The Heart of Texas Foundation

Texas Malachi Dads History

The Texas Malachi Dads Program

“Leaving a Father’s Legacy”
sponsored by
The Heart of Texas Foundation

“Equipping inmate fathers to learn how to
rebuild and strengthen relationships with their children;
to leave a legacy of love to their children, and to stop
the family incarceration cycle of children.
Malachi Dads helps a father’s heart turn toward his children.”


 Click here to see the USA TODAY video about
the first Malachi Dads Chapter at
Angola State Penitentiary, LA
“Fathers for Life.”

OVERVIEW:  the Malachi Dads program is a men’s movement, a men’s legacy, a new identity.  It’s also a weekly Study Group that meets for 2 hours once a week under Chaplain’s supervision, facilitated by free-world volunteers and local churches and pastors, and is a 1-year curriculum for inmate fathers.  The men become community together, and learn how to live up to their biblical responsibilities as dads.  They learn how to become spiritual leaders to their children, how to reconcile relationships with their children, and how to help stop the children from following their dads into prison.  It began in the Angola Seminary and is now in over 50 prisons in many states.  The impact of the Malachi Dads program is extremely high in its effects on prison cultures, families, and children.  Malachi Dads inmates in the Los Angeles County Jail (20,000 men) were publicly credited with stopping a major riot in the LA County Pitchess prison in 2010.  Darrington Seminary graduates will be equipped to help Texas Chaplains and Volunteers start a Malachi Dads men’s study group at each prison to which they are transferred. The Heart of Texas Foundation will train local church volunteers to facilitate the weekly class. Inmate Field Ministers will assist their supervising Chaplains, and be assisted by local volunteers recruited and trained by The Heart of Texas Foundation and by AWANA, Inc, who is partnering with The Heart of Texas to facilitate Malachi Dads in Texas.

GOAL OF MALACHI DADS PROGRAM:  To teach inmates how to grow into godly fathers, to equip them to spiritually train their kids regardless of their circumstances, and to intentionally build a legacy of faith, forgiveness, and reconciliation. To help the dads learn how to mentor, counsel, and relate to their children.  To give the inmates a new identity, a new heart change, so that they become Malachi Dads… for the rest of their lives.

TEXAS AND MALACHI DADS.  The Heart of Texas Foundation, in a new partnership with the international children’s ministry, AWANA, Inc., will assist the Darrington Seminary Field Ministers and Chaplains to bring the Malachi Dads program to Texas prisons.  Application for approval as an Approved TDCJ Program will be made for Malachi Dads.  This will allow all Chaplains who have Field Ministers to use their Field Ministers, The Heart of Texas Foundation, AWANA, and local churches to help establish a Malachi Dads program in a prison.  The Heart of Texas Foundation will identify, recruit, and train local volunteers from area churches to facilitate and support the modest expenses of curriculum materials for each group of Malachi Dads.

The remote prison’s team of Field Ministers will be on hand to help organize, recruit members, and facilitate the Malachi Dads meetings within their prison.  From the Angola experience, we have learned that the Chaplain will see a remarkable change in the men who go through the program, due in large measure to the fact that the Field Ministers, most of whom are doing life sentences, will have a large impact on their lives as a result of the FM’s seminary training.

THE NAME.  The name, Malachi Dads, is taken from the last chapter of the last book in the Old Testament.  The verse is virtually the “last word” in the Old Testament, and is written in the context of breathtaking declarations by the God of the Bible.  These declarations begin in Malachi Chapter 3, and culminate in Chapter 4, verse 5-6:

“See, I will  send you the prophet Elijah before that

great and dreadful day of the Lord comes.  He will turn

the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts

of the children to their fathers….” (Malachi 4:5-6)

The thoughtful Seminary students and graduates conceived the idea that the Biblical narrative here declares that a “Malachi Dad” is one whose heart has been turned toward his children.  The idea invokes a new identity for the man who is a father; it invokes a new purpose in the man’s heart:  to be a better father to his children, even though he is in prison.

BEGINNINGS AT ANGOLA SEMINARY.  Malachi Dads was birthed in 2005 by a number of Angola Seminary students and graduates in the Louisiana State Penitentiary, with on-site assistance provided by the international children’s ministry, AWANA, Inc.  These men were responding to the heart cry of incarcerated fathers who, embracing their identity under God as the spiritual leaders of their families, sought to become equipped to reach and to disciple their children under the protective care of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  With the support and guidance from the Senior Warden, from faculty at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and from the world-wide children’s ministry,, all of whom came alongside the men in the Angola penitentiary to help create the Malachi Dads program.

CONTRIBUTING FACTORS TO DEVELOPMENT OF MALACHI.  The idea started after the first “Day with Dad” event at Angola, where children of inmates were, for the first time in an event of this kind, brought into the prison to spend all day playing with their dads.  When the children left, the dads goodbye to their children and went back to their cells asking questions like, “How do I have a relationship with my child?”  “I didn’t know what to talk about.”  “How do I tell them not to come into prison like I did?”  “How do I be a father while in prison?”

Many fathers in prison have been told by family members who have been terribly hurt by the crime, that they, the fathers, have lost their right to be fathers to their children.  Being in prison causes many inmate fathers to lose their self-respect as dads; they know they have hurt their children; they often have little self-confidence about how to be a father to their children because they themselves had no role-model at home.  They know the statistics predict that their children will likely become felons too; and they want desperately to do something about it, but often don’t know what to do.

Stirred to action by the “Day with Dad” experiences they had, the Inmates and their advisors at Angola decided to form a men’s group that had never existed at Angola, or in any prison.  It was to be a men’s group designed to equip a man to be a father and a spiritual leader to their children, even while in prison.  Executives at AWANA, Inc. headquarters in Chicago, Angola Seminary graduates and students, Angola Chaplains, and professors from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary pooled their energies and a simple solution was created:  a “men’s movement” inside the prison.

 TEXAS FIELD MINISTERS WILL HELP DEPLOY MALACHI DADS TO PRISONS.  The Heart of Texas Foundation (HOTF) has been approved by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to systematically bring Malachi Dads into the Texas prisons, beginning with the Coffield (men’s maximum security penitentiary, our largest), and then to be deployed at the Darrington Unit in Rosharon, TX, upon approval by the Senior Warden and Chaplain.  Subsequent to Coffield and Darrington, we will then carefully bring Malachi Dads into Texas units which have Inmate Field Ministers and whose Chaplains wish to begin Malachi Dads in their units.  This will be done with assistance from  Awana-Lifeline, Inc., and its Executive Director.  Once the Darrington Unit has experience with Malachi Dads, the Field Ministers will be able to systematically help us deploy the Malachi study groups to units wherever Field Ministers serve.  Beginning at Darrington, HOTF will work with key local churches and volunteers to train them to facilitate the weekly meetings.  HOTF will work with the Darrington Warden and Chaplain to help establish Malachi Dads conveniently and with the highest of standards.  Important to the success of each local Malachi Dads chapter will be the participation of volunteers from churches local to the remote prisons where Malachi will begin.  The Heart of Texas Foundation and each local prison chaplain will help identify, recruit, and train the needed free-world volunteers, who will serve as mentors and facilitators for the weekly meetings of the Malachi Dads.


  • Developing inmate fathers in five key areas:

    • fathering skills

    • personal leadership

    • mentoring their children

    • spiritual growth

    • relationship building

  • Deployed to Remote Prisons where Inmate Field Ministers are transferred

  • The Heart of Texas Foundation identifies local churches near the Field Ministry prison, and recruits pastors and volunteers to train for Malachi Dads service in the Remote Prison.

  • Local churches, recruited and mentored by volunteers from The Heart of Texas Foundation, will provide donated curriculum materials for the Malachi Dads in the prison where the Field Ministers are located.


  • The Two-Hour Meeting Time Line:

    • 20 minutes: Announcements, prayer, sharing reconciliation stories

    • 1 hour:  break into circles (“families”) of 5-7 men  for the 1-hour Bible Study portion, discussion; facilitated by Inmate Field Ministers and free-world Volunteers

    • 30 minutes: writing letters to the children

    • 10 minutes:  closing announcements, prayer, dismissal.

  • Field Ministers assist with facilitation

  • Free-world Volunteers (trained) facilitate each meeting

  • Curriculum is 1 year (48 weeks)

    • Malachi Dads, published by AWANA (first 12 weeks)

    • Experiencing God, by Henry Blackaby (Lifeline)

    • God’s Grand Vision for the Home, by Dr. Rob Rienow

    • Inside Out Dad, by the National Fatherhood Initiative

    • The Mind of Christ, by T.W. Hunt (Lifeline)


  • Attend weekly meetings

  • Write each child at east every other week

  • Complete homework and coursework every week

  • Share the gospel with their children in written form

  • Attend weekly church services

  • Achieve or begin GED program during the year

  • Begin a vocational program if possible

  • Keep a journal

  • Study the book of Romans in personal devotions

  • memorize Psalm 1

  • Recite the Malachi Dads Pledge at each meeting

The Heart of Texas Foundation, with the endorsement of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and the cooperation of AWANA, Inc., has created a framework to support the orderly, systematic deployment of Malachi Dads programs in each prison where the Chaplain requests it, and where there are Field Ministers assigned. Once the Field Ministers are deployed to their respective prisons, contact will be made with the resident Chaplain to determine the timing and the nature of the start of Malachi Dads, per the Chaplain’s request and timing, always subject to the approval of each prison’s Senior Warden.



The Heart of Texas Foundation, Inc.

24 North Bell
Bellville, Texas 77418

Office: 832-449-8126 or 979-865-4683
FAX : 844-274-7913
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