Join A Connection Group

Come and be part of a Bible study and support group designed for inmates and ex-offenders

Join us Tuesday nights from 7-9pm at Redeemer Church, 6740 W. North Ave., Chicago

We’re looking for guys who want…

  • to find practical wisdom and encouragement to leave the street life, stay sober, and deal constructively with relationships
  • to find spiritually healthy friends who will accept, support, and hold you accountable – and to be there for them in the same way.
  • to experience spiritual growth and inner freedom and become the man God desires you to be through prayer, Bible study, and character development.
  • to make an immediate, positive, and practical difference by serving and witnessing to others.
  • to develop personal growth in areas like leadership development, relational skills, parenting skills, and emotional development.
  • to find a bridge into full participation in congregational life
  • to find a safe place to talk with other people who understand from their own experience what you’re going through
  • to speak honestly & listen respectfully
  • to help create something that could benefit thousands of other ex-offenders

What will we be doing in the groups? We’ll meet as a group for 90 minutes for group study and conversation. No know-it-all teacher doing all the talking – this is all about a bunch of us being part of a healthy conversation! We call it an Inside-Out Connection Group. In the group we’ll share our joys and our challenges. We’ll pray for each other. We’ll explore and talk about things like forgiveness, money, work, prayer, sobriety, identity, relationships and the Bible.

 What’s this all about? Many men experience a significant spiritual awakening and profound faith development while in prison. Most of those guys dream of the day when they can be released and join a church. Some do. All too often, however, many others don’t manage to make a meaningful church connection when they’re released. Their spiritual momentum stalls. And their chances for leading a healthy and productive life on the outside suffer. We want to change that negative pattern by creating church-based “inside-out” connection groups that are designed for and led by ex-offenders.

Who’s running this? This is a new program from the people who wrote and produced the Spiritual Survival Guide for Prison and Beyond. Redeemer Church is a congregation that now meets in two locations (Park Ridge and at the intersection of North Avenue and Oak Park Avenue in Chicago). For the past seven years we’ve been working with inmates at Stateville Prison though our Under the Door Prison Ministry. We’ve distributed thousands of Bibles. We’ve also worked with current and former inmates to produce and distribute a Spiritual Survival Guide for Prison and Beyond that’s full of practical wisdom and that’s now being used in prisons across the country. We’ve already been blessed to be able to help inmates help each other. We now feel that God is leading us to turn our attention to help create a way for ex-offenders to help each other as well. We also think that the Spiritual Survival Guide can be really helpful here at Crossroads as you transition back home. For a free copy of the book see Vernon Brown.

How does someone get involved? Simply contact Ben Blobam for more information or just show up at 7:00pm at Redeemer.

What makes it work? We can’t speak for everyone, but here’s what we’ve come to believe: We’re here because we tried doing life on our own, apart from God and his church, and it didn’t work. We’re here because we seriously desire change, and we admit that we need God’s help and the help of others. We’re here because we need hope that won’t fail.

We will discover and live in that hope by meeting weekly for Bible study, honest conversation, and mutual accountability so that – together – we can live changed and restored lives. As we grow, we will seek to meet the spiritual needs of those out there still lost and wondering if hope is real, by inviting them to the new life we’ve found in Jesus Christ. Here’s how we operate…

  • Confidentiality – This is a special, intimate group where we are privileged to be very honest and vulnerable with one another. Anything that is said in our meetings is never repeated outside the meetings without permission.
  • Respect – We listen to each other and value everyone’s right to their opinions as we value our own. All questions are encouraged and respected. Everyone’s participation is encouraged, but no one is given permission to dominate the conversation.
  • Accountability – We agree to let members of the group hold us accountable to commitments we make, in whatever gentle and loving ways we decide upon. At the same time, giving unsolicited advice is not permitted.
  • Relationships – Life change doesn’t happen in isolation. We will do our best to bond, provide mutual support and encouragement, grow as disciples of Jesus, and learn to lead.
  • Community – By participating in this group we are being given something that others don’t have: a place where we belong and are accepted as we really are. We won’t keep this to ourselves, but will welcome newcomers and reach out to others in need of help and hope.