The vision of the Path to Freedom is to change the prison cycle by offering hope, support, and spiritual accountability to the incarcerated, persons returning to our community from prison, and the families of incarcerated persons in our congregation and community.
The mission of the Path to Freedom is to raise the awareness of our community about the challenges of persons affected by the prison cycle; Share our unconditional love and testimonies; and provide hope through helping persons tap into resources.
Located at St. John’s Downtown, the Path to Freedom Ministry was founded in April 2008 by Pastor Jonathan Chism. Pastor Chism invited ten members from St. John’s to join a council on initiating prison ministry. The council met for about six months, making connections and establishing the vision and goals of the Path to Freedom Ministry. The vision and mission statements were developed collectively by all members.
Members of the council have been affected by the prison cycle in one way or another, and several members have served time in TDCJ units. Collectively, members in our ministry have served greater than ninety years in TDCJ units.
In January 2009, the Council elected team ministry leaders to help expand the ministry. There names are listed below. Path to Freedom members voluntarily and willingly give their time, resources, and talent to support the vision and mission of St. John’s Downtown. St. John’s Downtown is truly a place that seeks to welcome and love everyone, including ex-offenders and their families.
Founder – While serving as an intern at St. John’s Downtown, Pastor Jonathan Chism studied the strong correlation between homelessness and criminal background. He noted that many men and women with a felony record have difficulty acquiring a job that enables them to live a self-sustaining life–paying the rent, mortgage, car note, childcare, etc. Faced with these odds, many return to a life of crime and inevitably back to prison.
Chism embraced God’s call to serve in prison ministry at St. John’s Downtown. Path to Freedom members are enthusiastic about allowing God to use them to change the prison cycle. Married to Courtney Miller-Chism, Pastor Chism is currently working on a doctorate at Rice University.
Sincere love to our senior pastors for their vision and leadership at St. John’s Downtown.
“We love you and there is nothing that you can do about it.”