I was reflecting on why the Kairos Prison Ministry is so effective at helping transform lives and it occurred to me that one of the reasons is that is conveys the love of Christ so thoroughly and effectively. By coincidence or design, it uses all of the The Five Love Languages in reaching out to prisoners.
Here’s a recap I wrote previously about the book. The premise is that we have primary ways that we give and receive love, and if those are missing bad things can happen. Learn your kids’ preferences for giving and receiving love. Works wonders for spouses, too! It isn’t psycho-babble. It is an easy read that is full of practical advice on relationships. Everyone I know who has read this got a lot out of it. Like many successful books, this one has a special edition for any subcategory you can imagine – teens, kids, German Shepherds, etc. But the original is a good one-size-fits-all, so when in doubt stick with that. It also contains some truly important advice on not marrying too quickly, because we can all put on a good act for a short period of time when we are in courting mode.
Here are the five languages and some of the ways that Kairos demonstrates them:
- Words of affirmation – each volunteer writes a personal, handwritten letter to each participant. Writing the 42 letters is one of the hardest parts of the preparation. Many of these guys quit getting mail a long time ago so they cherish these words of encouragement.
- Quality time – without us saying a word, they realize that we are there because we want to be there and that we have devoted the preparation time, the whole weekend and the monthly follow up visits for their benefit. They see the size of the inside team, the outside team and all those who come to the closing ceremony and realize that people care.
- Acts of Service – the food, the lessons and the listening let them know they are valued.
- Gifts – the cookies, the food, the hand made placemats, the prayer chains, the posters, the letters and more.
- Physical touch – plenty of manly hugs!
If you haven’t read the book, I encourage you to try it. And if you have any interest in prison ministry, check that out as well.