We provide a series of seminars in "Christian Living" conducted by volunteers, these are weekend seminars for the inmates of state prisons. These series of in-prison seminars addresses the needs of Christian prisoners for training in discipleship principles and methods. It helps chaplains teach inmates to be disciples of Jesus Christ, and at the same time assists the church in fulfilling its Great Commission work of evangelism inside prison. By equipping and challenging Christian prisoners to serve as "inside missionaries," other prisoners are won to Christ. The result is multiplication of Christian faith inside the walls and more responsible citizenship outside in the community. Most jail chaplains and pastors are overworked in their specialized ministries. Our volunteers assist by multiplying chaplains' efforts to meet the needs of prisoners.
What is a Seminar?
A typical weekend seminar has four sessions, each providing instruction and discussion on a central discipleship theme. Seven separate seminars are available, dealing with such themes as "God's Purpose in Life," "Spiritual Warfare," "Prayer," and "Steps to Spiritual Maturity." Certificates are awarded for completing all requirements, which include attendance at all sessions, taking part in discussions, and completing two lessons of written Bible Study.
How do Seminars Work?
Each seminar is conducted by a volunteer team. Where there are multiple chapels, several seminars may run concurrently. An experienced instructor presents the material for each session. Students receive a printed outline of each session which includes Scripture references. Each session includes a discussion "rap" period, led by volunteers. This allows time to get acquainted, to review the facts presented, and to answer individual questions.
How are Seminars Scheduled?
Chaplains wishing to schedule seminars should contact FUMI's home office. Basic schedules are set up months and even years in advance, but open dates are sometimes available on shorter notice. Availability of qualified volunteers is a limiting factor, as well as the time required to get commitments from them. Far-distant prisons present special logistics problems which may require detailed planning. There is no charge to the chaplain or institution for conducting a weekend seminar, but available dates are limited.
How do Seminars Benefit Prisoners?
A surprising number of prisoners have acquired sound Christian teaching along their various pathways. In spite of their failures, some prisoners grow rapidly in the prison setting when they come under the tutelage of a caring chaplain. These maturing Christians need specialized instruction and vision in order to expand their horizons of service to Jesus Christ.
How do Seminars Help Chaplains?
These seminars are crafted to help chaplains provide a balanced spiritual diet of quality Christian instruction for his "flock." While many groups seek to help, not all have developed sound programs built around the basics of Christian doctrine and discipleship. The Follow Up program has been recognized in correctional circles as a quality program, consistent in its teachings, and acknowledged to be effective in this highly specialized mission field. Most chaplains are handicapped by limited resources, so they welcome quality programs from the outside that can help "leverage" their own pastoral efforts.
Who Conducts the Seminar?
Each seminar team is made up of volunteers, mostly laity from various churches and denominations, with years of prison ministry experience behind them. Our Orientation training has exposed them to basic elements of a.) the criminal justice system, b.) the jail culture, c.) core Christian doctrine and d.) disciple-making principles.