2016 Celebration: How to Fish for Disciples in Solitary Confinement


One of our newer believers asked me to go talk to a guy who had recently been transferred to solitary confinement in the prison.

So I went and talked to him. I was on one side of the glass, and he was on the other. The conversation really opened up when we discovered he knew a guy who I had discipled from another prison.

During our conversation, I told him about Discovery Bible Study (learn more about DBS) and talked to him for about five minutes about how to do it. I didn’t have anything with me at the time, but later I was able to send him a small Discovery Bible Study workbook called 10 Stories of Hope, that he could have with him in solitary confinement.

He started going through it, and God really grabbed ahold of him. So he banged on the wall of his cell, got the attention of the guy next to him in solitary, and said, “I’ve got something here that I want you to take a look at.” Then he took the Bible study and did something those in prison call “fishing” or “cadillacking.” He tied a string and a AA battery to the paper, and slid it along the floor to the neighboring cell.

The guy in the next cell started going through 10 Stories of Hope, then he banged on the wall of the guy in cell number three.

This happened with five successive cells: The guy I’d met sent it to the inmate in cell two, who sent it to the inmate in cell three, who sent it to the inmate in cell four, who sent it to the inmate in cell five!

As these five guys were going back and forth with this study, the prison guard passed through and stepped on it. Typically guys might be passing drugs or other security threats around this way. “I got you!” he said.

“Uh, yeah,” responded the prisoner. “You caught me studying the Bible.”

Not believing him, the guard picked up the paper and examined it. “Now I’ve seen everything.”

The next time the guard came through he told the block, “I come through here every half hour. Make sure you guys do your study in the meantime.”

Today, that first inmate is out of prison and part of a group of “out-mates” (former inmates) called Brothers Behind Bars, who are digging deep into discipleship and the Bible, and reaching out to others.

I spent very little time with this guy initially. I just explained the study and got it into his hands. He took it and ran with it, because of what the Lord did in his heart. That’s the power of God.


Would you consider supporting this work with a special year-end gift to catalyze new movements of the gospel across America?

We're excited to share a few stories of where we've seen God on the move among our staff this year! You can learn more about the impact of our ministries around the world by downloading our 2016 Annual Ministry Report, a colorful two-page insert that shares the reach and focus of our ministries, stats on some of the results we've seen over the last year, and how we have stewarded our finances as an organization.

[Prison story from Phil Alessi, Accelerate, North America]