“…I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:36)
Mini-Blog 4 of 6
When Does Kairos Prison Ministry Take Place?
by Steve Hamm
The Kairos Inside program is divided into five key activities…
- Kairos Weekend: A Weekend experience is the entry point for participation into the program. The minimum number of residents that can justify a Weekend is 18. The maximum number of residents allowed for a given Weekend is 42. A volunteer team of 20-44 members (driven by resident participation) comes together for 34-36 hours of team formation training leading up to the Weekend. The Weekend itself begins on Thursday afternoon, with that day ending around 8:00pm. Friday and Saturday start at approximately 7:00am and go until around 7:30pm. Sunday also begins at 7:00am, but wraps up with the closing Ceremony at 4:30pm.
Kairos Prison Ministry of Idaho traditionally holds a Weekend at ISCI once a year in late October. Ideally, Weekends are held every six months in a given institution—when the volunteer base it large enough to support this schedule. Idaho currently aspires to this ideal. Training sessions in Idaho are typically held on two alternating Fridays/Saturdays two to four weeks before the scheduled Weekend.
- Instructional Reunion: An Instructional Reunion provides basic instruction for how Prayer & Share Groups are managed. A series of talks introduces residents to each step identified in the Group Meeting outline (see Prayer & Share section).
Kairos Prison Ministry of Idaho holds an Instructional Reunion the first or second Saturday from 7:00am to 2:00pm after a 3½ day Weekend.
- Mini-Retreat: Once every 3-4 months between Weekends, Kairos volunteers return to the facility to share fellowship, food and a series of talks that espouse Christian living suitable for small group discussion. These mini-retreats provide ongoing encouragement for the Kairos resident community and any graduates that may find themselves “falling away” from their faith.
Kairos Prison Ministry of Idaho typically holds a Mini-Retreat at ISCI once a quarter evenly spaced around the annual Weekend.
- Monthly Reunion: The Kairos Monthly Reunion is an essential part of the Kairos ministry of continuing presence. Monthly Reunions are attended by the entire Kairos resident community, along with Kairos volunteers. It is a time of celebration of Christ’s love, forgiveness and renewal. During the Reunion, typical activities may include prayer, praise, fellowship, singing, witness talks from residents and a Prayer & Share grouping. The Reunion ends with announcements and prayer requests followed by a group recitation of the Lord’s Prayer and singing Surely the Presence of the Lord is in this Place.
As of October 2023, Kairos Prison Ministry of Idaho holds its Monthly Reunion at ISCI the first Thursday of each month from 6:30pm-8:30pm.
- Prayer & Share: This is the heart of Kairos! The ultimate goal of the Kairos Inside Weekend is to gather participants for Prayer & Share Groups to build the Christian community inside the institution. Once a week, Kairos graduates come together in small groups of 6-8 residents to lift each other up through prayer, fellowship, nurturing each other in their faith-walk and providing accountability to one another.
Kairos Prison Ministry of Idaho currently holds Prayer & Share gatherings at ISCI each Friday from 1:00pm-2:00pm. These Prayer & Share gatherings are structured around a group meeting outline as follows:
1. Open with a prayer.
2. Can you share any moment when you have known that Christ’s presence was with you?
3. Have you discovered anything, anywhere (reading, a message, songs, a study) which will help you be a better follower of Jesus?
4. Has there been a time when, through some word or action, you tried to help someone recognize God’s love for another person?
5. Has there been a time where it has been difficult to show Christ’s love for another person?
6. Are there things you are thankful for (situations/struggles) that we can pray about together?
7. Close with the Lord’s Prayer.
The Kairos Outside program has three basic activities…
- Kairos Weekend: Similar to Kairos Inside, a Weekend experience is the entry point for participation into the Kairos Outside program. A KO Weekend hosts ~30 guests, with a group of 30-40 women serving on the team after taking part in 34-36 hours of team formation training prior to the Weekend. The team includes same-gender leaders, clergy, table leaders, table servers and musicians, along with a kitchen staff and Agape crew providing background support. (NOTE: Men can participate on a KO Weekend, but may only serve in a background role).
When active, Kairos Prison Ministry of Idaho held Kairos Outside Weekends at a Boise-area church, typically in the springtime (March/April).
- Reunions: Kairos Outside Reunions are open to all former guests, their spouses, children, potential guests and team members (male and female) to provide the communication and connections needed for the support system started on a KO Weekend. Activities include fellowship, food, prayer, music, large group discussions and S.W.A.P. groupings. Reunions are held a minimum of four times a year—with the first Reunion coming within 2-3 weeks of a KO Weekend.
When active, Kairos Prison Ministry of Idaho held KO Reunions at a Boise-area church on a quarterly schedule.
- S.W.A.P.: After the Weekend, the women journey together through S.W.A.P. (Share, Witness, Account & Pray) groups of 3-5 individuals. Here, participants can regularly offer ongoing support and encouragement to each other while dealing with the impact of incarceration in their lives and the lives of their families.
When active, Kairos Prison Ministry of Idaho held KO S.W.A.P. meetings at various times and locations throughout the Treasure Valley as determined by each small group.
I’ve had the great good fortune to attend every Kairos Inside Weekend at ISCI from KI #11 in 2010 to KI #21 in 2024 (we took a timeout for COVID from 2020-2022). I’ve also participated in most KI Instructional Reunions and most KI Mini-Retreats since 2010. KI Monthly Reunion attendance is subject to travel schedules and other commitments, such as Bible Study Fellowship, but I get out to ISCI for the Monthly Reunion whenever I can. I’ve also been blessed to participate in Kairos Outside Weekend skits, as well as Walking in Love and Closing events when KO was active in Idaho.
The best way to get a feel for this amazing ministry is to get personally involved in some aspect of it. There are enough Kairos activities spread across the year to allow participation by people with the busiest of schedules. Choose to connect. Choose to make a difference!
Mini-Blog 5 of 6
Who is Impacted by Prison Ministry?