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    The Foundations of Christian Ministry to the Incarcerated

    by Christian Chaplains & Coaching

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    This course will teach important concepts for Christian ministry in jail and prison. Designed for volunteers, Pastors, Chaplains, and other ministers who have an interest in serving the incarcerated as either volunteers or vocational staff Chaplains. The material is presented within an unapologetically Christian worldview.

    Enroll in the full course here:

    Course Objectives:

    To provide clear instructions for Christians to serve effectively as ministry volunteers, Chaplains, or spiritual care providers in a jail or prison setting. To prepare you for entering into a highly controlled environment. Become familiar with the types of resources to use. Understanding your rights under religious liberty. How to be effective in an adverse environment. Become aware of sources of stress in the prison. How to disciple in prison. How to support the inside church. To understand prison culture. Learning the all important practice of the ministry of presence and learning to listen rather than to prescribe.


    Post in each of the forums. Replying to others' posts is encouraged as well. 


    After you have viewed all of the material and posted your reflections in the forums, there is a feedback quiz. The quiz will help us evaluate the effectiveness of the mini-course.

    About our partnership with Christian Chaplains & Coaching
    CLI and Christian Chaplains & Coaching (CC&C) have partnered together to create an opportunity for students interested in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). This collaboration is designed to enrich students' academic options and provide a path to gain practical experience and academic credit in pastoral education. Learn more here.
  • Section 1

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      Reflection Questions: 

      1. Why does this mini-course interest you? What do you hope to gain by studying the material? Set a goal for yourself as you begin this course. 
      2. What does 'incarnational ministry' look like for you in your. life and how you serve? In your own words, why is 'incarnational ministry' important in a prison setting and in bringing hope to the hopeless? 
      3. How do you plan to establish healthy relationships with incarcerated individuals? Or with any individual you are serving in ministry? How will you ensure that the appropriate boundaries are respected? What do you think you should do if a boundary is crossed? 
      4. How can respecting and understanding the religious beliefs of others enhance the effectiveness of your ministry? Are there any biases or assumptions about certain religions that could hinder your ability to minister effectively and respectfully in a diverse religious setting?

  • Section 2

  • Section 3

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      1. What does the idea of a church inside a prison evoke in you? How does it challenge or reinforce your understanding of what church means?
      2. Considering the social hierarchies and dynamics within prisons as described in the video, how can your ministry respectfully navigate these structures to reach and support inmates? How do ministers have the opportunity to uniquely serve those who suffer as a result of the social hierarchies/culture behind bars?
      3. Reflect on a time when someone's presence made a significant difference in your life. How did it make you feel, and what can you learn from that experience to apply in your ministry?
      4. Reflect on what it means to you to "draw near to the pain and grief" of others. How does this understanding shape your approach to ministry, especially in a prison setting?
      5. What concrete actions will you commit to in order to improve your listening skills? Consider practices or habits you can develop to become more attentive and responsive to those around you. How will you measure your progress in becoming a better listener? What markers will indicate that you are creating a more Christ-centered environment through your improved listening skills?

  • Recommended Reading

    These books are required if you enroll in the full course

  • Next Steps

    Want to dive deeper into this content? Take the full course - Learn more and enroll here.

    Interested in other mini-courses provided by Christian Chaplains and Coaching? Check out Overview of Clinical Pastoral Education or The Basics of Christian Grief Counseling

    Learn more about Clinical Pastoral Education, how it can benefit you and your ministry, and CLI's partnership with CCC.

    Have you checked out CLI's Chaplaincy degree? Click here