I2I in Action
Ministry behind bars can seem attractive—there is a clear need for restoration and redemption in our prisons. Most people who go to church love the idea of ministering to those who are incarcerated and sharing the transforming love of Christ with them. What happens though when these men and women reenter our communities and reenter our churches? Do we view them in the same light that we viewed them in before? Do we welcome them into the body of Christ or do we view them as an issue and problem to contain?
We believe that our brothers and sisters in Christ who have been incarcerated must be incorporated into the local church. We are not unaware of their past crimes, but we do not define their identify by their past either. We work closely with local urban churches to incorporate these men and women into the local church in a loving and wise manner.
One pastor we work with is Troy based in Kansas City, he was incarcerated four years ago in Lansing Correctional. He and his team have planted four churches in Lansing Correctional Facility, they are now planting churches in Kansas City where those who are reentering society can come and be built up in Christ and where they can encounter the love of Jesus within the church community alongside their families. Another pastor named Kevin helped to lead a church in Hutchinson Correctional Facility. He also is planting a church on the outside which will welcome and serve those who have been released from prison.
The church my family attends is pastored by a man who was formerly incarcerated. The church welcomes with open arms those who struggled with incarceration. One family started attending the church a year ago. The stepfather had just finished a stretch of time in Texas and was looking for a new start. Almost all his relative are behind bars, and incarceration had become part of their family culture. The church welcomed him and his family into the community without judgement for his past. He and his entire family came to Christ and we have seen them transformed! He is now taking TUMI courses and is serving wherever he can within the church! This is Incarceration to Incorporation (I2I) in action at a local church level!