Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Stand in the Gap Missouri and Life Point Church Ozark

Just got back from the birthing of another Stand in the Gap Spiritual Family ... part of the Foster Care Aging-Out Project between SITG Missouri and Boys and Girls Town of Missouri with Life Point Church Ozark - YES!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Kairos International Prison Ministry

The past two days I have been blessed to spend time with 200+ Kairos U.S. and International leaders. Karios exists in 31 states and 8 countries outside the U.S. The Kairos mission is “to bring Christ's love and forgiveness to all incarcerated individuals, their families and those who work with them, and to assist in the transition of becoming a productive citizen” ………… The SITG model, to say the least, was very warmly embraced. Their International Executive Director will be coming to Tulsa in September to begin brainstorming a strategic alliance between our organizations. In the interim, 11 countries or state leaders have requested our implementation manual (see below).

In addition I was introduced to the Prison Fellowship of Canada’s Executive Director, Rick Arsenault. PFI’s mission statement is “ to work through the Christian community to mobilize outreach and ministry in response to the needs of prisoners, ex prisoners, victims, and their families, as well as, to advance the application of restorative justice principles within the criminal justice system”…….. PFI was founded in 1976 by Charles W. Colson. Prison Fellowship feels they are not doing justice to their men and women when they leave prison. Rick and I will be visiting this week.

State Directors requesting our implementation manual:
Illinois, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Washington

Country Directors requesting our implementation manual:
Canada, Mexico, South Africa, UK

God is good!

Buddy Stone

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

SITGA on the move July 2009

Susan from Willow Creek shared the following when asked if SITG had a spiritual impact on her, “It has been an honor to be part of a SITG family and be connected. I have found more connection in my SITG family than in any small group or area of the church that I have served in. It really does feel like family.” (Willow Creek in Chicago is regarded as one of the most influential churches in the U.S.) PTL!

I am also happy to report the Catholic Diocese of Eastern Oklahoma is implementing SITG. Some 61,000 strong in terms of membership.

Friday, June 26, 2009

SITG - would you particpate again?

Another insightful comment from our volunteer survey in response to the question, Would you participate in another SITG Spiritual family?:

Absolutely, how could you not? If it would do as much good for someone else as it has for me, how could I refuse?

Participating in Stand in the Gap is life changing, it is a process that deepens your spiritual maturity and your desire for relational depth and being real and transparent and during the journey it transforms you and brings you closer to Jesus.

Are you interested in joining a spiritual family or championing and starting SITG at your church?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What participants are saying about their SITG experience!

Here are some comments from interviews that we are conducting with Spiritual Family members about their experience - really good stuff:

Impact to you:

I can personally guarantee prayers will be answered if you pray in unity. This is our second SITG spiritual family; I expect miracles.

I think the big word is love, God’s love. Only God could bring together such a diverse group and make us a family. Our group is growing in faith and trust in the power of God.

Impact to your neighbor:

It just totally blows her away to be cared for and loved. She was struggling with a couple of losses that came close together. She is awed that we are there to uplift, love and pray and not tell her what to do better, just do the best she can.

She came to us almost hopeless and through prayer and sharing, she is a reborn believer whose faith has supported her over the last 4 months.

I see things happening in her life that need to happen. Prayers are being answered and we just keep on keeping on. Build our courage up so that we can encourage others.

Impact to other Spiritual Family members:

We knew one another in our church but had never been in a small group together. We have gotten closer, friendships are deeper, we are more open with one another. There is intimacy. We were all prayer people but have a deepening of that intimacy. It is enriching to see God at work, it’s fun and enjoyable.

Everybody is starting to recognize God acting in their lives. Things they took for granted before are now recognized as God sightings.

All have had our prayers answered by the Lord, some in miraculous ways.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Women in Transition

Recently I was in Ohio to evaluate the Women in Transition curriculum being taught in the women’s prison there. I developed the curriculum based on my journey from incarceration to freedom. I was able to integrate back into society with nothing more than the few possessions I had while in prison. After my own Stand in the Gap experience, my heart's desire was to help other incarcerated women transition and be able to place them in a SITG spiritual family. I have been able to do just that when we launched our Women in Transition (WIT) program. We are now teaching the WIT program in Ohio through a Stand in the Gap partnership with Opening Doors and have been working over the past year to improve and enhance the curriculum with the training team in Ohio.

I was prepared for criticism, suggestions, editing and more work to be done on the curriculum as a result of the evaluation. That didn’t happen. The facilitators said the curriculum was perfect. I was amazed. But as I think about it now it’s about truth, reality and the power of the story. Once the women on the yard who are incarcerated read the story they are drawn to the WIT program. It’s so simple, put it all out there; the facts versus the fantasy of transitioning out of prison; how one woman did it and others can choose to do the same. God is good!

Barbara Saunders - Women in Transition Founder

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Passionate Pastor

The driver of SITG success (within a church) is the passion level of the pastor. We have another "10" on the radar screen. Pastor Kevin Stewart with the Muskogee Church of Christ has come out of the blocks flying. I look forward to sharing MCC "God sightings."