the weblog of Alan Knox

Starting a Church… in a Prison?

Posted by on Jan 4, 2012 in blog links | 3 comments

Starting a Church… in a Prison?

I love this story by Jim at “Crossroad Junction” called “Planting Churches.” It’s all about how God used him (and is using him) to start a church in a prison.

He begins his post by telling about his plans to continue discipling some prisoners. But, then, God changed his plans, and he ended up challenging the prisoners to live as the church in their context, which is the prison, of course.

Jim concludes with these challenging words about new churches:

I’m not so sure why we make this so complicated.

Maybe it’s because we don’t trust that Jesus knew what He was doing when He instructed His disciples in Luke 10 on how to usher the Kingdom of God into new communities.

Maybe it’s because we don’t trust that God will bless those individuals of peace in that community, and then use them to attract others into His Kingdom.

Maybe it’s because we think it’s all up to us.

But nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, my role is very limited: I am to bless those whom God has pre-positioned as catalysts of peace and hospitality, gently encourage the emerging believers, and then get out of the way so they can come forth, minister one to another, and participate together in the joy of knowing Jesus.

Once that foundation is laid, the rest just sort of naturally follows.

Wow… if it’s really that simple, then that’s something that God could do through any of his children…

What do you think about Jim’s story? Is starting churches really as difficult (and does it really require as many resources) as we generally see today?


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 1-5-2012

    Thanks, Alan. What I didn’t mention in my blog is that a team of us have planted other indigenous churches that have been thriving for nearly three years now in other housing units in the local jail. This has to be God, given the transient nature of any housing unit in the jail. Yet the Lord has maintained a continuity of community that has been ongoing, without interruption, even though each fellowship has men coming and going on a regular basis. And the continuity is not provided by those of us from the outside, but from reproduction that occurs brother to brother in the jail. They in turn plant other fellowships as they get transferred to other facilities, and it just keeps growing “organically”!

  2. 1-6-2012


    Thanks for the comment, and thanks for telling this story on your blog! I think this kind of example is very helpful. I got the sense from your story that this was not the first time that you’ve seen God work in this way in prisons. That’s awesome!


  3. 4-6-2012

    Alan, I updated my blog to report back on how that church is doing in the jail. When we do it the way Jesus taught us to do it, it works!