Sugar Creek Baptist Church is proud to officially announce the addition of its third campus located at the Texas Department of Corrections and Justice (TDCJ) Darrington Prison in Rosharon, TX. Darrington is a maximum-security prison housing more than 1,800 male inmates. Sugar Creek has been actively investing in inmates by bringing hope, mentorship, discipleship and training for the past nine years. Through various programs, inmates are equipped with life changing messages in both English and Spanish.
Sugar Creek began its partnership with the Darrington in 2011 and has had an ongoing presence offering hope and restoration throughout the prison. Through ministry events like Day with Dad and Malachi Dads, Sugar Creek, along with local partnering churches, has had the opportunity to pour into the lives of hundreds of men and their families. Sugar Creek’s mission is to disciple these men as followers of Christ and to empower them to become better fathers, husbands and citizens who are both Godly and productive.
On October 9, 2019, Sugar Creek took a further step in its prison ministry by planting a church inside Darrington. Every Wednesday night, more than 160 inmates attend an English service and more than 90 attend a Spanish speaking service, which is held once a month. Inmates are given the opportunity to serve during these worship services as ushers, greeters, prayer counselors, worship leaders and in other roles alongside Sugar Creek staff and volunteers. We currently have 66 inmates actively serving in our services at Darrington. Being part of one of our services gives inmates the opportunity to take part in the core strategy of Sugar Creek: Worship, Connect, Serve and Share.
Sugar Creek’s weekly ministry is the highest attended Christian event at the prison. During the week, 25-30 small group bible studies are held in the day rooms of the unit where groups of 4-5 men learn God’s Word and are equipped in sharing the gospel with their fellow inmates.
On January 26, 2020 Sugar Creek made the Darrington prison an official multisite campus and on March 1, 2020, Pastor Mark Hartman made an official announcement to the 12,000-member congregation at Sugar Creek about Darrington becoming its third campus.
Sugar Creek is currently developing full ministry plans for the families of these inmates who live in the area, as well as a transition plan of re-entry and support for those inmates that will be released from the unit.
“God is most interested in the broken, marginalized, and forgotten. What I’ve seen at Darrington is nothing short of a revival. Hundreds of men are transformed by the gospel and then empowered to see the same life change in thousands more as they live out God’s plan and purpose for them right where they are,” said Libin Abraham, Sugar Creek’s pastor of multi-site ministry.
According to the TDCJ’s fiscal 2018 statistical report, more than 133,000 men are currently serving time in Texas prisons. This presents Sugar Creek with an immense opportunity to invest in lives through powerful messages and Christ centered programming. Over the last six years, Sugar Creek has contributed financially to the Darrington Seminary program to help fund the needs of the students. The vision for this program began in 2011 through the Heart of Texas Foundation, founded by Grove Norwood. Norwood saw a need to create a men’s seminary that could train inmates on how to share the gospel message and disciple men for Christ while still in prison. He then took the model of the seminary program at the Angola prison in Louisiana and replicated it here in Texas. Since the birth of Norwood’s vision, the foundation has partnered with The State of Texas Criminal Justice division and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, TX., to establish a 4-year, college degree program that trains inmates how to preach and pastor inside prisons. Approximately 35-40 inmates graduate from seminary every year.
When an inmate graduates with their degree from the Darrington Seminary, he is given the title of “Field Minister” and he, along with 3-4 other graduates, are commissioned and transferred to one of the 110 TDCJ units to support the unit chaplains and serve as disciple-making leaders. Sugar Creek trains graduates in simple, reproducible methods of evangelism like Four Fields and Three Circles, so that men can simply and effectively share Christ with others, make disciples and form groups that function as micro-churches. Since the first graduating class of 2015, there has been great success in reaching men for Christ throughout the Texas prisons. Through Sugar Creek’s newest campus at Darrington and growing in involvement in Prison Ministry, the opportunity exists to create a positive change in the TDCJ units.
“It’s amazing to see how God is moving in the Darrington unit and also to see Him moving across the entire TDCJ system of prisons,” said Gary Hill, pastor of administration at Sugar Creek.
For more information about Sugar Creek’s prison ministry, please contact Gary Hill or Libin Abraham at (281) 242-2858.
Read more on Sugar Creek’s Prison Ministry