by Todd Rossnagel
Recently, I ran across an article that you may have seen on your Facebook feed.
The article speaks highly of the faith based institutions that have literally taken over inside Angola.
I know the Kairos model is one where we shouldn’t thank each other nor highlight our own activity and while we should always adhere to that, seeing stories like this (from a newspaper in Washington D.C.) is pretty awesome.
God is awesome!
I wanted to take a moment and update the entire Kairos family on a few matters as we march toward Team 58, led by Richard Saxer (team formation begins October 4th and the weekend is set for November 13-16).
Recruiting Is Up
It’s no secret, Kairos membership has suffered over the last few years. It was one of the reasons we dipped to doing two retreats a year.
However, I can happily report that recruiting for Kairos has greatly improved. Our next team leader, Richard Saxer, has 42 solid commitments for his team already and several of those have come from some rather interesting places. (You’ll have to come to the first team meeting to find out more! 🙂 )
Meanwhile, Rick Blackstone has been aggressively recruiting inside the Catholic Church in the New Orleans area and the Baton Rouge area has seen increased awareness and interest thanks to the Bishop of the United Methodist Church, Cynthia Harvey, and her heart for Kairos and prison ministry.
Adding to this good news is a commitment by Rev. Brady Whitton, Senior Pastor, FUMC Baton Rouge, to be on Team 59, led by Bob Leitner.
As you know, having the senior pastor of one of the largest Methodist churches in Louisiana will spark tremendous interest and it already has – several rookies are now considering Kairos for the first time.
One more note on recruiting, two new leaders will be trained up in September as Rodney Young and Archie Corder get set to attend AKT (Advanced Kairos Training).
While we can always improve our recruiting efforts – both for Kairos and Discipleship retreats, this news of an increased interest is an answered prayer.
It wasn’t that long ago when a team was on the verge of having to cancel their entire weekend as they had not raised enough money to pay the hotel bill.
Literally, the prayer was for a miracle – God, please help the team raise $10,000 in a week.
While the prayer was answered (God has a heart for what we do!), it was still a moment in time that had us pause and reflect on where we stood financially.
A lot has changed since then; chief among those changes is a move from Model 2 to Model 1 with regard to finances.
I don’t pretend to know accounting or finance, but I did spend the night at a Holiday Inn Express, so allow me to give the Readers’ Digest of what this means for Kairos, specifically the Angola chapter.
In years past, we would raise funds and keep a balance for future teams – we were financially independent with the exception that a certain percentage of our funds would go to the state chapter as they would pay for items such as they crosses we hand out.
The move to Model 1 places the financial burden on the state chapter and allows us to rely on the state for our financial assistance.
This is tremendously valuable to smaller chapters that had been struggling with raising enough dollars to do a retreat.
In fact, the scenario I mentioned earlier (one team almost having to fold tent because of a lack of funds) would not have been a situation as we would have been able to rely on the state for money.
As it stands now, we are on financially sound ground and we intend to keep it that way!
A few years ago, we updated our web site to provide more up-to-date information as well as resources.
We think this current web site is an improvement but we know it can improved even further.
Currently, we are in discussion with a web developer who is interested in donating his time and resources to our chapter and redesign our web site yet again – all of this work is designed to keep us current and to provide the public with a state of the art look at what we do, why we do it and how we do it.
Ultimately, we would like to adopt the corporate model and get away from the Google Group as a means of communicating.
The idea would be for everyone to subscribe to the web site for updates. In turn, this would allow us to broadcast timely information without clogging inboxes.
Reunions Continue To Be Problematic
One of the hallmarks of Kairos is the teams commitment to return to Angola on a monthly basis for a prayer and share.
We’ve seen both an increase in the number of camps we have witnessed to and a decrease in the number of volunteers willing to return for the monthly prayer and shares.
Adding to this issue is Angola’s desire to have reunions held on one weekend, at all camps simultaneously. In the past, if a group of volunteers would arrive for their monthly reunion at Camp C, they would go to Camp C (as an entire group) and hold the monthly reunion.
However, now that all camps are holding monthly reunions at the same time, it limits the number of people we can send to each camp as we are making the effort to spread our resources.
There is more to the issue, but know this – we are trying to work with Angola on a solution.
Our job is to maintain our promise to the residents of Angola and live up to the spirit of Kairos by returning for monthly reunions.
If you have a question about when you signed up for a monthly reunion, please check with the team leader for the weekend you served or contact Checo who can assist with the master gate pass.
As you know, to serve on a Kairos team, every team member needs to complete DOC (Department of Corrections) training.
This has traditionally been done at team meetings with a representative from chaplains department facilitating the training.
This October, the training will be held October 11th at South Baton Rouge Church of Christ from 8:30am – 11am.
This training coincides with the team meetings for Team 58.
Reminder – if you are going to attend a Kairos function between now and February of next year (when the next DOC training will be held), you will need to attend this training.
Finally, we are asking for volunteers interested in serving on the Angola Council.
Over the next few months, we will be looking for and recruiting leaders to serve on the council.
If you are interested, please email Todd.
Thank you for your willingness to serve Kairos and to answer God’s call to share Christ’s message of love and forgiveness.
This ministry has survived many hurdles and potholes over the years, some which pale in comparison to some of the issues we currently have.
We are blessed to have a large recruiting roll and a large bank of donors, at the ready to assist with their time and money.
Angola is a safer place and more lives have been completely transformed thanks in large part to the work we are doing, through the Holy Spirit.