Equipping the Church
MMATG Church Overview
Local Post-Prison Ministry Church
The specific tailor-made plan for implementation of the Meet Me at the Gate® Church model consists of developing and nurturing relationships with churches, getting them involved at the level of post-prison ministry that they are able to engage.
Churches may decide to adopt a Christian neighbor into their congregation. That person may reside on his/her own or with another family or individual within the church. Other ways the local church can become involved include:
- Providing mentors
- Visiting with the Chistian inmate prior to release
- Meeting the released Christian neighbor at the gate and providing his or her immediate needs, some of which include clothes, a meal, a ride, Christian literature, and friendship – all to help them get started as they are released from prison
- Assisting with providing long or short-term housing
- Job skills development from a professional within their congregation
- Assisting Christian neighbor in finding meaningful employment
- Providing temporary transportation
- Providing adoptive families in the church to serve as hosts
- Deciding to establish a post-prison ministry home (Some churches may be ready to commit to and implement the Koinonia House® model of biblical discipleship within the context of a Christian family home)
Possible Scenarios for Implementation
Scenario #1 - Non-house, Residential option
A church's prison ministry group that has been going into prison to lead Bible studies is discipling several Christian inmates. One of those men is scheduled for release in six months, and the group would like to meet that individual at the gate and help with the transition back into the local church and the community.
The prison ministry group can supply two mentors and a person to conduct the life-skills training curriculum, and it enlists the support of the entire church to help with some of the other components that it can only partly provide, such as assistance with the Christian neighbor's lodging and acting as host families on Sundays. One member of the prison ministry group agrees to become the church liaison.
The church works through the 18-step process described in "Post-Prison Ministry Steps to Start Sequence" in order to get its program set up effectively. As needed, the church liaison contacts Koinonia House® National Ministries (KHNM) for advice on specific issues. The church and KHNM sign a covenant detailing the terms of their agreement.
The church and the prison ministry team begin the process of preparing the Christian neighbor for the program before the person's release and then the pastor, liaison, and mentors meet the Christian neighbor at the prison gate. Since the Christian neighbor does not have a place to live, the church chooses the residential option, in which assistance with housing is provided.
This option includes all or most of the ministry components listed in the MMATG House Overview. However, it would not include the post-prison ministry home or the DRD couple. With this option, the participating church would help with the resident's lodging, either helping with the expenses of an apartment (possibly on a decreasing scale as the resident becomes more self-sufficient) or providing a room in the home of a family of the church.
Scenario #2 - Non-house, Non-residential option
A church sees the need to minister to a specific Christian inmate who is going to be released, possibly a close relative of a church member. The inmate is one who sincerely wants to turn his or her life around. A pastor or church leader learns about KHNM and contacts us asking for help with how to minister to this person.
The KHNM staff member responding to the request instructs the person to review all the materials on the KHNM web site and contact us with questions or with a request for further information.
The church pastor or representative calls back for more information for access to detailed post-prison ministry materials on KHNM's web site. These materials total over 100 pages of documents related to the basis for Koinonia House®, Discipleship and Resident Directors and training curriculum, materials about selection of residents, information regarding mentors, information regarding the local church, and information regarding the residents themselves. The longest item is the 23-page Resident Discipleship Manual.
The church works through the 14-step process described in "Post-Prison Ministry Steps to Start Sequence" in order to get its program set up effectively. As needed, the church liaison contacts KHNM for advice on specific issues.
The church and KHNM sign a covenant detailing the terms of their agreement.
After identifying mentors, the church begins the process of preparing the Christian neighbor for the program several months before the person's release and then meets the individual at the prison gate. Since the Christian neighbor will live with his or her family, or in lodging provided by family, the church will use the non-residential option.
This option includes the ministry components listed above, with the exception that it does not include a lodging component. This option would be appropriate where the Christian neighbor being released has a place to live, such as with family. At this level, it is important that the two mentors provide guidance and extra oversight regarding the Christian neighbor's activities, and that the people the individual is living with are helping to make the transition successful.