AFLC Evangelism and Discipleship Emphasis Month, January 2021, Video #4 (Transcript)
-Pastor Scott Stroud, author “Get Out for Good: A practical biblical guide for released prisoners and their families”-
Hi! My name is Pastor Scott Stroud, and as you can probably see behind me here, there’s a stack of boxes that I’ve been packing up in my office here, over the last number of weeks, as my family and I get ready for a transition from St. Ansgar’s Lutheran Church in Salinas, California, where we’ve served for nine years, and transitioning up to Lake Stevens, Washington. Elim Lutheran Church has called us and we are excited to start this new adventure and this new challenge.
I’ve moved 46 times over the course of my life, and I know a lot about transitions, but one of the biggest transitions that I made was from my time in prison to the outside. You see, I was not always a Christian. Back in my youth, I was running wild and a lot of different things in my life led to a life of crime and I spent four years and St. Cloud penitentiary for a armed robbery that I did in Bloomington, back when I was 21 years old. But in that time, the Lord took a hold of me and began to disciple me and change me through the evangelistic efforts of so many different people that were coming in and then those on the outside that really began to speak into my life and began to invite me into their homes, even. So, during the course of a number of years, there was a man named Pete Lundin who discipled me, even inviting me into his home to live with he and his wife for a year-and-a-half. He introduced me to my wife. That was an amazing transition, but it didn’t happen by accident. The success of that was really dependent on God’s provision for a mentor, and mentors, who really spoke into my life and helped me in that transition.
So, as we think about transitions for these guys in prison, men and women who really want to get out and to succeed on the outside, I wrote a first book called “Get Out for Good,” which was really written for the prisoner and their families, to help them with that transition, but now I’ve been invited by the Evangelistic Department of the AFLC to partner with them on a new book…a new vision. This vision is in regard to churches and the key role that they play in the lives of men and women who are getting out of prison. I know that many of you probably have not thought about doing a prison ministry and maybe don’t even know if there’s a prison or a jail near your church, but I’m here to tell you that, as on who has really benefitted from churches and individuals who have reached out, that it is a very vital ministry. In fact, it’s one that you could do in your own church, there. Perhaps your men’s group or women’s group are thinking of a way to do evangelism, but you’re just not sure how to do that. The book that we are working on, “Unexpected Harvest,” takes you step by step through that process: what to expect when you start a prison ministry; what to expect when you begin to engage these ex-offenders; the challenges of them getting out on the outside and the things that you’ll be helping them walk through.
As we think about the “least of these,” my brothers and sisters, that are in the prisons, I believe, truly, that the next wave of great leaders in the church, the AFLC and beyond, will be from these prisons. These men and women are hungry to hear about the Gospel message, to be freed from their pain, addictions, guilt, all the things that have bound them—Satan desires to keep them bound, to keep them down, but I know that God wants to raise them up as pillars in society and leaders in their congregations! So, would you consider to look in this “unexpected harvest,” in this field that maybe you wouldn’t normally think of plowing?
Stay tuned! We’re hoping to have a release of the book by the end of the summer. Right now, with the pandemic, of course there are not a lot of prisons that are open to having volunteers in, and so, I think the timing of this book will be perfect, as you think about, now, breaking free from all the social distancing and sheltering in place and all of that, to how you can have a ministry in the days and months ahead.
God bless you! And thank you, so much, for your ministry!
-AFLC Evangelism & Discipleship