(2 customer reviews)

By John Schmid



“…don’t ever ask an inmate what he did to get in prison. I have never broken that rule in 19 years… except once.”

Why would a man dedicate his life to going in and out of prison? Encounters will take you behind the scenes (and the prison bars) with John, giving you a glimpse of the highs and lows of a life committed to the service of God and man. Follow him as he goes from prison to wedding to motorcycle rally—get to know the wonderful, the wicked, and the simply wild characters that color his life.

More than just entertaining, the stories of people that John interacts with daily will shine the light of hope and encouragement into your life.

Enjoy Stories Like:

  • Of All The Things I’ve Lost
  • Power of a Song
  • Angels, Success, Standards…
  • Ice, Ice Baby!
  • Story of a Faithful Chaplain
  • Howard Grey

2 reviews for Encounters

  1. PS

    I’ve already read one book and have started on the other. I must say I was touched by the stories. May God bless you richly in the years to come.

  2. JM

    I just finished your second book. You get around! I never realized all you do.

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John Schmid is the founder of Common Ground Ministries (staff of one) and travels extensively, singing and preaching in more than fifty prisons a year. John has produced twenty-four albums and attended Asbury Theological Seminary, earning a MDIV. John resides with his wife, Lydia, in Benton, Ohio, and they are the proud parents of one son, Adam, and two daughters, Amy and Katy.


My friend John Schmid’s Encounters takes you on a mesmerizing journey; the relationships and front line ministry stories are priceless. It would take 5 lifetimes for an ordinary man to accomplish the travels and experiences of Brother John, but this is a very special man of God who has been blessed, gifted, and anointed to do extraordinary work for the Lord. You will certainly enjoy Encounters; it’s an exciting Kingdom Adventure!

Jack “Murf the Surf” Murphy, Director, Inmate Encounter Ministry
Ex-convict and Author of Jewels for the Journey


As a songwriter, hearing from John Schmid that he had just used one of my songs at a prison concert and that the inmates were deeply moved by it is like winning a Grammy… only bigger! Annie and I initially met John Schmid several years ago through an Ohio prison inmate who recognized that we had much in common in regard to music. How grateful we are for that introduction! We have come to appreciate John’s servant heart that is so well displayed in his devotion to his wife Lydia, to their family, and to his musical work that reaches out with compassion to all who hear, especially those who have lost their freedom. Now we are blessed that we get to learn even more about his life and ministry through his excellent book, Encounters/In & Out of Prison with John Schmid. We can promise that every chapter is a treasure trove of inspiration.

Steve and Annie Chapman


John Schmid has been through tough times in life, but his wisdom and connection with the Holy Spirit are nowhere more evident than in his writing.

John Carter Cash


I have known John Schmid for a long time and it is my great pleasure to highly recommend his book on his life’s work of music and ministry. I’ve had the privilege over the years to do a number of his recordings; not only is he a great music entertainer, but he can leave you spellbound with his stories. It can be a family gathering, a business banquet, or a concert with hundreds; his message for Jesus Christ has never changed. He brings hope, laughter, and inspiration to hundreds of prison inmates as he shares his ministry in song. John’s organization, Common Ground Ministries, has for years sponsored correspondence Bible studies for men and women in prison in the state of Ohio. What a great brother! You will find these stories very interesting and inspirational.

Marvin Beachy, President of Gospel Echoes Team


Our friend and fellow musician John Schmid is a multi-talented man with a heart for the Lord and a heart for people. He faithfully uses his gifts to entertain and inspire crowds in all kinds of settings – prisons, churches, coffee shops, house concerts, and more. In his book Encounters, John tells stories of his life; stories of traveling the world, singing, and sharing the Gospel message of hope. We enjoyed reading Encounters and were thoroughly entertained, encouraged, and inspired! We were reminded that everyone can use their God-given gifts to be a good influence on others. Our friend John is making a difference in the world and we know you’ll be blessed by his stories!

Sharon White and Ricky Skaggs


I first met John Schmid in 1972 in Berlin, OH, at Berlin Mennonite Church; that’s where our friendship began. John and Lydia had returned home from the mission field and Common Ground Ministries was born. He also started serving as a prison evangelist for Wingfield Ministries. John and I have had the privilege of ministering in many places, not only here in America, but around the world. I have so many fond memories of being with John that it would take another book to tell all those stories. I am sure a few of them will be included in this book.

I always enjoy receiving John’s newsletter. Not only does it help me know how to pray for him and his ministry, but I always enjoy his stories. John is a great storyteller. I think he learned from the greatest storyteller that ever lived, Jesus. People can argue about lots of things, but they can’t argue about your story because it’s yours. I know each of the stories will not only be enjoyable to read, but they will bring encouragement and hope to your life, and each of the stories will honor our Savior.

Evangelists are a rare breed; maybe that’s why I like John so much. We’re both a little crazy, but I hope and believe we are both crazy in love with Jesus. Our hearts’ desire is to see other people come to know Him and experience the joy that we have in following our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

So grab a cup of coffee or tea, find a comfortable chair, and enjoy this book. I hope you all enjoy it so much that you will buy copies and give them to your friends. As you read it, remember that there are other stories to be written. I hope you will be motivated to pray for and support my friend John Schmid. He’s going where many people can’t go, won’t go, or are afraid to go, and God is using him to rescue the perishing and care for the dying.

“God has not lost his enthusiasm for the great commission.” – Theologian Carl FH Henry

Steve Wingfield, CEO and evangelist of the Steve Wingfield Evangelistic Association and Victory Weekend


John is a great storyteller and is a master at connecting with his audiences. From the man in the pew to the one who has never darkened the door of a church, John brings a relevant message. Drawing from history and current life/ministry events, this book gives you a front row seat to what God is doing through John and Common Ground Ministries.

Glendon Bender, serving with Gospel Echoes Team Prison Ministry since 1980


With wit and honesty, John Schmid provides story after poignant story of the people he ministers to in our nation’s prisons. Some of the stories in Encounters are as warm as summer rain while others are as bracing as ice water. This is an exceptionally rich and varied collection that, besides the author’s prison experiences, includes his friends and local acquaintances such as basketball star Freeman.

John Schmid understands and puts into practice Jesus’ command, ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’ I love this book.

David Kline, Amish minister, farmer, author of Scratching the Woodchuck and Great Possessions

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