Recently our TUMI (“The Urban Ministry Institute”) class at Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility completed a group ministry project as part of the course “Foundations for Christian Mission.” They decided to work together to teach a broad overview of the whole story of God’s plan in salvation history, from eternity past to eternity future. Using an outline provided in their course material entitled “From Before to Beyond Time,” each member of the class selected one section of the outline to present in 3-5 minutes.
The students created power point presentations and selected video clips and worship music to reinforce the various themes being taught. After multiple rehearsals, the class presented the teaching to a chapel service of 97 prisoners. Upon completing this ministry project several of the students told us what they learned, and you can read their comments below. It would not be possible for us to continue training and equipping these imprisoned ministers of the gospel without your faithful prayers and support - thank you!!
“This project helped me to gain a lot of confidence in speaking in front of the congregation, and it will be easier the next chance I get. Everyone in the class worked together very well and encouraged each other along the way… Another thing I learned was the power that story telling has in relaying God’s purpose to others.” – Michael
“An important thing that happened in the preparation for this project was that all of us in the TUMI class spent a lot of time working together… It was our first time to work together on a project and it drew us together and helped us get to know each other better. All in all, it was a great experience and I felt like I was a contributing part of God’s narrative story being presented in an interesting manner.” – David
“This was quite a different experience for me, creating a presentation as a group. It was fun as well as frustrating at times. Then actually getting up before the Church Sunday morning, you pray that your message is clear… From this I’ve learned that just knowing bits and pieces of God’s word, you are not only cheating yourself from a true understanding of God’s story but you are also doing a disservice to others.” – Derrick
“I definitely learned a lot over the entire period of this project… Listening to the Holy Spirit and following the desire of God was the first thing I learned… Overall this ministry was the best so far for me. I don’t know what idea God will give me next, but I will definitely be more organized and more professional in the future.” – Dion
“Any presentation done in the church must be on target, must be well prepared, and must be scripturally based to encourage, keep attendance up, and grow the church… As with the service, we must all be prepared on a daily basis to attend to the needs of our brothers. Our armor must be worn in a visible manner and we must have the courage to act and show our Christian beliefs at every opportunity… As I build a closer and personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the needs of the church, its members, and society in general become more apparent and easier for me to act upon.” – Norm
“I learned that you must keep God on your mind during projects. Sometimes getting it done becomes so important that you almost forget why you are doing it.” – Tim
“I learned from this whole process how to work as a team and take and use other people’s advice and their view of something. How to be patient in the process and how to trust the process. Even when you disagree you can find understanding and even go with someone else’s idea, and it can still turn out better than you thought.” – Bruce
“Recently, the whole facility has been in an uproar because of a housing emergency that DOC is temporarily imposing on us… Among the inmates there’s been nothing but complaints, crying, pain, sorrow, and horror stories, in anticipation of the overcrowding, discomfort, and inconvenience of the whole situation. I and all my brothers in Christ were some of the strongest tear-bearers! But that Sunday morning God ‘checked’ me, and taught me a lesson… Sometimes we can be going to church, praising God, and talking about His word, but be totally unconscious of His purposes. On the Sunday that we did our presentation, because of DOC bringing extra people to the facility, there were unexpectedly 20-25 brand new people in church to hear the message that we had prepared! …While we were preparing for weeks to share with the congregation God’s plans and agenda, we missed the one right in front of our faces out of concern for our own comfort. Afterward, the congregation’s response was praise, adulation, and thanks to God for our service - which I then quietly turned back over to God because He constantly overcomes and does His work despite our ignorance, sin, and selfishness to accomplish His amazing purposes.”