After 40 years as a church pastor and seven years in prison ministry, Mike Broyles has joined Awana as executive director of Awana Lifeline™. This new role enables Mike to continue his vision for fathers inside and outside of prison, only on a much larger scale.
“I want to train fathers in the church,” Mike says, “while involving them in the lives of inmates and inmates’ children around the world.”
In 2006, while serving as a family life pastor, Mike devised a unique idea for training fathers in his church. Mike recruited 20 men to assist him in mentoring prisoners at Los Angeles County Jails. L.A. County is the largest prison system in the world.
Mike and the men taught the inmates how to live up to their biblical responsibilities as fathers using Malachi Dads, a prison program of Awana Lifeline. Many of the inmates came to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Others began seeking ways to positively impact their children’s lives through the principles they learned in the program. To Mike’s delight, members of his volunteer team experienced dramatic changes, too.
“The wives of these men came up to me and asked, “’What are you doing to our husbands?’” Mike recalls. “One woman explained, ’For the first time ever, my husband is praying with me and reading the Bible each night to our kids.’ I told them, ‘The inmates are the ones teaching your husbands how to be godly men and godly fathers.’”
Building a legacy of faith in Christ through fathers
Mike believes strongly in Awana Lifeline’s vision that every child would have a godly father who is building a legacy of faith in Christ. He looks forward to continuing Lifeline’s nine-year-long mission as a fathering ministry – inspiring and equipping men, families, churches and communities to develop godly dads.
“Mike is a visionary leader committed to the Lord’s work,” Awana President/CEO Jack Eggar says. “He has a heart and passion for children, fatherhood and prison ministry. I believe Mike will lead Awana Lifeline to influence more men in the church and in prison than ever to be the fathers that their children urgently need.”
Equipping inmates to disciple their children
Mike partnered with Awana Lifeline for several years while serving as a pastor for Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita, California. His primary involvement was leading the Malachi Dads program at Pitchess, one of the prison facilities in L.A. County Jails.
In 2011 and 2012, Mike served as director of prison ministries for World Impact. Using Malachi Dads, Mike has seen more than 1,000 men trust Christ for salvation in L.A. County Jails. Another 1,200 inmates have learned how to spiritually lead their children, 500 men have been baptized, and another 150 are studying to become pastors.
“I hope we can take Malachi Dads farther than ever,” Mike reveals. “And I think there’s just as great of a spiritual revival needed among men in churches as men in prisons.”
Mike also helped run five Returning Hearts Celebration events at L.A. County Jail and at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola. Returning Hearts unites children and their incarcerated fathers for a carnival-style day of fun, relationship building and Bible teaching inside the prison grounds. The event opens the opportunity for dads to reconcile with their children and invite their kids to receive Christ as their Savior.
The most rewarding experience of his years in ministry
Mike’s efforts training fathers inside and outside the church has been the most fulfilling experience of his 40 years in ministry. “I’m a different person today because of the inmates I’ve encountered,” Mike notes. “I like to say that the best education I’ve had in the last several years has come from inmates who love Jesus Christ.”
Mike assumes leadership for a ministry that has quickly grown across North America since launching in 2004. Over 50 prisons and jails have enlisted Malachi Dads, graduating over 1,500 men from the program. Returning Hearts Celebrations have taken place at dozens of prisons. Since 2011, the Turn Assembly has challenged hundreds of free men through unique gatherings held inside prison walls. Two years ago, Awana Lifeline expanded its mission into local churches and community settings.
“Awana Lifeline is about bringing hope, joy and forgiveness to inmates and their families and men in churches and their families all across America,” Mike explains. “It’s about breaking the cycle of crime and the cycle of sin from generation to generation. We’re about seeing men in prisons and men in churches become the light of the world.”