Evangelism Explosion expanding in prisons
MBC clinic yields professions of faith
By Barbara Shoun
April 19, 2005
JEFFERSON CITY — Born-again inmates in Missouri’s prisons will soon be equipped to win other inmates to Christ through the Evangelism Explosion (EE) witnessing method.
“There is a revival in our prisons across the nation,” says Danny Decker, Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) community ministries specialist. He noted that EE is already in use in Moberly and Fulton prisons, and plans are in progress to establish it in at least four other Missouri jail systems.
To equip churches for prison ministry, MBC sponsored an EE certification program the first week in April at First Baptist Church, Arnold. The 11 volunteers who took the training will, in turn, train Christian prisoners to use EE to share the Gospel with other prisoners.
“Federal law keeps us from proselytizing. We have to let prisoners casually engage in conversation with other prisoners,” says Decker.
The 16-week EE training course for prisons must, by law, be open to all prisoners. In some cases, Muslims and Wicca followers sign up for the classes. If they aren’t converted, they usually drop out in a couple of weeks.
The cost of training a prisoner in EE is about $35. A side benefit of EE’s effectiveness in winning prisoners for Christ is the low recidivism rate of less than 1 percent for those who have completed the course.
To simulate a feel for the reception their prisoner students may encounter, participants at the Arnold clinic practiced “cold call” evangelism, witnessing from door to door, at filling stations, in laundromats, and city parks. They made 19 complete presentations of the Gospel and had seven professions of faith, as well as five additional people who prayed for assurance of their salvation.
Participants at the Arnold clinic included three deaf people, the first time a deaf ministry has been a part of EE training.