Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Reaction to Eric's Forgotten Fifth Entry

The model of prison ministry set forth by Prison Congregations of America is among the healthiest out there. This is not about good hearted people coming in for a revival and then leaving, even though there is a place for this kind of faith expression as well. The PCA model is the difference between the mountain-top and the plain. In prison, there are all kinds of opportunities for the mountain top experience - events with lots of music and energy and food. I remember such experiences in my own life. I remember going to Bible camp and being filled with the Spirit to the point of tears. Then I would come home and within a week some of the excitement had started to wear off - I was tumbling off of the mountain onto the plain. So it is in prison. What happens when the event is done, and the reality of prison sets in? Too often the inmates feel as though, not only have they disappointed people they loved and society in general, but they must also be a disappointment to God because they can't seem to keep the fire burning. In those post-Bible-camp-tumbling-unto-the-plain days of long ago, I found my renewal in my congregation. It was there I was reminded that the Spirit is alive and well in me and in those around me. So it is in prison IF the inmates are lucky enough to have a real denominationally organized congregation to which they belong. The PCA model is healthy and offers opportunities for inmates to build skill sets that will serve them well on the outside, for 95% of them WILL be one day on the outside. For more information about this ministry model, contact me or check out our website, www.prisoncongregations.org.

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