The Prisoner Book Project

June 13, 1999

Last fall I was approached by a young man in our church asking if we could send my book What a Christian Believes to prisoners. On his own initiative he contacted Prison Fellowship and they agreed to offer the book (with the cooperation of Crossway Books, the publisher) without cost to prisoners through their monthly publication Inside Journal, which is read by over 100,000 prisoners. It was offered in the December issue. So far we have received over 2700 requests for free copies, and the requests are still coming in six months later. Who paid for this? The young man who approached me took the whole cost upon himself – over $8000 so far. We have two boxes full of request letters. Here’s a paragraph from Dennis in Canon City, CO:

I am a very young Christian just growing strongly in the knowledge and faith in God and Jesus Christ. I saw this offer and thought it would be beneficial for me as a young, growing Christian. I am an inmate in the Colorado Department of Corrections. And I am very thankful that you are offering free literature and materials for convicts. I only make 25 cents a day and that goes towards my hygiene and writing materials. Thank you for being there for us convicts when we come to Christ and need help. I will put you in my prayers. Continue to fight the good fight. The initial project has been so successful that Prison Fellowship asked if they can offer my book Keep Believing in the July-August issue of Inside Journal. By faith we said yes even though we know it will cost more money. I believe the next offer will reach at least 3000 prisoners and perhaps many more. The estimated cost will be at least $10-12,000. Of course, if we receive 5000 requests the cost will be higher than that. The precise figure depends on how many prisoners respond. Both Moody Press and Crossway Books have volunteered their help in various logistical details. Note: Both the publisher and author forego all profit so that costs can be kept to a bare minimum. Volunteers from our Golden Heirs seniors ministry will help with mailing the books. We are committed to corresponding with those prisoners who desire further spiritual help. Our desire is to involve many people from our congregation in all aspects of this project.

Stop by the Resource Center today to pick up an information packet with more details. We’ll take a special offering on June 27 to fund this project. If youd like to give before then, please put your check in an envelope marked “Prisoner Book Project.”

Do you have any thoughts or questions about this post?