Loving. Leading. Changing Lives.
Frequently Asked Questions
We typically conduct our church services and Connect Groups in the facilities gym. The inmates who attend our services are generally as excited as we are to attend church and meet & greet one another.
Share with the Compel GBB Leadership team if you are having trouble deciding which facility to be a part of.
Yes, men and women can both serve inside the opposite gender’s facilities, just not lead the opposite gender’s Connect Group. Learning more about how we can treat each other as brothers/sisters in Christ to the opposite gender can provide a lot of growth to those we are ministering to.
Most volunteers serve about once a month. Serving in Henning (Women’s) facilities takes about 7 hours on a Sunday. The Henning Women’s Team Shuttles in a 15-passenger van from the Southaven Campus around 10 AM and returns about 5 PM.
When our teams arrive at the correctional facility, we generally sign in, turn in our driver’s licenses and walk through a metal detector. An officer may pat each person down in a gender-appropriate manner. We always walk into the gym for service, together as a team, and are escorted by correctional staff.
On Training Day, the DOC trainer will go over all the rules pertaining to ministering inside a correctional facility. Primarily, we only take in the material that is used for the Sunday Worship Service or LifeGroups. All materials must be pre-approved DOC. We are not allowed to take gum, food, drinks, iPods or electronic devices into the prison without prior approval. If you must have medication with you, you will have to leave it with the gate security and come out of the facility to access it if needed.
Depending on where and when you serve, you can ride on the church van or carpool with other team members.
One of the most important factors in correctional ministry is consistency and faithfulness in our commitment. We schedule our Sunday service volunteers to serve about once a month. For Connect Groups volunteers we ask that you as often as possible during the semester. Every serve opportunity is team-driven, so if you are unable to make a commitment, we always have enough team members to conduct the service without interruption.
It is easy to become very fond of the inmates and feel compassionate toward their plight. The DOC policies do not allow ministry volunteers to give anything to an inmate that isn’t previously approved. As a ministry, we have been approved to take certain items into our services that are available to every inmate. Nothing can be given to, or taken from, an inmate at any time that hasn’t been approved by Compel GBB leadership and DOC.
The DOC policies state that volunteers, who physically minister inside a correctional facility, are not allowed to visit, write or give money to an inmate. Nor may a volunteer associate with an inmate’s family members. If you feel called to play a different ministry role, just let us know and we will gladly help you in anyway that we can.
We are not permitted to contact anyone on behalf of an inmate. Many times inmates attempt to persuade a volunteer to convey a message that is actually a coded message that they do not want the DOC to intercept through mail or a phone conversation. Conveying such a message could implicate you in criminal activity and cause you and/or this ministry to be banned from entering the facility.
Under no circumstances are we allowed to provide personal information to an inmate. If an inmate needs to send something, have him/her send it to the Southaven Campus attention to GBB. We are not allowed to develop a pen pal relationship with an inmate if we are ministering inside the facilities.