In Louisville, KY, Mission Behind Bars and Beyond (MB3) provides spiritual support, life skills training and mentoring for those inside prison and for those who return to their communities. MB3 is an ecumenical, faith-based ministry that originated in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and which provides a holistic approach to working with those who are incarcerated and those who are returning citizens. MB3 is affiliated with the congregation of New Life in Christ Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), located inside Dismas Charities-Diersen House.
First Christian Church is happy to be partnering with MB3 again this year, with Wholeness Grant funds to support the worshiping community, New Life in Christ Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the mentoring program.
Each week over thirty women living at Dismas Charities-Diersen gather for worship in the cafeteria as New Life in Christ Christian Church. Outside churches, including First Christian, join the community for worship, sharing Christ's love and compassion and receiving the hospitality and welcome of this unique community of faith.
MB3's mentoring program, called Nurture, Support and Accountability Groups (NSAG), is one in which First Christian Church members have also participated. MB3 trains community members, largely from communities of faith, to serve as mentors to those returning to their community. These mentors work in groups of 3-5 people with one returning citizen. Mentors begin the mentoring relationship while the mentee is still incarcerated, and then walk alongside that person after release. This mentoring model has proven to be very successful.
The mentoring groups meet weekly with the returning citizen with whom they are working, remain in daily contact and covenant to work with the individual for 6 months to one year. In 2018, 52 new mentors were trained at 5 training sessions; 48 people were referred to work with an NSAG and 24 returning citizens worked with one of the mentoring groups or were connected to a church in the community to which they were returning where no mentoring groups were available. In addition, through New Life in Christ Christian Church, there were 32 new members added through baptisms (10) and rededications (22). The average weekly worship attendance in the facility that houses 80 people was 47 people (visitors (12) and residents (35). The returning citizens who work with an NSAG have a remarkably lower rate of recidivism that the state's average. The results have been remarkable as these women re-enter their communities and pursue healthy and happy lives with the support of these mentors.
The wholeness grant used to fund this ministry was made possible through your faithful financial support of our church and its ministries and help fund a variety of efforts to make our world a better place.
You can find more examples of those efforts or apply for a grant to make the world a better place by clicking here.