Follow Up From Chaplain Johnson


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!



3 thoughts on “Follow Up From Chaplain Johnson

  1. Brittney Belansky says:

    Question 1:
    For me the Reason I am going into the prison has to do with the prisoners children. I come from a family where my dad was never in the picture because he was in jail a lot so I can relate to the children and know what they are going through. I want to be able to work with the children and be able to share with them that just because their parents are in this situation does not mean that they are in a bad spot and that no one cares or loves them. I want to be able to show Christ to them through my life and who I have become and also connect with the parents and help them see how special their children are.
    Question 2:
    For me my main concerns are connecting with the prisoners and being the light in the prison that Christ has called me to be. I am concerned that since I don’t know where the prisoners themselves are coming from that I will not be able to connect with them on a level where they will allow me to share Christ with them. I am also concerned that I will be so focused on helping these ladies that I wont be the light that Christ is calling me to be.

    • Sammy Nichols says:

      Question 1:
      I have lived in this area my whole life and have always thought that someone should be doing something in the prison and I never thought that the “someone” could or should be me or that I would ever have the power to do anything in the prison. So when I heard about the Prison Ministry I was so glad to hear that someone was doing something, and that I knew I could be involved. I wish I would have had the courage to start something like this sooner but this ministry has been started in God’s timing and I feel very fortunate to be a part of it as we are specifically called in scripture to visit those who are in prison.

      Question 2:
      A concern I have about Prison Ministry is that I will not be able to relate to the women. I want to be able to relate to them and build relationships without doing something wrong or harmful. I am also scared that I will be too focused on not doing the “wrong” thing or following the prison rules that I will not come off as loving and caring for these women. Like Brittney said, I just want to be a light for Christ.

      • Kait Baker says:

        These are legitimate concerns. Chaplain Johnson even made me nervous just being so pointed and individual with each of us. I have a close relative who was in prison for several years, and I remember the feeling of having my role model put in prison and watching her serve her time. When we would visit or write she would talk about the other girls with her, the repeat offenders and how many would definitely be back after they were released. She talked about a need for hope. That’s why I’m going in.

        A concern I have been working to silence is just my own adequacy. I’m honestly not very good at math! How could I be of use to other women with homework and studies? But I think being there to try to work through things with these women in GED tutoring already says a lot. We can let God work from there.

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