. The inmates are human beings who made a mistake. You are not to be intimated or feel like you are afraid of them. Treat them with respect. Treat them the way you want to be treated. This does NOT mean you can touch them anywhere and anytime. That can get you kicked off the unit and out of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice system! A handshake is more acceptable and less engaging.