A prison ministry helps inmates connect with Christ through a mobile app that provides access to sermons, devotions, worship music, and more.
God Behind Bars works to restore the lives of inmates during their incarceration and after their release by strengthening their faith.
The ministry created Panda in January 2021, an app that allows inmates to stream Christian content while using a prison tablet. Pando is also free to download from Google Play and the App Store so inmates and their families can watch the same material.
Isaac Holt, chief innovation officer for God Behind Bars, told CBN News that usage of the app is growing with 70 churches adding new content every week.
“We were dreaming of wanting access to more prisons,” he told CBN News. “We wanted to have a bigger impact, but it’s hard to get into that. It took a year and a half of researching and trying things out, and then we finally figured out how to do it.”
Holt said Wi-Fi access is the department’s biggest challenge because some states have newer technology and requirements vary from state to state.
“When the tablet is plugged into the charging station, it connects to Wifi, which allows you to watch 4,000 videos on the application,” he explains.
God Behind Bars partners with different companies that provide tablets to prisons. The ministry pays for Pando to be downloaded onto the tablet so inmates can use it for free.
“There are a million tablets in use across the country and the Pando app is currently installed on 180,000 of them. We are constantly fundraising because we don’t want to charge them to experience the gospel,” Holt said. “We want every inmate to experience the gospel and hear the name of Jesus.”
Holt says Pando is the only free app inside prisons and the only one that can be pre-installed on tablets.
The Las Vegas-based ministry is also partnering with local churches across the country to essentially put a satellite campus inside prisons.
“We’re in 26 states coast to coast and the app is used in over 250 jails and prisons,” Holt told CBN News.
“We just launched our 53rd church behind bars with 22 more locations over the next 12 months,” he added.
Holt also highlighted the positive impact Pando has on inmates.
“Each app church receives about 100 letters a month from inmates using the app. Inmates can accept Christ on the app, which tells them what Jesus looks like.” Holt says 70,000 inmates professed their faith in Jesus on the app.
Pando also allows inmates to watch The chosen series and use the Bible Projectwhich breaks down each book of the Bible to make it easier to understand.
Holt shared the story of a Florida prison inmate whose bedmate watched The Chosen on the app. Holt said the man accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and started coming to church while in prison.
In another tale of praise, Holt recalled how the app prompted a former inmate to search for the same church he was watching while incarcerated.
“An inmate watched a sermon from Elevation Church. He was released from prison and said, ‘I have to go to this church. The first person he met at church was a volunteer who was also a warden at a prison,” Holt said.
Holt said the former inmate was then introduced to another church volunteer who was able to secure him a job, which he started the next day.
“This former inmate accepted Christ and was baptized a few weeks later,” Holt recalled.
God Behind Bars also films inmates singing their favorite worship song, which they share on their social media sites.
And the ministry is working on an event for this fall where they hope to reunite 100 incarcerated inmates with their children.
To learn more about God Behind Bars and Pando, click here.
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