Discipleship Place courses allow inmates to pursue ministry calling

Discipleship Place courses allow inmates to pursue ministry calling

by
Nazarene News Staff
| 30 May 2024
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Pexels

When Pastor Amy Schultz became involved in a local jail ministry in Council, Idaho, she met an inmate who was clearly called to ministry herself. Despite obstacles, Schultz utilized The Discipleship Place to help Jane* fulfill God’s calling on her life.

Schultz has pastored Council Church of the Nazarene in Idaho for nearly six years now. The small, rural town — roughly 120 miles north of Boise — has less than 1,000 people. Despite its modest size, Council is the county seat of Adams County, meaning it’s home to the county jail.

Through a local ministry organization, Schultz began visiting the jail to minister to and pray with inmates. After a few years, Schultz became close with Jane, who eventually admitted she felt God had placed a calling on her life.

“As I spoke with her about [the calling], I kind of pushed in a little bit,” Schultz said. “I felt like the Lord wanted me to push in because she was already ministering there. Even some of the guards were coming to her with questions.”

Through their conversations, Schultz and Jane talked about her calling, the reason she was incarcerated, and more. Schultz said she had never met someone who was so remorseful about what he or she had done.

Unfortunately, that offense prohibits Jane from ever holding a district license or becoming ordained in the Church of the Nazarene. That’s when Schultz looked to The Discipleship Place.

Through The Discipleship Place courses, Jane would be able to earn a certificate and some credibility that could allow her to fulfill her calling, either with incarcerated people or with another ministry after her release.

“For me, it was so very clear that God was calling her,” Schultz said. “I believed if he called, he was also providing a pathway for her to fulfill this calling. So I just kept looking and digging and asking questions until we found a pathway that would work for her.”

Schultz brings Jane the materials for the classes, whether in paper or digital form. Videos and podcasts from the courses have been transferred onto DVDs or an MP3 player, both mediums that the prison approved for Jane based on her good behavior.

Schultz credited The Discipleship Place staff for going the extra mile in making the courses accessible in these unique circumstances.

The jail ministry’s connection with Jane has also opened other doors for ministry in the Adams County Jail. In May, Schultz and her group of local ministers baptized seven men and even added an entire Bible commentary set to the jail library.

Schultz says the ministry has helped fulfill her calling “to the least of these.” That same calling led her to persevere on behalf of Jane until she found a solution.

“In my own life, in my own calling, when I met obstacles, I just had to find the way around them,” Schultz said. “It was up to me to discover the pathway that God had already prepared.”

*Name changed for privacy

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