Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Bridging the Word and the World

3/8 2012

Jail Ministry


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My time at the Allegheny County jail chaplain’s office has taught me many aspects of ministry. As a jail chaplain one has to work with the inmates and their families on the outside. This context of jail ministry involves bridging the gap between society and those who are on the fringes. The setting of the jail is made up of 2,600 inmates at one given time. There are 8 floors for men and three pod units for women. There are three levels of incarceration from maximum, medium, to minimum security for the inmates. The inmates consist of all walks of social life. They come from upper class, middle class, and working class families.

The ministry context about which I am writing in my situation is applying Christian education to family ministry. Christian education in jail ministry settings is essential for bringing forgiveness and change. Sharing the gospel through scripture is a powerful experience for not only the inmates, but for me as well. Often, I bring Christian devotional resources to encourage the inmates to continue to study. I have learned that ministry is not a pew-to-pulpit relationship and I feel that God has called me to serve in the Jail. My education at PTS through classes like Pastoral Care has helped me to share the love of Christ with those who desperately need a message of hope. Every time I walk through the doors of the jail, I draw upon what I am learning here.

Tony, Senior, MDiv student