We had the privilege last night to lead worship at Leath Correctional Institute. It’s one of the South Carolina women’s prisons that is stationed here in Greenwood. For many of our band, this was the first experience like this.
And it was one of the most memorable times of leading worship I have ever experienced.
We led the “Knowing Jesus” presentation and I did a sermonette towards the end. It was intended to be a mere couple of minutes, but they were giving me too much response for me not to go on a little bit longer.
We originally were supposed to go Wednesday night, but the storm kicked us out because they didn’t want 200 inmates in an open room if the power went out. When I told the workers that it’s all good and we were there to serve them, they said that was a unique attitude. Many that come into the prison to minister or to help have shown a little arrogance. That’s just not so wonderful to hear. So we decided to really change the vibe in there as much as we could.
Many people claim what we saw last night was “jailhouse religion” that is just an escape from reality. It is a crutch to get through. It is a safe assurance that won’t last longer until they get back on the streets.
The reality? Some of their spiritual maturity in prison makes so many of ours seem shallow and empty outside these walls. Shame on us who walk in spiritual and physical freedom and yet never live a life that beams gratitude.
Here are just some of the highlights from the evening: