Well, we’re about halfway through 2019 already, and a lot of good things are happening. So I thought this would be a good time to share with you a layout that shows how our different ministry projects work together.
When this ministry started in 2006, I had a few elements that I knew were critical to implement if those in prison were ever going to be successful in their lives as followers of Jesus Christ.
They need to know how to grow in their relationship with Him.
They need healthy friendships.
They need purpose.
They need to become a giver and not a taker.
(Actually, these apply to all of us.)
The elements that enable us to come alongside these men and women and aid in their success are shown in the enclosed chart.
All of these components need a plan and a means for their implementation.
The first step is to make a connection. This is accomplished by the following:
I share my testimony in jails and prisons.
I give my book Plain Vanilla Wrapper to them as a gift.
Inmates who receive the book share it with others
The second is to initiate a relationship with our ministry by inviting the inmates to participate in our Lessons for Life Course. As of now, we offer three ways for them to do so:
Sign up for the Lessons for Life Course Live in the facility where they are incarcerated.
Sign up for the Lessons for Life Correspondence Course.
Sign up for the Correspondence Course through the Readable Bible Project. (When an inmate receives a Bible through this project, they are introduced to and given the opportunity to sign up for Lessons for Life.)
The third is to establish a relationship with our ministry. This is accomplished by the following:
Reading Plain Vanilla Wrapper. From feedback from hundreds of inmates, we have found this book to be highly effective in creating a bond of trust between them and our ministry.
Attending the Lessons for Life Course Live or completing the Lessons for Life Correspondence Course.
The fourth is continuing education and nurturing their relationship with God once they are released from prison. This is accomplished by the following:
Continuing to participate with the Lessons for Life Course.
Being discipled through our Life Coaching/Mentoring program.
And finally, we offer them opportunities to give back. This is accomplished by the following:
Training to become a Life Coach.
Training through our Ministry Training Academy, which teaches them to identify their strengths and gifts and helps them put those into action.
Not one step of this process is complicated or difficult. It does require some commitment from them, but we are seeing three things at work that are motivating their commitment:
Friendship – having someone walk alongside them as a true friend, encouraging them and modeling how a true friend behaves. (A lot of inmates have never had a real friend to encourage them toward the right things in life.)
Purpose – discovering that God has a plan for their lives and a way to accomplish it. (Most have never lived with any purpose outside of survival or selfishness.)
Giving – discovering and experiencing the joy of giving (Most have never experienced the truth of what Jesus said, “It is better to give than to receive.”)
The temptation for many of those involved in prison ministry is to see these people as projects. They are not projects. They have all volunteered to participate in our program. They have all made a commitment to follow Jesus Christ. They are all our brothers and sisters in Christ. At one time they were all without God and without hope... just like us. We all need a path and a process to grow. For the past thirteen years, we have been assembling this process little by little as the Lord has instructed us. We have seen transformation in action through each of these steps. We are excited to see how God will use this for the long run as a means to “produce fruit that remains.”
As always, we need your prayers and support as we move forward. Thank you in advance for your continued partnership in this ministry.