During the month of December 2021, the jail ministries team of the Tullahoma, Tenn., Church
distributed more than 900 gifts bags to prisoners in five different jail counties.
The Tullahoma Church jail ministry, which has been operating for more than three years, partnered with “Christmas Behind Bars,” a nonprof- it organization that, according to its website, aims to reach the souls of the incarcerated for Christ. The gifted Christmas bags contained groceries such as flavored chips, health bars, ra- men noodles, cereal, and more.
“So, the bags are not identical because it depends on the donations that we get,” said Flo McIntyre, church member and personal ministries leader at Tullahoma Church. “But, they have basically the same things in them. Overall, we just want [the incarcerated person] to know that someone is thinking of them.”
In each bag is a card signed by the volunteers who helped assemble the gift. In addition, there are order forms for Bible studies with several organizations such as Amazing Facts, It Is Written, and Your Story Hour. The incarcerated person can order these studies for themselves or for their families outside.
The Tullahoma Jail Ministries team, which consists of eight individuals, personally delivered the Christmas bags throughout a two-week period. They visited five jail counties: Coffee County Jail, Moore County Jail, Grundy County Jail, Franklin County Jail, and Bedford County Jail.
“Normally people don’t reach out to [the incarcerated],” said Cliff McIntyre, Tullahoma Church member and part- time pastor at Decherd, Tenn., Church. “That’s the whole point to this. If nobody does [this ministry], they may never get the Gospel.”
Tullahoma Church started its jail min- istry in 2019. Since COVID-19 hit and health restrictions were put into place, the team had not been able to visit the prisons in person. However, in December of 2021, the Bedford County Jail allowed them to enter and personally deliver the Christmas gifts. In addition, despite the pandemic restrictions, the volunteers never stopped hosting Bible studies through video calls. McIntyre says that since they started the jail ministry, four people have made a decision for Jesus.
“My hope is that [the prisoners] that we reach will get eternal life and that they will keep it going,” McIntyre said. “They can tell their families; they can talk to other inmates or other people that maybe I can’t reach.”
Kentucky-Tennessee | February 2022