The First Baptist Church of Richland is currently co-partnering with the Washington State Department of Corrections in providing worship services and Bible studies at the Benton County Jail, the Coyote Ridge Correctional Facility and the Walla Walla State Prison. The Prison/Jail Ministry was founded by Pastor Jim Plunkitt when he was Pastor of Evangelism at First Baptist Church. Since its inception, approximately twenty members of the First Baptist congregation have been called by God to participate in this ministry.
Benton County Jail
Weekly Bible studies are held at the Benton County Jail in both the men's and women’s pods. These services provide the inmates at the facility a chance to hear the Word of God on a weekly basis. The services usually last approximately 1.5 – 2 hours. Various Bible training materials are used during the services to include live music (guitars and singing), music CDs, DVDs, and Bibles. Thus far, over 300 Bibles have been donated to the inmates at the Benton County Jail from the members of the First Baptist Church.
Coyote Ridge Correctional Facility
First Baptist Church performs the morning chapel service at Coyote Ridge the third Sunday of each month. The Coyote Ridge Sunday service is approximately two hours and consists of a Bible study with an open forum that allows inmates to not only ask questions, but to add their perspectives on the topics studied. The goal of this ministry is to first share the plan of salvation to the lost, and secondly, to challenge the Christian inmates to grow in their faith. Correctly applying God’s Word in the inmates' lives is a major step to breaking the cycle that often results in their return to prison.
Walla Walla State Prison
First Baptist Church performs the morning chapel service at the Walla Walla State Prison on the third Sunday of each month. There are two services for the medium security portion of the prison. The services run consecutively. The chapel service is a combination of Bible study, music, and preaching. Members from the congregation who have participated in this ministry have seen God performing miracles with the inmates who attend the services. Additional volunteers are always welcome to assist with this ministry.
Requirements to Participate in the Jail/Prison Ministry
1. A heart for God’s Word and those in prison needing salvation and healing
Points of Contact
Should you be interested in participating in the Jail/Prison Ministry, please contact one of the following people:
Stories of Encouragement
A wonderful testimony, written in the inmate's own hand describes the profound impact that the prison ministry team members have made on her life and the lives of others. "On Sept 1st I had no hope, no future, no plans, and no faith.Today I have hope, I have plans for my future and I have faith that can move mountains." Read her whole testimony and rejoice!
Another story is as follows: "A lady who was formerly in jail contacted me after her release and explained that her entire apartment and all she had was destroyed in a fire, except her red Bible (the one that had been given to her in jail). I saw the red Bible….it was singed and water damaged and smelled heavily of smoke. It was the most beautiful object I had ever seen. Is the Lord talking to her? I think and pray that she has gotten the message.”
There have been several professions of faith at each of the facilities over the span of the ministry. The story below was shared by Dianne Brownlee. The inmate in the picture on the right was incarcerated at the Benton County Jail for a period of time. Here is Dianne’s story: "I have permission of the inmate to share her baptism pictures with all of you. It has been about a year since I met her but the seeds of God’s Word have made a difference to this inmate. She said I could send the pictures out to encourage you all to keep on planting seeds….What a joy in my heart to see such a pretty face go from a scowling frown and pursed lips when I met her, to such a radiant smile…..Keep on keeping on beloved and pray, pray, pray!"