Crossings Prison Ministry
Typically, we conduct church services and small groups in the chapel or the visitation area. You will not go into the general population areas. The inmates who attend our services are generally as excited to be there as any church attendee at any campus.
Prisons are located throughout the state, so depending on which facility you serve at, you should anticipate a minimum of five hours once a month. This includes meeting your group, travel time to the prison, getting through security, the service, and travel back.
When teams arrive at the prison, they empty their pockets, remove their shoes, and put all belongings through an x-ray machine. Then, they walk through a metal detector, are scanned by an officer, and are patted down by an officer of their same gender.
During the OK DOC volunteer training, the trainer will go over all the rules pertaining to ministering inside a prison. Primarily, we only take in the material that is used for the Sunday worship service or small group. This includes snacks, coffee, the digital message, pens, and worship guides. Personally, a team member can take in a Bible with no loose notes, a pen, and any approved curriculum material. We are not allowed to take gum, food, drinks, ipods, or electronic devices into the prison without prior approval. If you must have medication with you, you will have to leave it with the gate security and access it there if needed.
One of the most important factors in prison ministry is consistency and faithfulness in our commitment. We schedule our Sunday serve opportunities on a rotation of one service each month. The other serving opportunities, such as Small Groups and Centered, have varying commitment levels and time.
It is easy to become very fond of the inmates and feel compassionate toward their plight. OK DOC policies do not allow ministry volunteers to give anything to an inmate that isn’t previously approved. As a ministry, we have been approved to take certain items into our services that are available to every inmate, such as approved snacks, coffee, pens, worship guides, Bibles, and communion elements. Nothing can be given to, or taken from, an inmate at any time that hasn’t been approved by Crossings leadership and the DOC.
You are allowed to correspond to same gender inmates through our Pen-Pal Program. Please ask Crossings staff for an application and encourage the inmate you wish to correspond with to get an application from their chaplain’s office.
We are not permitted to contact anyone on behalf of an inmate. Many times, inmates attempt to persuade a volunteer to convey a message that is actually a coded communication they do not want the DOC to intercept through mail or a phone conversation. Conveying such a message could implicate you in criminal activity and, at the least, cause you and/or this ministry to be banned from entering the facility.
Under no circumstances are we allowed to provide personal information to an inmate. If you would like for an inmate to send something to you, have him/her send it to Crossings OKC, via our Pen-Pal Program.
Yes, they can. As long as everyone has a Prison Buddy and adheres to all of the safety requirements, opposite genders are allowed to go into our state prisons.
Yes, the OK Department of Corrections and Crossings have set up policies and procedures to inform all volunteers of safety measures.
Missions & Outreach