An Iron-Barred Mission Field – The Columbia Metro Connection Podcast – Episode #005

     Welcome to the Columbia Metro Connection, a podcast where you can go to get valuable, relevant, and quality resources for you and your congregation.
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     The Columbia Metro Connection is sponsored and supported by the Columbia Metro Baptist Association and the almost 100 partner churches that support the ministry of the CMBA.
     This podcast features Pastor Andre Melvin.  Pastor Andre is the pastor at Temple Zion Baptist Church and Executive Director of the Columbia International University Prison Initiative.  The prison initiative’s mission is to train inmates to live in accordance with Biblical principles and to equip them for the unique ministry opportunities afforded by their incarceration.

Hosts for this week’s Podcast:


  • The goal of the prison program is to train the inmates to receive an associates degree in order to reach their fellow prisoners with the gospel.
  • Trainees, upon graduation, are sent to another institution to work under a chaplain to minister to the needs of the people in that institution
  • To date, we have graduated 145 students and they’re stationed in twenty-two institutions throughout the state and two opted to go to Alabama and start a program there.
  • The goal of the prison initiative is missiological: train the locals to reach their peers.
  • Graduates have been spat on and “things” thrown at them as they are seeking to minister to tough yards.
  • Prison ministry helps us understand to not forget about those who are incarcerated.
  • Many inmates admit that when they were free (out of jail) they were really imprisoned (in their souls). But that through the physical incarnation they’ve found Jesus and are freer than they’ve ever been.
  • We’re called to live incarnationally among [the lost] in order to reach them.
  • God’s love is always attached to an action.
  • Prison is just another mission field.

Connect with Pastor Andre Melvin


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