What is KAIROS?
KAIROS is an international prison ministry which began in Illinois in 1976.
What is the mission of KAIROS?
Its mission is to bring inmates to know Christ, and become better citizens, serving their country and God through learning and practicing God’s value systems, learned during the prison visits.
How does KAIROS achieve its mission?
Inmates sign up to be included in a three-day weekend, where KAIROS volunteers meet with them, on a one-on-one ratio, at tables of three volunteers to six inmates. The meetings reveal God’s value systems through an atmosphere of agape (undconditional) love. Volunteers follow a KAIROS manual, which has proven, over the years, to be an effective message delivering system, utilizing songs, drawing posters, and listening to prepared, sequential “talks” given by the volunteers. The talks are centered around developing trust and forgiveness, which are the chief two obstacles to overcome in the credibility and trust needed to understand God’s word. The inmates are encouraged to seek counselling and accept the forgiveness of Christ, and follow His teachings, practicing and living Christian action.
Why do the inmates learn to trust the KAIROS volunteers?
KAIROS volunteers operate through showing love. Unconditional love. Love in the form of cooking lunches and dinners with a volunteer cook team that works outside the prison, and brings the prepared meals to the prison on schedule. Love in delivering cookies, baked by volunteers that cannot be present during the weekend meetings, but wish to help the mission of KAIROS. Love as shown in a 24/7 prayer vigil, filled out to indicate that there are many volunteers praying for the inmates and KAIROS team, 24/7 throughout the time we are meeting with them, and during the whole weekend event. Love in the form of “meal ticket” contributions by volunteers to pay for each meal served in the prison to inmates attending the meeting, whom the volunteers have never met, but wish to contribute to the cause. Love in the form of place mats that have been drawn by young school age children, reminding many inmates of their own children. Love as shown by a handwritten letter by each KAIROS volunteer, to each inmate involved with KAIROS on the weekend visit. And, finally unconditional love shown by the KAIROS team as the talks are delivered, which often reflect on the broken lives and imperfect past of the volunteers as well, as they deliver their messages, stressing that we are the same God’s children as you (the inmates) are, except we are on the outside. We are no better, or no worse, than the inmates, in God’s eyes.
Where do the volunteers sleep?
The volunteers sleep at a nearby church gymnasium that has been loaned to us for the weekend. The volunteers bring their own cots, have acess to showers, and a kitchen. The times between visits are used for prayer and planning activities.
How many inmates are participating during a weekend?
Normally, 24 to 30, which roughly equals the number of volunteers also.
How many such weekend meeting are there in a year?
We meet twice a year, once in the spring, and once in the fall.
Are there qualifications to be a volunteer?
Only a belief in Jesus Christ, and a willingness to serve God through this proven system. KAIROS is multi-denominational, relying on the biblical teachings of Jesus Christ, our own experiences, and the help of the Holy Spirit as we deliver our preplanned talks.
What prison does the local KAIROS team serve?
The Morgan County Correctional Complex in Wartburg, TN, which is about an hour West of Oak
Where are the KAIROS volunteers from?
The greater Knoxville area and surroundings, plus the Sevierville, Kodak, Maryville etc. areas.
Why do the volunteers do this work?
The supporting volunteers wish to participate in baking cookies, purchasing meal tickets, getting placemants drawn by children, forming a cook team and working on it, praying for the KAIROS team during the entire weekend, because they wish to support, and believe in, the KAIROS activities and help achieve its mission.
The KAIROS team does this work, mostly due to the rewards they receive by working with the inmates during the weekend. The talks, the personal experiences related by the volunteers, the interactions with the inmates are often very moving, bring most to tears several times during the weekend...especially when some of the inmates testify having come to Christ. Several times we also learn later, that some of the inmates had come to Christ after our meeting. The rewards are intense, and gratifying!
Is there a measurement for the success of the KAIROS system?
The most often quoted measurement of success is the drop in the recidivism rate, which is 75-80% for the inmates that are released from prison normally, across the US, vs. 20-25% for the inmates that have gone through the KAIROS program, which they are allowed to do only once during their stay.
What does KAIROS mean?
KAIROS means “In God’s time”, or “God’s special time”.
The CCTV team: D. Twesme, G. Arwood, N. Azelborn, R. Kryter, K. Kinzler.