Celebrating 33 Years of Prison Ministry Leadership in Florida Conference
This article originally appeared in the Winter 2022 issue of Florida Focus, published by the Florida Conference Public Relations Department and written by Janeth Montenegro.
Thirty-three years ago, God spoke to Frank and Maxine Barton and urged them to begin a ministry for men and women behind bars. Little did they know that this God-inspired idea would take them throughout Florida and into several state prisons in the Southern Union.
This ministry has touched and changed thousands of individuals who are currently or were previously incarcerated along with their families. Several have even turned over their lives to God and gone on to serve local churches in various ministries, even leadership. The Bartons have served as two of the most effective prison ministry leaders the Seventh-day Adventist church has ever seen.
At their official retirement banquet in May 2022, hosted by Florida Conference Administration, it was announced that the Bartons did not just develop and train leaders to continue prison ministry, but they also produced a curriculum for the LAMB program—ministering to children and families of inmates—that is edited and published by the North American Division and will be used as a resource for Prison Ministries in all of the NAD.
Frank and Maxine were moved to tears as Prison Ministries directors from the North American Division, Southern Union, and Florida Conference, along with a crowd of conference staff and community representatives, came together to appreciate them.
Cleveland Houser, Prison Ministry Consultant for NAD, and David Long, Prison Ministries director for Southern Union, were among the invited guests. They both spoke eloquently of the Bartons’ leadership and shared tributes on behalf of their respective administrations.