What is a Lifeblood Support Group Meeting?
Lifeblood Meetings provide weekly Christ-centered support group gatherings for anyone working through the effects of incarceration. This volunteer led ministry is based on the proven idea that; a community of people with shared experiences, supported by a local church leads to success in the transition from incarceration
Opportunities for personal growth and connection
Alleviate Isolation People transitioning from incarceration are encouraged to build relationships with positive influences. This can be particularly hard where the former offender is faced with making connections in a community that has been damaged by criminal activity, and by the absence of the community member during incarceration. Lifeblood Support Groups facilitate more interaction between former inmates, and healthy influences, or potential role models, especially role models who have successfully navigated transition from incarceration themselves.
A safe place to share Personal growth requires open and honest self-examination. A feeling of safety is essential for this kind of vulnerability to happen. One of the Lifeblood small group guidelines is an agreement that what is shared in the group is kept confidential. This can be invaluable to those who are hesitant to speak freely—especially about negative or unfamiliar feelings—because they’re worried about fear, judgement, gossip, or rejection.
Insight of shared-experience. Support groups offer a wealth of diverse information, insights and practical advice. Group members often share coping strategies based on firsthand experience and offer realistic feedback unburdened by the presence of a perceived authority.
Support for the family structure People transitioning from incarceration can experience fear, and anxiety around identity and reassuming their role in the family. Spouses or parents feel unsure of expectations, boundaries, family responsibilities and more. Lifeblood Support Groups offer opportunities for family members to share their struggles with other family members as well as providing a safe environment to grow alongside the family member returning from incarceration.
Spiritual growth and connection Behind bars many people discover a new or renewed relationship with God. Prisoners have an abundance of time to read and study scripture and take part in ministry opportunities. On release prisoners who are used to having hours each day to devote to spiritual studies can easily be distracted by the demands of their new life in the free world. Support groups based in local churches provide the encouragement, wisdom, & community necessary to sustain spiritual growth. Our hope is that Lifeblood Support Groups will be a bridge to help individuals join traditional church small groups.
How it Works
A flexible large-group time to include presentation of Lifeblood curriculum video and announcements along with other optional content (worship, prayer, speakers, etc.) The Lifeblood curriculum consists of 9 videos, each of which introduces a theme through powerful storytelling of former inmates (men and women) with shared experiences who have found total life transformation through Christ and who have successfully navigated the transition from incarceration.
Volunteer led small group time with discussion guides to explore the weekly theme. Closed groups are reserved for people who have experienced incarceration. Open groups are available to anyone affected by incarceration.
A connection point for other reentry resources and organizations
Lifeblood meetings provide participants opportunities to share stories, learn from each experiences and to think differently about their lives in order to bring about hope, healing and real, actionable change.
Every time a Lifeblood group meets we expect that someone’s life will be changed.
Information for Churches
Of the nearly 7 million people under correctional control in the U.S., 4.4 million of them are living in our communities on probation or parole. Connecting in Christian community with these neighbors can make a massive change in our neighborhoods and in our churches. We believe that the local church is ideally positioned and equipped to support the unmet needs of people affected by incarceration. We’ve talked with many church leaders who wish to act but simply don’t know where to start.
We’ve created the Lifeblood Reentry Meeting Ministry Package as a comprehensive, scalable tool to help local churches respond to these needs in their community. The Package provides all training, elements & resources for any local church to launch and lead a successful meeting. We pray that families in need will find reentry support through a local church and that they will connect to a church home.”
If you would like more information on how you can launch a Lifeblood Meeting in your church or support another church to serve others please contact us for more details.