Hillcrest Goes to Prison

Friday, November 15, 2013

Hillcrest received a call in May of this year from Ms. Janice Roberson, Mentor Coordinator of the Faith Based Re-entry Program at the Federal Corrections Institution in Seagoville, inquiring about the possibility of Hillcrest facilitating a thirteen week Divorce Care program at the prison facility.

Ryan Mason, Associate Pastor of Education and Discipleship, connected Ms. Roberson to Jim Benton who is a Hillcrest member and part of the Hillcrest Jail Ministry Team. The Jail Ministry Team was led to accept the opportunity after much prayer, and the Lord’s blessing has already been evident.  God has smoothed the way for the ministry to become a functional force in the lives of people He cares about.

Inmates participating in the Re-entry Program are within one year of being released. The objective of the FCI Seagoville Faith Based Re-entry Program is to break the cycle of recidivism. The mission: “To help offenders with making their reintegration back into the community a success by encouraging them to become better husbands, fathers, and productive and responsible citizens.”

Hillcrest Baptist Church has been active in Divorce Care Ministry for several years. This ministry is offered several times throughout the year on the Hillcrest campus but now will be traveling to Seagoville Prison. Julie Johnson will be the Team Leader for the Seagoville program and will be joined by Jim Benton. God has orchestrated this ministry opportunity, and all the hurdles and obstacles along the way have been removed. All who have been asked to participate have accepted the calling. There are sixteen inmates registered to take the course.

As a result of connections Julie has with the Divorce Care Program at Willow Park Baptist Church in Aledo, Texas, we will be assisted at Seagoville by Gary Sleight who, when he heard about the Seagoville program, prayed about joining us as a facilitator. God answers prayers. Gary has joined the Hillcrest Divorce Care Team as a facilitator.

With this ministry, God has given us another opportunity to live the mission of Hillcrest Baptist Church, “Love and serve God. Love and serve others.”

The Faith Based Re-entry Program at FCI Seagoville is a program that targets life skills from three perspectives: character, interpersonal relationships, and daily living. The program is designed to help inmates by giving them practical tools they can use upon their release. Some of the objectives of the Faith Based Re-entry Program at the Seagoville facility are:

  • Spirituality/Spiritual Growth
  • Handling Personal Relationships
  • Building a Strong Life Foundation
  • Goal Setting
  • Communication
  • Financial Management
  • Parenting
  • Marriage
  • Grief Care
  • Divorce
  • Dealing with Emotions

The thirteen week Divorce Care Program for FCI Seagoville began on October 22 and continues through January 14, 2014. We ask our Hillcrest Family to pray that God will have His way and that His will be done. Pray that lives will be touched and changed. The team is grateful to Pastor Mike Simmons, Ryan Mason, Rod Jones and the support staff at Hillcrest for the work and commitment to this ministry.

The Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Seagoville, Texas, is a low security facility housing male offenders. The facility includes a detention center for male offenders and an adjacent satellite prison camp that houses minimum security male offenders.