As with every prison, Martin Correctional Institute in Florida was shutdown to visitors and volunteers for over a year, reopening in April. While the Kairos team was kept out, something very special was happening on the inside of Martin CI. A group of inmates, consisting mostly of Kairos Graduates, was grouping as a daily prayer circle since the prison chapel was closed and official Kairos activities had ceased. The prayer circle was eventually not enough, so this group of 10 decided to create a Dorm Community Church that now meets twice a day and even created a document detailing how to start such this church in other dormitories and prisons! Now at least 20 inmates attend each meeting, as many as possible attend each Prayer & Share, and about 100 attend every Kairos Reunion. It is very clear that while Kairos left the prison for a short time, Jesus did not!
The prison administration was so impressed with this, that Kairos was one of the few volunteer organizations immediately invited back inside as soon as was permissible. In addition to the prayer groups and church creation, many of those involved are now seeking to take online college courses with a Bible college, and also volunteering to be transferred to a higher security wing of the prison or another prison altogether, to act as missionaries! It really shows that a true Christian community has developed inside of Martin CI, which is what Kairos, as a ministry, strives for as one of our core values. The shutdown created an unexpected test to see if each Kairos Inside program had successfully supported the growth of a Christian community in their facility. If you are a Volunteer for Kairos Inside, when your Advisory Council is able to return to your facility, find out if the Kairos Graduates have been meeting on their own, organizing their own Prayer & Share. If there has been no Christian activity since the shutdown, it shows the importance of having an Inside Council. Gauging active involvement of Kairos Graduates during the shutdown is a good way to gauge if your Continuing Ministry efforts have been effective. The Kairos Weekend is just the introduction, where the introduction to Jesus and a commitment to a life change is initiated, but Continuing Ministry is where the change is actualized!
If your Advisory Council finds that it needs to improve its commitment to Continuing Ministry and creating a true Christian community within the facility, there are many successful locations and contacts who would be more than willing to assist. Truly reflect on where your program could be more effective in creating a lasting impact with our Kairos Graduates. You may also reach out to them and reference the program manual on Continuing Ministry, so every Kairos location can create a Christian community that is still strong even if Kairos has to unexpectedly leave for a time.