Our History


In 1995, graduates of DISCIPLE at Mt. Pisgah United Methodist Church in Greensboro, NC established a DISCIPLE Bible Study at Forsyth Correctional Center in Winston-Salem. This first study gave birth to the DISCIPLE Prison Ministry of North Carolina and since then the ministry has experienced tremendous growth. Since 1999, DISCIPLE Bible Study has been taught in 70 different correctional institutions in North Carolina with lay and clergy volunteers as prison volunteers.

The success of this ministry was due in part to endorsements the ministry received from the Department of Corrections in Raleigh. These endorsements opened prisons doors to United Methodist congregations in North Carolina so that the vast potential of this ministry could be realized.

DISCIPLE was needed to provide strong discipleship training to help inmates grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. By linking inmates with local congregations, an added benefit was that a network of caring Christian friends was established to nurture parolees as they rediscovered their place of belonging within the community. The ministry has not only benefited inmates, it also benefited local congregations.  It has exposed many congregations to the needs of prison inmates and their families.  Because inmates were often brought to the local churches for worship and other programs, participating churches witnessed the breaking down of many barriers such as race, fear, and misunderstanding that divide God’s people.

Seeing the need for education and advocacy, Disciple Bible Outreach Ministries went through a revisioning process in 2020. The ministry has now been relaunched with a new name, mission and vision. We are pleased to announce ourselves. We are Cross and Key Prison Ministries!

Solidarity with people in prison is at the heart of Christian discipleship and ministry.  Jesus claimed “release to prisoners” as central to his mission (Luke 4:18); and he declared that visiting those in prison is a means of visiting him (Matthew 25:36 ). And, let us remember that Jesus himself was a convicted felon and was executed by the Roman government. What better way to grow in discipleship than sharing in Bible study with people who live behind prison walls?  There we will meet the Crucified and Risen Christ!
Kenneth Carder

Bishop (Retired), United Methodist Church

Nothing is more important today than Prison ministry. We have so many men and women behind bars. I am so proud of Disciple Bible Outreach Prison Ministry. Taking the small group Bible study lead by laypersons into the men and women prisons is powerful. It is helping inmates change their lives. Laymen week by week go into the prison and build meaning Christ centered relationships. Mark Hicks has built the program prison by prisons and state by state, I am so proud of his leadership. Jesus said “I was in prison and you came to me – that is what Disciple is doing.  God Bless, Disciple Bible Outreach Prison Ministry,
Richard B. WIlke

Bishop (Retired) & Author of The Disciple Bible Study Series, United Methodist Church

Your participation helps us provide materials to minister and share the Word of God.

Cross and Key Prison
Ministries, Inc.
300 N. Howe Street
Southport, NC  28461
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 358
Oak Island, NC 28465
Toll-free (855) 980-7400

The lives of both inmates and volunteers are being transformed.

“The need is so great and the work is so hard but doing this ministry gives me the greatest joy.” ~ A Volunteer

Please Join Us


Micah 6:8

“Do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God.”