Transforming The Lives of Juvenile Offenders by Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ
This Bible study provides a powerful method of presenting the gospel message to detained individuals. Key points such as breaking the law, standing before a judge and waiting to be sentenced are used as are illustrations residents can relate to. Next, they are taught how Jesus willingly, lovingly took their sentence upon Himself. Salvation, they learn, is a gift, but it is a gift they must receive. Upon acceptance of Jesus as their Savior, they are presented with a “Certificate of Adoption” suitable for framing.
The vast majority of residents in confinement do not have a relationship with their earthly father. Many times they also lack a stable, nurturing family. They frequently turn to the streets to meet their needs for security, love, acceptance, and sense of belonging. It is very important that detained individuals understand that, the moment they accepted Jesus as their Savior, they were adopted into the family of God. You Have Been Adopted teaches about the blessing of becoming a member of the family of God.
This is a follow-up after salvation and answers the question, “Now what?” Those completing this study will learn how to grow spiritually through spending time with God in prayer and by reading the Bible. They will also be encouraged to go to church and to begin relationships with other Christians.
This study teaches a very important message to people who are locked up in that they learn that God loves them and that they were created on purpose, for a purpose. They begin to learn what part of that purpose is and are taught the concept of being led by the Lord.
The vast majority of at-risk and incarcerated individuals do not have a relationship with their biological father, nor do they have any positive male role model in their life. Needless to say, they struggle with believing they now have a Father who loves them. In this study they learn that their Father in heaven does love them while also learning about some of the qualities of that love.
The Lord created us with a void in our hearts, an empty heart. Your Empty Heart makes participants aware of this emptiness and teaches how an individual may try to fill their empty heart with things that do not work and will not last. It goes on to teach how their empty heart can be filled through God’s love and acceptance.
Many children in detention express a strong desire to change their behavior. However, they struggle with believing they really can change. Those completing You Can Change are taught that they have become a new creation in Christ. They also learn that God is able and willing to help them change.
Many at-risk individuals and individuals involved in the correctional system have lost hope. They feel doomed to a life of crime and confinement at best or worse, to a premature and violent death. They oftentimes feel that there is no way out for them. This study teaches that, according to the Word of God, this is not true. They are taught that they do have hope because of what Jesus has bought and paid for at the cross.
Incarcerated individuals oftentimes have a history of having been hurt emotionally and physically. Through this study, they learn that Jesus is not the One who inflicts these things on them. Instead, He suffered rejection, betrayal, abandonment, and beatings for them.
Most residents in detention centers, jails, and prisons have not chosen friends that have provided a positive influence in their lives. This study teaches them about the importance of choosing friends wisely and some of the characteristics the Bible teaches to look for or avoid in a friend.
Typically, children in detention have learned how to treat other people based on the “code of conduct” they have learned on the streets. They are frequently shocked when they learn that the “get even” mentality is not what the Bible teaches about how to treat other people. This eye-opening study teaches detained youth how God instructs Christians to treat others.
Sometimes new Christians do not understand why they need to change their behavior. As they complete this study, they learn what the Bible has to say about the consequences of choosing a sinful lifestyle.
This is the first of two Bible studies dealing with spiritual warfare. In this study they are taught that they have an enemy, who their enemy is, what his goals are, and why he has those goals.
When someone in detention thinks of weapons, they think of the weapons the world uses such as knives and guns. This study teaches them that they have spiritual weapons provided by God, what those weapons are, and how to use them.
Many times children in detention have questions about how to pray. They may feel they are not “doing it right”. Even though prayer is simply talking to God, this study teaches some basics about who to pray to and the power of prayer. It also addresses the circumstances in which prayer in not heard.
Most residents in detention centers carry deep-seated anger from past abuse, abandonment, and neglect. This study teaches that, although anger is not necessarily sinful, they need to be careful not to sin while they are angry. They also learn what the Bible teaches about holding on to anger and how to ask God for help in this area.
The vast majority of children in detention feel that their sins are too great to be forgiven by God. This study teaches that God is willing to forgive all their sins, even the big ones, and the completeness of God’s forgiveness that was paid for by Jesus on the cross.
Trusting others does not come easy to many children in detention. Sometimes life has taught them that they cannot trust those they should be able to trust. To move into a close relationship with God, they need to learn to open their hearts up to Him and trust Him. This study teaches them what the Bible says about trusting God and that He is worthy of their trust.
Retaliation, not forgiveness, is taught on the streets. This is in direct contradiction with what the Bible teaches. However, most children in detention are totally unaware of what the Bible teaches on this subject. This study also includes a section on how to have God’s help in forgiving others.
Juvenile offenders do not typically see themselves as being in bondage to sin. Most often, they believe that freedom comes through choosing sin. However, once they complete this study, they will understand that sin brings negative consequences and following Jesus brings freedom.
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” John 8:32