Dare 2B Daring – August 15, 2018
A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.
(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)
“The great illusion of leadership is to think that man can be led out of the desert by someone who has never been there.” - Ruth Haley Barton
In my former ministry, The Saints Prison Ministry, I used to describe the “three legs” of prison ministry with the help of a visual aid. Pulling out a prefab stool, I would screw in the first leg: evangelism. Then I would screw in the second leg: discipleship. Finally, I would screw in the third leg: aftercare.
Since then, God has shown me that prison ministry is more like a four-legged table than a three-legged stool. That fourth leg is what I call “preventative ministry”, such as our Living H2O Initiative. In that program, we use basketball to try to reach at-risk youth with the gospel before they get into trouble with the law.
But back to aftercare for a minute…
Because 95% of inmates are eventually released, but 75% are re-arrested within four years post-release, I felt a burden to address this problem. Especially troubling was the fact that half of those re-arrests occur during the first two weeks post-release. And so, we started a program called Lives in Transition, which ministered to men and women from six months pre-release to six months post-release.
Our LIT program provided “soup to nuts” for ex-offenders: transitional housing, food, clothing, transportation, job training, job placement, spiritual mentoring and addiction counseling. But in order for it to work effectively, we needed to hire someone to oversee LIT.
Guess what the #1 prerequisite was for that job? The applicant had to have a criminal record! That’s right; only ex-offenders need apply!
Simply put, we didn’t want someone with just head knowledge. We wanted someone who had “walked in the shoes” of an ex-offender. Been there, done that… and had the t-shirt to show for it!
We wound up hiring a gentleman named Keith McCrea and over the next four years, he worked personally with 200 clients. Now remember that the national recidivism (re-arrest) rate for ex-offenders is 75%. But guess what our recidivism rate was? Only 5%!!! Just 10 of our 200 clients violated their paroles or committed a new crime. All because we refused to allow these men and women to fall through society’s cracks… and all because we hired the right man for the job.
Aren’t you glad that God provided the Right Man to redeem our souls? Jesus Christ was 100% God and yet, 100% man. As such, He was tempted in every area that we are, but He never gave in. Not once!
Which is why the sinless Lamb of God was able to provide a perfect and once-for-all sacrifice for you and me…and for the sins of all mankind. Because He walked in our shoes.
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:14-15 (NKJV)
- Rev. Dale M. Glading, President