About Catalyst Ministries
Catalyst Ministries was formed to respond to a clear call from the God of the Bible into West Virginia Prisons. We found the need to provide unexpected help to those who have no voice, no influence, and no ability to repay.
- We offer an unusual prison response – Moral Rehabilitation. Our centerpiece is a full-time, nationally accredited Bible College at Mt. Olive Correctional Complex. When men study the word and works of Jesus Christ and the morality He teaches, they usually undergo a complete transformation of their hearts. That leads to a transformation of their values, their character, behavior, and methods of leadership. And those things work to bring a new kind of prison reform. The prison becomes safer and more forgiving– and the inmates begin to reconcile with one another, their families, and the correctional officers. The graduates of the Bible College adopt a new worldview.
- In addition, as a Catalyst Ministries donor, your support allows us to implement the following ministries throughout the prisons of West Virginia:
- Mt. Olive Bible College - We, along with the West Virginia Div. of Corrections and Appalachian Bible College have developed the first 4-year Bible College in a prison in West Virginia’s history. The inmate students are full-time; meaning their primary role within the prison is to study the Word and works of Jesus Christ.
- Malachi Dads - Malachi Dads is a fathering ministry of Awana Lifeline that challenges and teaches Christian men how to grow into godly parents, equipping them to spiritually train their children regardless of their circumstances while intentionally building a legacy of faith in Christ. It is aimed at reconciling and restoring the relationship between the inmate father and his children.
- Discipleship Initiative – Bible-based initiatives aimed at spiritual growth, personal development and practical application.
- Hannah's Gift - We teach incarcerated mothers to foster a healthy relationship with their children, while taking the steps necessary to prepare themselves to build healthy family structures upon release. Hannah’s Gift is a ministry of Awana Lifeline.
- A Day with Dad Celebration – A day when the children of the inmates come into the prison to spend the day with their dad, just children and father. It’s a day focused on forgiveness and restoration. A day where the inmate father can begin by saying “I’m Sorry” and “I love you” while enjoying a day of inflatables, games, crafts, food and fun.
- America’s Bloodiest Prison began its Bible College nearly 22 years ago. Today that prison, the Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola), is perhaps the world’s safest prison. Their Bible College is given the major share of the credit, and a large part goes to then Warden Burl Cain who opened the gates to un-traditional methods and new approaches to prison reform. West Virginia has followed suit, with the help of Catalyst Ministries and its partners: West Virginia Division of Corrections, Appalachian Bible College. The Bible College in West Virginia is our response to what we have seen occur at Angola, where their astoundingly high violence rate dropped nearly75% since the Angola Bible College was created.
How it Began
Testimony from Mr. Calvin Sutphin II
Sitting on a park bench on July 16, 2009, I asked Jesus to forgive and help me. By worldly standards, although having met the definition of the “American Dream”, I sat physically, mentally and spiritually broken. It was at that place of brokenness I prayed “God, if you’ll strengthen and restore me, I’ll submit the rest of my life to you.” God began to strengthen and restore and I began to pray for His calling and purpose for my life.
Soon I began receiving invitations from friends to visit WV prisons and even traveled to Angola Prison in Louisiana. At first, I saw the invitations as kind gestures from Christian brothers. I continued to pray for God’s purpose and kept getting invitations to travel back to Angola prison. It was at Angola that a passion illuminated inside me that has never dulled. God had answered my prayer and His call was clear. Catalyst Ministries was founded to serve the incarcerated, those with no voice or influence. We were called into the prisons of West Virginia to impart the “good news” of Jesus Christ, coupled with consistent discipleship as Jesus gave us in Mathew 28:19, “The Great Commission.”
Everything we do is focused on Safer Communities, Fewer Future Victims and Preventing the Children of Inmates from following their Parents into Prison.
We have introduced and are working with the West Virginia Division of Corrections to implement a proven model of prison reform called “Moral Rehabilitation." This non-traditional approach began at Louisiana State Penitentiary, better known as Angola Prison, under the leadership of Warden Burl Cain. Angola is the largest maximum security prison in the United States. Once known as “Americas Bloodiest Prison”, it’s now considered one of America’s safest. Angola’s violence has been reduced nearly 75% since Warden Cain’s arrival. Statistics reveal that a child who has an incarcerated parent is eight times more likely to end up in prison. Our highest priority is to break this cycle!
We believe nothing changes a person’s moral fabric more permanently than an encounter with the God of the Bible, and the forgiveness offered through the person and work of Jesus Christ. This conviction is the center of our work. When a person experiences spiritual transformation through Jesus Christ, moral rehabilitation occurs, resulting in fewer victims.