Effective mentors focus on building supportive relationships, not fixing people. Research conducted in 2001 by the National Resilience Resource Center at the University of Minnesota highlighted this important principle.
God has called every Christian to “make disciples.” However, every Christian is not called to be a mentor to prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families. Mentoring this population is a special calling and is one of the most demanding ministries within Prison Fellowship.
The ultimate source of true life transformation is the Holy Spirit plus the Word of God, skillfully and prayerfully utilized by those called as mentors within the Body of Christ. Prison ministry mentors are change agents that walk alongside their mentees, setting an example of how to live a Christian life.
In John 4:35, Jesus commands us, “Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest.” When wheat is ready for harvest, it looks almost white. But Jesus wasn’t speaking of fields of grain; He was speaking of a mission field that is “white for harvest.”
On a recent visit to a prison I met a man I’ll call “Tom.”
Tom’s past is typical of many stories I hear. He is a repeat, nonviolent drug offender. By day, on the outside, he was a truck driver, but he also sold drugs to supplement his income.
Thirteen-year-old Wyatt walked into an Arkansas church one December evening. His aunt had insisted that he go, but she wouldn’t tell him why.
He looked around the room and saw kids decorating cookies, making bracelets, creating Christmas ornaments, and taking goofy pictures in the photo booth.
At a recent conference in England I had the opportunity to hear Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek. Bill has often said that “the local church is the hope of the world.” I couldn’t agree more! As the Body of Christ, who is the Light of the World, the local church is God’s Plan A to heal the woundedness of individuals, families, and the culture.
A controversial new plan to prepare inmates for reentry into society is being proposed in Louisiana. The idea is to move a thousand prisoners from a minimum-security prison in the state and transfer them to Angola Prison, a maximum-security prison once infamous for violence and decrepit conditions.