Pastors to Prisoners first filed for non-profit status in November, 1995. We obtained IRS approval as a non-profit organization in February 1996. At the present time, we have Yard Pastors and a Spanish Program Coordinator assigned at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility and Yard Pastors at Centinela State Prison in the Imperial Valley. The ministry headquarters are in San Diego, CA. The Board of Directors for the ministry meet quarterly at the Torrey Pines Christian Church in Del Mar, CA. If you are interested in supporting the ministry or meeting with the Board of Directors, please contact us for more information.
To understand the need for Yard Pastors first you need to understand the NEED in the state prisons of California. California Correctional Facilities house an average of 4500 inmates per prison; this is about twice the number of inmates to which the prison was designed to accommodate. These inmates are divided among 4-6 separate facilities or “yards” within the prison. Sheer numbers and distance between the various yard chapels limit the effectiveness of the one paid Protestant Chaplain assigned to each prison. The Volunteer Yard Pastor has special clearance from the prison administration to work principally on one yard (about 1000 men) to assist the Chaplain with all the duties necessary to have an active chapel program on the yard.
The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability is an accreditation agency dedicated to helping Christian ministries earn the public’s trust through adherence to Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship. Founded in 1979, the ECFA provides accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations that faithfully demonstrate compliance with established standards for financial accountability, fund-raising and board governance. Other members besides Pastors to Prisoners include Christian ministries, denominations, churches, educational institutions and other tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations.
The ECFA made public the acceptance of Pastors to Prisoners as an accredited ministry in August, 2010, after months of preparation by the ministry to meet the high standards demanded by the EDFA agency. In the announcement, ECFA said, in part, “Pastors to Prisoners joins a growing number of Christ-centered churches and ministries across America, supported by over 35 million donors that have earned the right to display the ECFA seal. When an organization is accredited by ECFA, it demonstrates its willingness to follow the model of biblical accountability.”
“We are pleased to include in our membership a ministry committed to providing support to ministers working with the incarcerated,” said Dan Busby, president of ECFA.
We invite all supporters to “Come and See” the ministry in action. Visit a chapel in one of the yards at RJ Donovan Correctional Facility and see how Christ is moving these men. To gain admittance to the prison you must first attend a volunteer orientation in order to qualify for a gate pass to visit. These volunteer orientations are given monthly, most of the time by the state protestant chaplain. Attending the orientation is the FIRST step in getting cleared to enter the prison and witness God’s work in the yard chapels. At the orientation, you will receive additional information on receiving your clearance.
Pastors to Prisoners and KAIROS compliment each other with their ministries. The Pastors to Prisoners ministry make the chapels more accessible to the KAIROS ministry so that a KAIROS weekend can more easily be scheduled. With a Yard Pastor to help escort KAIROS volunteers into the prison, help to smooth the process of getting all the KAIROS weekend materials into the yard chapel, and have a institution-approved volunteer to oversee the chapel program in the absence of the protestant chaplain, the KAIROS program can be a great mission tool. Our yard pastors remain after the KAIROS volunteers have left to continue building the church on the yard with the new KAIROS graduates.
We always welcome support of our ministry and especially our Yard Pastors who serve in the prison chapels day in and day out. There are several ways to donate money to the ministry. You can send a check to us, or send funds electronically through Pay Pal and Google Checkout right from our website. You can designate your donation to be used in support of a particular Yard Pastor, or program. All of your donation is tax deductible.
Yes we do… and thanks for asking! Pastors to Prisoners publishes a periodic newsletter entitled “The Difference Inside”. Past issues of the newsletter are available right here on our website. We offer both a printed version of our newsletter and a digital version (our effort in saving trees) that can easily be mailed to you at your e-mail address. Please contact us if you would like to be added to our mailing list. All persons who donate to our ministry are automatically added to the newsletter list.
Brochures are also available for the asking, as are speakers for your church or community. These brochures are constantly updated so as to contain the most current information about Pastors to Prisoners. The digital version of the brochure is also available on the website where you can download and print if you wish.