Volunteer Opportunities

Partners in Freedom!

Evangelistic Worship Services

An important part of our ministry objectives is to evangelize prisoners who in turn disciple other convicts to turn from their evils ways and give their hearts to Jesus. Over 2,000 first time decisions are made every year. This is the equivalent of one prison per year surrendering to the Lord! We need your help for services, Bible studies and one-on-one counseling and we need it now. If ever there was a time to step out of the boat, it is now while the harvest is due and the trumpet is about to sound. So, here’s what an ideal team would be composed of.

What you need to assemble is a team of five volunteers:

  1. One would open the service in prayer and ask inmates to give their praise reports.
  2. You need one volunteer to then lead in song and praise. God inhabits His praises.
  3. Next is the volunteer that will give a short devotional with clear points that can be easily remembered.
  4. Then comes your minister that blesses them with a message fresh from the throne of the Lord.
  5. Now it is time to draw in the net and have a volunteer do an altar (alter) call.
  6. And then comes more praise and worship music and
  7. The service ends in corporate and private prayer.

After you have prayed about this exciting adventure, take your plans to your pastor and get his blessing to continue. Then you call us and arrange a volunteer orientation class before you start joining Rick Mathes in services at various prisons throughout Missouri and Illinois. In time, you will get the feel of how this needs to be done to the point where you are ready to spread your wings and fly on your own. At this time, Rick will schedule you into a State prison for your own services. This is when your ministry really takes hold. We encourage you to at least “test the waters” and join Rick from time to time to see what it is like. But be ever mindful that if you can’t walk on water, you’d better stay in the boat!

And then what?

We lay emphasis on confessing with your mouth Jesus AS Lord and believing in your heart God raised Him from the dead. This involves both intellectual assent and a heart-felt committment to His Lordship. We don’t advocate “cheap grace.” All they need at this point is the fundamentals that all evangelical Christians believe in. We leave the denominational distinctives to the pastors of the churches they will eventually join. Consequently, you will see Presbyterians, Baptists, and Pentecostals all in unity of Spirit and all pointing their swords in the same direction. They said it couldn’t be done but I can assure you that it is being done at the Mission Gate. Now we are ready to do the follow-up that necessarily follows.

Bible Studies

Most institutional Chaplains will permit you and your team to bring in pre-approved Bible study material and have classes on the fundamental basics that every new Christian that has been “born again” needs to know at this point of his Christian experience. You must have the Chaplain’s approval in advance of your providing this material to the residents. Your heart will be blessed when you participate in a chapel study with inmates hungering and thirsting for the Word of God. The fields are truly white unto harvest and you will be amazed at the turnout when you stick to the fundamentals that these new Christians so badly need to launch them on the road to understanding. We know that they will perish for lack of knowledge and thus have an obligation to be there for them as they diligently study the Gospel according to Jesus in His Word with your guidance.

Correspondance Bible Courses

There are many Bible study courses that are available and you choose which is best for your purposes as you lead the inmates in their study of the Word. We, however, are closely affiliated with the Christian Bible College and Seminary in Independence Missouri. These correspondence courses are available to inmates for only the cost of the materials. Tuition costs are extremely affordable and paid when the student can afford it, even many years after the courses are completed. No billing or interest charges are every made and when the tuition is paid, the degree is confered. This might include an Associates, Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate degree. It all depends on how far the student wants to persue his education. You just buy the book and mail in the lessons. They will be corrected and mailed back to you in a timely manner. When you have completed the course, the degree will be confered when you are able to pay the tuition in full. This gives maximum opportunity for prison inmates to at least get the course requisites completed and then at a later time, when the finances are right, pay the tuition. It can’t be made any easier and it is available upon application and at least a GED completion.

One-On-One Counseling

Chaplains welcome volunteers to come in during the week and provide counseling for the many residents that need to sit down and talk out thier problems with a qualified counselor. You become an unpaid staff member and are most welcomed by the Department of Corrections because you are bringing peace to the camp and well-being to the residents. This is a great opportunity to our senior citizens that prefer to witness during the day to avoid night driving. These seasoned saints have so much to offer and are looked up to by the students because of thier experience and maturity in their walk with the Lord. A respected counselor is a very valuable commodity in the whole plan of salvation. So we challenge you to reach back to those reaching out to the Lord and be a counselor that gets in thier gut, grabs their hearts and points to Jesus!

Mommy Read to Me

All Christian ministries have the same objective: Restore families before the throne of grace. We are no exception and we have found a way to assist incarcerated parents in keeping in touch with their children. What we do is send into a prison a qualified volunteer with an assortment of children’s books and a tape recorder. The parent picks out an appropriate book and reads it into the tape recorder with a verbal letter at the end. We in turn mail the book and tape to the children so that they might hear their mommy or daddy read a Christian book to them. The letter at the end will draw tears to their eyes as they draw closer to their parent that is so far away and unavailable to be with them. This is the closest thing to the parent being right there with them and as you can imagine it tightens the family bond and has been torn asunder by this heart wrenching event of imprisonment. I might add that the volunteers are as blessed as the parent knowing that they are fulfilling the will of our Lord by keeping the family intact in the only possible manner considering these circumstances.

Guest House Ministry

Mission Gate owns and manages 9 guest homes in the greater St. Louis area that have the capacity to house upwards of 50 former convicts that have given their heart to Jesus. When a saint is released from prison they have nothing to build thier lives upon and no hope of improving their situation. Our one year program, by application and approval, gives this former inmate a Christian environment and structured Aftercare Program to disciple them through the crawl, walk and run stages of sanctification. We provide them a clean and Christian residence with close supervision so that they might learn to live under Godly authority and make descisions that are pleasing to our Lord. This takes a lot of help and encouragement that can only come from the Body of Christ. This is your entry level if you have a heart for helping them become the Christian citizens the Lord intended them to be. Some of the volunteer opportunities include:

  1. Become a mentor to a Christian in need. Select the resident the Lord has led you to and be their friend and guide.
  2. Teach a class at our weekly meetings at the Central Christian School on Hanley Road in Clayton MO.
  3. Teach a class at one or more of our Guest Homes during the week. We usually combline serveral homes for this class.
  4. Support the new residents with the necessary “start up” needs they might have such as toiletries and clothes.
  5. Help them find employment through the various contacts you might have in the business community.
  6. Invite them to attend your church so that your fellowship may provide them a community of believers to grow with.
  7. Be a partner in ministry by supporting this effort with your local missions giving either personally or through your church.

Aftercare Program

The Guest House and Aftercare Program is available for one or more years to qualified Christian ex-offenders and former alcoholics and drug addicts. We are not equipped to service sex-offenders or arsonists. We have a capacity of 100 reseidents in our St. Louis homes or Fort Good Shepherd cabins. The purpose of which is to provide safe housing for those that need a Christian environment to launch their new life-style. Each is run by an in-house respected Christian leder who has been free of drugs and alcohol for at least 5 years. A resident assistant is a graduate of our program that wants to stay on and be a part of this exciting ministry. They both report to our Aftercare Committee any infractions of our rules. The Guest House Committee is a team of five members who oversee the day to day activities of our Aftercare Residential Program.

The Program goals and objectives are individualized to meet the resident’s needs. Each person’s strengths, weaknesses and identified problems and needs are taken into consideration when designing a regimen that will accomplish our goals. Networking with other services, agencies, resources and peole are an important part of our ministrie’s activities in order to advance toward the achievement of defined goals and objectives. Reporting to the Probation and Parole and/or Division of Family Services is a routine part of our task in order to provide the best possible service to our client, society in general and the community in which the resident will return to.

The volunteer opportunities are vaious and many as you can imagine and we have monthly training classes for those who are interested and committed to the success of this Aftercare Program. We enjoy the success of 8 out of 10 that complete our program never return to prison. This is a reversal of the failure rate of the Department of Corrections effort to correct.

Christmas Angel Mission

The Christmas Angel Mission is designed to bless the children of Christian inmates, ex-offenders and other impoverished children with Christmas gifts, the Gospel and church referral. This is accomplished by delivering gifts to the kids right in their homes and having a Bible study that puts Christ back into Christmas. Thousands cannot be reached in their homes because of the lack of volunteers so we have Christmas parties that they are encouraged to attend.

  1. The St. Louis City outreach usually blesses several hundred children that do not have transportation to our parties.
  2. The St.Louis County Christmas party always draws 1,000 children and their guardians. You really need to see this!
  3. The Meramec Theater in Steelville MO provides a Christmas show that had 400 in attendance in 2004.
  4. There are about 130 children at the Hope House in St. Louis that are blessed each year plus.
  5. An Native American community receives hundres of gifts and the clear message that Jesus is Lord.

We guarantee that there won’t be a dry eye in the place as you see these precious little souls lift their hands to the Lord and give Him their hearts! And then we all sing “Happy Birthday Jesus” at the top of our lungs. I am sure He is smiling back!

There are 140 participating churches in this annual event and much planning and many volunteers are needed to bless approximately 3,000 children with gifts, the Gospel and church referrals. You need to be involved and I guarantee you that you will be blessed as you never have before. We are not affiliated with Prison Fellowship nor with the Salvation Army. We depend on you and your fellowship to insure that local mission giving is received locally, in the community you live in.

Para-Church Ministry

We exist to assist the Church in those areas in which we specialize in. We are under the authority of the participating churches knowing that we can accomplish much more together than independenly of each other. We minister along-side of the Church and have been enthusiastically received by all as a real asset to their fellowship and ministry purposes. Our goal is to train our ex-offenders to be the ambassador to the church of their choice so that when the occasion arises, their church may avail themselves of our resourses. The Mission Gate is opened so wide, it is almost falling off it’s hindges!

Our paycheck is when our Christian graduates attend the church of their choice and become productive members of their community as example of Christ’s life giving Spirit. They then are a real gift from the Lord and example of what is usually called the “Jesus Factor” in the prison system. It works and we are anxious to prove it in your fellowship as the Lord would lead and encourage you to participate. Those that have been forgiven much, owe much so please lift up this effort to the Lord for His guidance and then act accordingly for His honor and glory.

The Prison and Jail Field

St. Louis County Justice Center
St. Louis City Jail
Cuba City Jail
Steelville City Jail
St. Louis Workhouse
Algoa Correctional Center
Big Muddy Correctional Center
Boonville Correctional Center
Fulton Diagnostic and Reception Center
Greenville US Penitentiary
Leavenworth US Penitentiary
Marion Federal Penitentiary
Marysville Treatment Center
Moberly Correctional Center
Ozark Correctional Center
Potosi Correctional Center
Tipton Correctional Center
Western Correctional Center


The Prison Gate