First, before I answer the above riddle, I need to explain what Lifeblood is. It is 10 men sharing their story of transformation, all faith-based, that we are facilitating in prisons, jails and halfway houses. Centered around the story of host John Turnipseed, we take the men through 9 steps to transformation; Family, Influence, Hope, Power, Self-Reliance, Second Chances, Loyalty, Doing The Right Thing, and Transformation. Each class focuses on one of these topics, with a video followed by discussion. It’s that simple. Generally, the classes are 10-15 participants, and we are testing a women’s version of Lifeblood very soon..
We first started Lifeblood at Stillwater State Prison in Minnesota. John Turnipseed and I were co-facilitators of that first class. One of our participants in the class asked if he could co-facilitate in the future, and did so until his recent release from prison. So, now the model is an outside and inside facilitator for each class, and it seems to be working just fine. As I get busier with Lifeblood, another volunteer stepped up as co-facilitator, Doug Karle. The goal is for me to step aside and let Doug take over at Stillwater. But, I can’t seem to “step aside”. Why? Largely, because I get more out of Lifeblood than the students, and I have to believe that it is the way God designed it.
Doug explained it one way “As a facilitator, I have been so moved by the power that this curriculum has to transform lives right before my eyes”. A Lifeblood graduate, and now facilitator, put it this way “Lifeblood has made me look at family and the impact of what prison does to family, and how to look at it in a non-selfish way”. Here is what I would say; The 2 hours of a weekly Lifeblood class in prison, are the best 2 hours of my week. The discussions that take place in Lifeblood are honest, deep and gut-wrenching. Not a Christian cliché to be found, nor “Christian-ese” to be heard. It’s real people talking about real topics, and we often shed tears together as the men share past experiences.
As we go through the different topics, it becomes clear that many of the men have known nothing about positive influence, about a real family, about true loyalty, about what doing the right thing means, about power, both good and bad. And as we unpack these themes, it has made me take a very good, hard look at how I have conducted myself throughout my life. What kind of a Father have I actually been? Am I influencing people in a positive way? Have I appreciated the second chances I’ve been given? And the truth is that we’ve all been given numerous second chances, every day. Sometimes I believe the only difference in myself and the men in class, is that I hadn’t been caught. They are Dads, Husbands, Sons, just like me. Often times I’ll walk into a weekly class having come off of a bad week or a bad day, and I always, and I mean ALWAYS, walk out of there refreshed and can’t wait to call my wife and tell her about the miracle that God is doing in the lives of the men….and me.
If you’d like to find out more about the work of Five Stone Media and our Lifeblood Video Curriculum, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve’s producing career specialized in both live and taped events, managing multiple projects simultaneously and developing innovative program and content concepts for clients ESPN, FOX Networks, Turner Broadcasting and others. After meeting John Turnipseed around the campfire, a passion for telling transformational stories of redemption was formed, and Five Stone Media was born. Steve and his wife Jennifer have four grown children, and enjoys the world of aviation and chasing race cars.