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Former Carey DOM continues jail ministrycomment (0)

December 9, 2010

By Anna Swindle

While Pete Phillips was director of missions for Carey Baptist Association, he felt called to start a jail ministry to reach out to the inmates.

Now, 18 years later, the ministry is going strong, incorporating the assistance of 20 volunteer pastors who take turns preaching at the Clay County Jail in Ashland each Sunday at 9 a.m.

[Phillips] had a good model in wanting to include as many ministers as possible,” Ben Rosser said.

“Brother Pete chooses the minister that’s scheduled in the rotation, and on Friday of that week, he’ll call and say, ‘Brother, it’s time to be a blessing and be blessed.’” Rosser is pastor of Liberty Baptist Church, Ashland, in Carey Association and was one of the first pastors to join Phillips in the jail ministry.

“I’ve seen God work in the hearts of men and women and have seen souls won there for Christ,” he said.
“It’s been a delight and a great joy through the years.”

His wife, Quita, is also actively involved in the outreach, leading the Bible study for female inmates during the week.

The Rossers have even been able to keep up with a few inmates post-release, affirmation that God is working in people’s hearts for the long term. Phillips is encouraged by the ministry’s growth so far and hopes for more in coming years.

He has seen it expand from reaching five to six inmates each week to 35 to 40 on a given Sunday.

It has even been able to purchase a portable baptistery to baptize inmates on-site.

In past years, inmates had to be taken to local churches to be baptized.

“I was looking back at our records, and we had a lot of baptisms before we got the baptismal (pool), but in the last three and a half years since we’ve had it, we have baptized 54 inmates and we have two awaiting baptism right now,” Phillips said.

Richie Farrow, pastor of High Pine Baptist Church, Roanoke, in Randolph Baptist Association, has remained involved in the ministry even though he no longer lives as close to the jail as he once did.

“There have been times I’ve thought about giving up the prison ministry, but there’s been times I’ve showed up Sunday morning and preached at the jail and the Lord showed up and showed out,” Farrow said.

“Every time there’s been a doubt, He’s always reminded me how I loved it and relished the chance to go. It’s a rewarding ministry that changes lives.”

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