Steve Hamm

 “…I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:36) 

Mini-Blog 5 of 6 

How Do YOU Get Involved with Kairos Prison Ministry?

 by Steve Hamm 

There are many ways for YOU to become involved with Kairos Prison Ministry, both directly and indirectly. We often use a term called Agape in our ministry. It’s an expression that means God’s “unconditional love.” Kairos is a ministry devoted to the love of God as delivered by God’s people. The following are examples of Agape—His love—passed along by the family of God… 

Inside Team: Serve as an inside team member (Men only). Positions include Team Leaders, Table Leaders, Assistant Table Leaders, Music Team Members and a Hallway Team that manages all background activity within the facility during the Weekend event. 

Three or more persons qualified as Clergy are required to be present during each Weekend retreat. 

Music is an important part of the Weekend for teaching and inspiring participants. Due to the nature of this event, handheld instruments are preferred (guitars, banjos, mandolins, violins, conga/bongo drums, etc.) 

1-2 weeks after the 3½ day retreat, volunteers host an Instructional Reunion that introduces participants to Prayer & Share Groupings through a series of talks. 

Once each month, volunteers attend a Monthly Reunion at ISCI to provide ongoing support for Kairos graduates and invited guests. The program includes singing, prayer, scripture readings, witness talks from residents and small group discussion for 1½-2 hours at the scheduled time on the scheduled day. 

Mini-Weekend Retreats are held ~3 times each year on a Saturday from ~7:00am-2:00pm. Activities include a series of talks and small group discussions. Kairos graduates are treated to muffins and coffee, too. 

Support Team: The Support Team (Men & Women) is responsible for preparing meals for Team Training events and for the 2 or 3 lunches and 2 dinners served during a Kairos Inside retreat. (NOTE: Thursday night dinner is traditionally from Pendyne within ISCI. Lunch on Sunday is typically a pizza party, with pizzas prepared and delivered through a local restaurant). The support Team may also help with the sourcing and preparation of Agape materials, including posters, placemats, meal tickets, prayer chain, etc. 

Prayer Agape: The power of all Agape comes from the spiritual significance behind the gifts. Prayer is the starting point for unleashing that power! Pray for the community of believers to decide on becoming part of His message of love. Pray for the Kairos volunteers and for the participants by name to grasp the depth of God’s love. 

Table Agape: Invite children to create and color placemats with a simple message of Jesus’ love for use during meals over the Weekend retreat. (Signed placemats should include first name and age only!) 

Wall Agape: Create posters (8 ½” x 11” or 11” x 17”) with drawings and inspirational messages that let the participants on a given weekend know they are not forgotten and are loved by God. Have members of your Church, Prayer Group, or Small Group become the Body of Christ in Action to support residents on their journey. (Signed posters to include first name only!) 

Letter Agape: Personal letters are really love letters from God. Surely, God uses the hands and hearts of His people to transcribe His messages of love to a letter for the residents. Provide brief hand-written notes expressing encouragement, support, prayer and the love of Jesus for each participant. (Please, no photocopies or pre-printed letters). Use plain white unsealed envelopes and white paper for all letters. No imprinted messages, logos, or designs. Non-team members can write any quantity desired and the team will combine them to ensure all participants receive the same number of letters (for parity). The proper salutation for non-team member letters is “Dear Brother in Christ” for Kairos Men’s programs or “Dear Sister in Christ” for Kairos Women’s events. SIGN WITH FIRST NAMES ONLY! DON’T INCLUDE LAST NAME OR ADDRESS!! 

Cookie Agape: A number of years ago, the Idaho State Correctional Institution allowed Kairos to bring over 2,500 dozen (yes, dozen) cookies into the facility. Cookies were shared with the participants all-day, every-day of the retreat. Cookies were also shared with each Correction Officer. Unfortunately, ISCI now requires cookies to be produced/purchased through a commercial bakery. As a result, consumption is limited to ~200 dozen for participants on the Weekend only. Any financial contribution made to help offset the cost of these commercially-prepared cookies is welcomed. 

Financial Agape: God uses the ministry’s need for financial support as a way to empower the Body of Christ. For so many Christians, Jesus’ call to visit the prisoner is beyond imagination. They just can’t see how to respond to Jesus. Then, you open the door for them to be part of God’s family to visit the prisoner on behalf of Christ. Asking for financial support isn’t about underwriting the cost of a Kairos, it is about providing an opportunity for responding to Christ’s call to all Christians. 

Closing Ceremony: Attend a Closing Ceremony at the end of the Weekend retreat on Sunday mid-afternoon to show support and love from the Body of Christ to the Kairos participants. This will require approximately 4 hours of your time to arrive at ISCI, be processed into the facility, attend the actual Closing and then process out of the facility. (NOTE: You will be required to complete on online application with the Idaho Department of Correction at least 4 weeks prior to the scheduled event.). 

Advisory Council: The Advisory Council is responsible for managing the given Kairos Program: Kairos Inside, Kairos Outside or Kairos Torch. Roles include everything from Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer to Communications, Recruiting, Agape, Fundraising and Continuing Ministry Coordination. Members meet 8-12 times a year, often via an online app. If you have doubts regarding the skill set you might bring to the Council, remember, God does not call the equipped, He equips the called. 

State Committee: The State Chapter Committee is responsible for oversight of ALL active Kairos Programs and their respective Advisory Council(s): Kairos Inside and Kairos Outside. Roles include Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, International Council Rep, Clergy Recruitment, Program Management, Website Development and more. Members meet 4-6 times a year, typically via an online app. Again, volunteers bring a host of skill sets to the Committee. If you have a passion for this type of ministry, we will find the right fit for you. 

As Christians, we’re all on a journey with Jesus by our side. He does amazing things for His Kingdom through us when we are obedient to His call. 10 words changed my life. Maybe they will change your life, too? 

“…I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:36) 

Christ is counting on you!