The Christianity Explored (CE) course is to form a key part of PFI’s strategy of taking the gospel to prisoners throughout the world.
PFI (https//pfi.org) was founded in 1979. It currently undertakes monthly prison ministry in 3700 prisons, in 127 countries. The prisoner’s journey, PFI’s three-strand evangelism programme — of which CE is the core part — aims to reach 1 million prisoners with the gospel by 2020.
Pilot projects have been launched in Nigeria and South Africa, in which a total of 250 volunteers and chaplains were trained in Abuja and Lagos on how to run the course, and another 60 volunteers and chaplains completed leader’s training in South Africa.
The Starting out phase encourages participants to embark on a journey with Jesus Christ, emphasising that he too experienced fear, loneliness, alienation and abandonment.
Prisoners wanting to learn more are invited to join the second phase of the programme, Exploring Jesus, where they go through CE in a group setting. This is an eight-week course, which simply lets the Gospel of Mark tell the gospel of Jesus. It focuses on who Christ is (his identity), what he came to do (his mission) and our response to him (his call).
The final phase, Overcoming obstacles, seeks to engage prisoners with a real, personal relationship with Christ within the context of the church.
It is estimated that 9000 prisoners will attend a welcoming event in Nigeria and South Africa in the coming months. PFI anticipates that 3000 of these will go on to complete the course in 15 prisons by the end of the year. Plans are underway for another 15 countries to join the programme in 2015.
Ian Roberts, CEM chief executive (www.ceministries.org), comments: ‘We trust the enthusiasm with which The prisoner’s journey training has been received will multiply and lead to prisoners all over the world exploring Mark’s Gospel and finding true freedom and salvation in Jesus Christ’.
Timothy Khoo, PFI president, says: ‘The immensity of the task in reaching 1 million prisoners by the year 2020 … cannot be achieved by PFI alone. Through the generosity of CE this goal becomes eminently achievable, because it exemplifies the best of partnership in Christian ministry’.