Prison Ministry

What is Prison Ministry?

Using God’s Word and the time, talents, and treasures He has given us, we endeavor to minister to those incarcerated and/or affected by their incarceration.

For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise his own people who are prisoners. Psalm 69:33

Members as well as pastors of some Central Illinois District congregations are involved in jail and prison ministry as volunteers. The District also continues to employ two workers to conduct Prison Ministry part-time. See their information below.

Reimbursements for Prison Ministry Materials

Consider donating printed Gospel-centered materials to a nearby state or federal prison or county jail. Thanks to central Illinois LWML, you or your CID congregation can make such a donation and receive at least partial reimbursement from the District.

This is important work. The materials you donate can get into a facility even if something like a COVID spike occurs and keeps chaplains from getting in. Here is an opportunity for you to participate in prison ministry, even if you yourself never personally visit an inmate.

Voucher, Guidelines, and List of Approved Materials

VIDEO – Prison MinisTRY: Will You Try?

In this video, CID Prison Ministry Coordinator Rev. Rodney Blomquist interviews veteran CID Prison Chaplain Rev. Charles Olander. Pastor Olander describes his route to prison ministry and his observations on its ongoing importance. He offers several suggestions for pastors and others who want to get involved in bringing God’s Word to the incarcerated.

View this video, and tell others about it! You can watch it by clicking here.


Here are some general points on prison and jail ministry.

Visiting a Person who is Incarcerated

  • Go online to the facility’s website
    Read and become acquainted with its guideline for visitors
  • In the Illinois Correctional system, (IDOC), an offender is allowed only so many visits a month. You will need to be put on the offender’s visit list. See a facility’s guidelines to find out how this is done.
  • In the local and county jails, you can still go online for their guidelines. Call ahead of time to check when you can schedule your visit. In most cases, you will have a private room in which to talk. Check with the facilities guidelines about bringing in materials. All materials must be cleared by the facility.

Informing Your Pastor

  • When a loved one is incarcerated, let your pastor know. He will keep the matter confidential and will not share any information unless he is first given permission. Pastors can make visits and/or write letters.

To Begin a Ministry

  • Go online and view a facility’s website. Note especially the volunteer guidelines.
  • Have an idea of what you would like to do.
  • E-mail or telephone the facility to talk with someone in charge of volunteer services.

Ministries Conducted by CID Prison Chaplains

The District has many people in our congregations who are involved in volunteer jail and prison ministry. We also have two workers employed by the District part-time to conduct Prison Ministry, the Rev. Charles Olander and the Rev. Stephen Southward. As they share Christ with prison inmates, they truly are seeing lives changed and transformed by the power of God's Word.