December 12, 2012 by lcuprisonministry
Hello All! This is the first of our weekly Thursday blog posts and our first topic will be over the meeting we had with Chaplain Johnson. It has been a little while since we met with him so I want to give you a few points that he talked about to help with recall. Below are the questions that we can discuss ….
He said it will be important to enter the prison with integrity. We need to be aware of how we view the inmates and how we treat them. Remember that they are created in the image of God and are in need of love, forgiveness and God’s grace.
At the same time, come in with a clear mindset and be aware of what’s going on around you. Know that they grew up learning how to manipulate because it helped them survive. So be aware of the games that they may play. (Chaplain Frontone also emphasized this) We will need to be firm, fair, and consistent. So have a backbone but also be flexible and show them we care about them.
The fact that we care about them and show them that, will go a long ways in building up their self-worth. A lot of them haven’t had many people show them that they care. Lives can be changed by us being in there. (actually, we’ve already seen the start of just that since we’ve started doing GED Tutoring!)
Realize that we are not bringing Jesus into the prison. We are going into the prison and coming alongside the work that he is already doing (which I think is exciting!). Look at Matthew 25:37-40. So, come into the prison knowing with full assurance that God will be with us.
And before we go in, ask yourself this question. Why are you going into the prison?
This is our first question to discuss and I will start us off…. For me, I see a great need and a great opportunity. At LCU we have two prisons in our back yard filled with inmates who most of which probably don’t have a saving relationship with Christ and will have a hard time being successful once they are released. Furthermore, the prison itself desperately needs volunteers to help run the programs. At the same time, we have a campus full of people that love Jesus and want to serve him. When I was talking with Tiara Wentz at lunch one day, the need and the opportunity grabbed my attention and after praying about it, I knew that’s were God was pulling me. That’s why I’m going in!
The second question is – What are your concerns about doing prison ministry?
I know that those of you who went already to Volunteer Orientation said you didn’t have any concerns but I can tell there are some who have them. There is something that happens when you bring them to the surface that is hard to explain, but God uses it somehow to bring rest to those concerns and allows God to work through them. So, are you concerned about how you will be able to relate the women? Concerned about saying the wrong thing or in the wrong way? Are you concerned for your safety?
First, I am not sure how I will balance between being firm and flexible. Despite what you may expect, I can be firm and very blunt when people aren’t following rules or when they complain a lot. At the same time there is a time and a place for firmness and compassion. I want to make sure I build the ladies up instead of shut them down. This is one of my concerns. What are yours?
So here is the first blog! Comment and answer the questions and feel free to comment on other peoples’ comments as well. Dialogue…. Ready, GO!