Kairos Prison Ministry: 400 Teams and Counting

Methodist visitor Ron Nichols explains KAIROS strategy.

Kairos Prison Ministry International began in 1976 with a 3-day “short course” in Raiford, Florida to send helpers and mentors inside local prisons. It has expanded to involve more than 400 correctional institutions and 86 communities in 37 states and 9 countries.

KAIROS is Greek for “God’s appointed time” and for the past 3 1/2 years Methodist layman Ron Nichols has been leading groups of Christian men to bring hope, food and outside contact to the incarcerated at West Tennessee State Penitentiary. “It's food first," Ron told GCIMemphis on February 16. “We fill stomachs first and God fills their souls.”

For this project Memphis Community of Faith has been an active ally. Church members donate funds, buy meal tickets on behalf of the prisoners, send prayer messages and participate in what Ron calls “the Jesus cookie” feature. “We are fortunate,” Ron adds, “we get to bring in real food, real fruit and real burgers. You can imagine how the men react to that. Not all Kairos teams have that opportunity.”

At the end of ther weekend a sleeve of “Forgiveness Cookies” are handed out for prisoners to reach out to those with whom they may have had differences.

Ron and his associates train for 6-8 weeks to engage in weekends of sharing and praying with men who have sometimes lost hope. Under Christ’s obvious blessing, KAIROS revives them. A man named Adrian who served 15 years in notorious Parchman prison in Mississippi now helps Ron’s group in their vital ministry.

Adrian left a gang and paid the price. "He was stabbed 17 times on the way out,” says Ron. “He now sees our local KAIROS team as part of his much-needed Christian support group to continue his Christian walk.”

Memphis Community of Faith is excited to be part of this basic part of the Great Commission – “I was in prison and you visited me,” said Jesus.

In addition to this KAIROS INSIDE there is KAIROS OUTSIDE for female family members of the incarcerated. KAIROS TORCH was developed to uniquely address young people 25 and under experiencing incarceration through one on one volunteer mentoring.

According to Methodist Bishop Lowry, “The cost of being Christian in prison is often high and involves beatings and persecutions. We in the free world have much to learn from the courageous faith of the brothers-in-white.”

To learn more simply contact www.kairosprisonministry.org.