Building a Culture of Safety and Forgiveness
MORAL REHABILITATION: CREATING HOPE AND PURPOSE WITHIN THE PRISONS OF WEST VIRGINIA
Mount Olive Bible College is a living testimony of God’s faithfulness to WV prison inmates, as it advances the Gospel of Christ to redeem lives, transform souls and instruct students in high quality academic training.
Several years ago, Mt Olive Bible College was established at Mount Olive Correctional Center in response to a need for some prisoners to grow in a deeper knowledge and application of biblical principles. Through a partnership between Catalyst Ministries and Appalachian Bible College, these student inmates learn to rightly divide the Word of Truth, and stand strong on a strong academic program with challenging curricula and disciplined coursework. The Bible College is a Full-Time, Four-Year Accredited College. Following a rigorous academic class schedule, inmates can achieve a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college, in Bible/Theology and Pastoral Ministry.
The majority of those graduating from the Bible College won’t be getting out; they will stay inside the system, helping transform the system from the inside out. Inmates listen to their own; they give far greater credence to the voice of their own than they do to the voices of free-world volunteers. Inmates tend to look at an inmate minister as one of their own. They are more receptive to the Christian message because they look at the minister and know he is in here with them. This has proven to be more effective than if some stranger comes in from the outside and tries to minister to them.
As these godly men grow in both knowledge faith, they grow in practical application skills in doctrine, theology, the Bible and spiritual aptitudes. Most importantly, as the students embark on four years of study, we begin to witness a change in both their worldview and self-worth, as layers of pain and hopelessness are replaced by the living power of a Bible education.
The Bible College students, upon Graduation, will be sent to other West Virginia prisons in the state, where they will serve on staff of the prison Chaplains. They will assist those Chaplains in their individual prison ministries. Their very presence will begin to change the culture of the prisons to which they are assigned.