At Trinity we are aware that not everyone is in the ideal situation to easily access a theological education. Through the Trinity Inmate Education Program incarcerated students can prepare themselves for a lifetime of Christian service, whether they wish to become a ministry leader or merely grow as a Christian learner. Trinity’s experienced distance education staff and faculty have created a specially structured program that works for those in the prison system. Inmates, through either their own means or by means of sponsorship, can learn the Word of God, keeping their mind and spirit growing.
Hear the testimony of David Pack, One of Trinity’s Students and a Former Inmate
My name is David Pack. I’m a pastor at Fremont Presbyterian Church in Sacramento, California. Although the sound of that may seem like I grew up in a perfect Christian home, lived a good life, attended seminary, and churches were jumping to hire me as a pastor; that wasn’t the case at all. At 19 years old, after making a series of poor decisions before knowing Christ I committed a crime that led ultimately led to being sentenced to life in prison at 21 years old. I thought my life was over, and even if it wasn’t, what was the point of going on. God got a hold of my heart pretty quickly and I began to sense He had a calling on my life; however, I was incarcerated and very limited so how could this work? I wrote Trinity Theological Seminary and was honest with them. By God’s grace Trinity responded and embraced me. They allowed me to enroll in their seminary at a discounted rate. More generous than that though were the ways they made accommodations for the restrictions that came with being incarcerated. They sent the right kind of MP3 discs, the right types of materials that could be accepted, and were willing to adapt to my world in order to assist me in fulfilling my call. God used Trinity to give me a great sense of purpose in a hopeless situation. He used them to ignite a great passion and hunger for His Word in a dark place. By God’s grace my life sentence was reversed after serving nearly 15 years. I walked out of prison with a B.A. in Pastoral Ministry, an M.A. in Conflict Management, and an M.A. in Biblical Counseling. As a result of this education and the church I am serving at sensing God’s call on my life they hired me in October of 2014 and my experience just keeps getting better. I am so thankful to Trinity for the difference they made in my life through making seminary affordable and realistic for me. If you are considering giving towards helping incarcerated men and women attend seminary while incarcerated it may be one of the wisest investments for God’s kingdom you can make. With the amount of time in there it’s a wonderful place to dive into God’s Word and be taught. In addition to that, however, are the practical skills learned in seminary are then immediately invested into a group of people in the prison setting who are desperate for a sense of hope. A seminary education can equip God’s children in the places you could never go to be a light where it’s needed most.
“Prisoners that study theology while in prison become the ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ in prison and outside prison. They have the truth which will be shared to families, friends and the society during their lifetime. Some of them may become pastors, chaplains, volunteers or just a worker in the kingdom of God.”
—Edward Lungu (Trinity Graduate and Prison Chaplain)
“On average, inmates who participated in correctional education programs had 43 percent lower odds of returning to prison than inmates who did not.”
—U.S. Department of Education
article: (Education and Justice Departments Announce New Research Showing Prison Education Reduces Recidivism, Saves Money, Improves Employment)