The Gospel & the Arts in Prisons
When we stop and take note of how much Covid-19 has impacted our daily lives, a long list ensues. All of us have stories, and many of them are still unfolding. For those who are in jails and prisons, social distancing includes the inability to see any visitors, including family. The threat of the virus in these closed spaces has elevated the stress for both prisoners and staff working in these facilities.
Northland has a long history of jail and prison ministry but with the Covid-19 visitation restriction, our ministry teams have no access to enter those spaces. So when the opportunity came to bring the gospel into prisons worldwide, the True North Foundation jumped at the opportunity.
In the wonderful and amazing way that the Holy Spirit is always working behind the scenes, a True North project called Higher Love was noticed by a Christian film producer. This film-maker reached out to True North board member, Lori Hall, and expressed great interest in using the Higher Love music video for a Christian series being developed for prisons around the world. The organization, Fourth Purpose, contacted many artists, musicians, pastors, and ministry leaders to speak hope to prisoners through a project called Visitation 2.0. Through partnerships with Alpha, Global Leadership Network, Prison Fellowship, God Behind Bars, and other organizations, these episodes are bringing the hope of Jesus into these secluded spaces.
The result: Over 6,000 prisons worldwide reaching 2.2 million prisoners and 700,000 prison staff and personnel! The director of the series was so moved by the Higher Love video that he named the episode Higher Love and asked Northland staff member Jamila Millette to introduce the video!
A few short testimonials from prisoners—
“I found this new video called Visitation 2.0 and have been encouraged beyond measure. It’s good to have people out there who care and love us while we’re here locked up. Some of us don’t have anyone out there fighting for us in our corner, but the men and women who are believers in Christ from Visitation 2.0 are there for us.” -Joshua in Kansas
“I just want to thank all who made the Visitation 2.0 program available to me. I’ve been having a real rough time, and this really helped me out and kept me from doing something I knew I would regret. Thank you.” -Jesse in Arkansas
“I’d like to thank you and those from the Visitation 2.0 series for the hope and kindness given, it makes a difference”. -Luc in Maine
All of us are God’s handiwork, the Creator’s masterpieces. That promise is true for each of us including those who are imprisoned. Please continue to pray for ministry efforts taking place in jails and prisons. And let us remember Jesus’ words:
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
- Matthew 25:35-40 (NIV)