Friday, October 21, 2011


Thursday morning I was one of the people in county jail... of a couple dozen ministro and three ministra in a meeting. That male/female ratio doesn't bring out the best in me. I tend to be suspicious, to engage the sandpaper of perceived patriarchy before entering the room. My discomfort is self-inflicted. I push it aside as best I can, say hello and shake hands, introduce myself. A couple of the men remember me. That feels good.

We begin with prayer, a little 'housekeeping' and a guest speaker, then leaders in jail ministry share a bit about their work. We break into smaller groups to identify needs within these ministries and
I re-discover something I already knew: people make a huge difference. Relationships are connection points for Christ.

Christ invites the people ministering within our jails, and beckons others to walk side by side with persons recently released: one-on-one friendship, encouragement, mentoring, connection to already available resources (food banks, faith communities). As each group reported back identified needs, not one mentioned MONEY. The need was more people, volunteers willing to give TIME in the critical weeks after incarceration ends.

In American culture where the question, "What do you do?" so often means "Where do you work?" we place much (too much?) value on money. We forget the value of volunteerism, the giving of time.

When the collection plate is passed, do the dollar$ we give represent all that God is asking of us? I don't know the answer. With God, I often end up with more questions than answers... but that's another blog.

In an economy where many feel the pinch of making ends meet, is God asking us - you and me - to tithe another gift? If financial giving does not bring delight, perhaps God is offering another way, an opportunity in time.

God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.


No me habla en español.
Estoy inspirado de este artículo.


Anonymous said...

WOW! That is an amazing ministry! Are you just beginning, or have you been part of it for a while? HUGELY admire what you and others are doing. I love your observation about having more questions ... so true!

Rw said...

The jail ministry is new-to-me. In an effort to match the women we serve in Whispered Hopes with faith communities, I began attending the ministerial association meetings in February. Learning about the jail ministry is a bonus. Meeting in a different location each month helps all of us understand what other ministries and churches offer. Rw