Some of the BBB Worship team discussing the joys of working in the jail. (pictured above)
Some have said that we are “all in the same boat” with COVID19, but that is not really
accurate. We are all in the same storm, but not in the same boat. For some the pandemic
has meant loss of jobs, for others serious illness, for some loss of loved ones. Then there are other difficulties, like church gatherings suspended, or having to work at home. Lisa has been talking about “change fatigue” at work – a weariness of having the routine interrupted repeatedly and remaining in a state of flux. It is true that we have all been impacted by COVID for the last five months, along with serious unrest in our country. It is certainly a season for a heightened awareness of the need for prayer, repentance, and responding to calls for action in ministry in new and different ways. There are also unique opportunities that arise in seasons of crisis like this. Local churches have been feeding the poor, neighbors have been reaching out to one another, and both business and ministries are thinking creatively about how to continue to move forward under these restrictive and trying circumstances. We miss going into the jails and prisons to touch lives. Recently, when we gathered some of the team to do videos for the website, we were all sharing instances of the Holy Spirit doing really amazing stuff there and that peaked our hunger to get back into the hands-on work of Blues Behind Bars!!!
Let's not forget, that the HOLY SPIRIT is not restricted by this pandemic! Pray for the church that meets behind the bars to be strengthened in word and deed to do!!!
We fully anticipate being able to start going again; but in the meantime...
The season we are in now has allowed us a long-needed opportunity to engage in an
important part of ministry – a Sabbatical. It is not unusual in ministry for there to be
seasons of withdrawal from normal activities for the purpose of recapturing vision, diving into new learning, and rekindling the first love of Jesus. A sabbatical is actually a very
active time. In Austria, I once had a conversation about taking a sabbatical with an Austrian pastor. He was astonished that I had never set aside time for the restoration that needs to be part of the rhythm of a pastoral ministry career. So, first of all (as we spoke of in the last
newsletter), we found ways to remain engaged in touching the lives of inmates through sending out DVDs with Blues Behind Bars content from the last workshops, a series on prayer, as well as taking in words of encouragement to inmates and staff and snacks for the deputies.
Secondly, we have needed to upgrade our website in order to share the Blues Behind Bars vision more effectively. We now have a series of vision videos describing what we are all about. So far, there is a 3+ minute overview, two 9-minute videos; one about our history and values, the other about who we are and what we do. Then for the deep dive, one about the
songwriting workshops and another about the worship services at LCJ – there are about
20 minutes in length and feature comments from the team.
There will be links to the videos on the website soon, but you can go and see these on
our newly launched Blues Behind Bars YouTube channel. There are two playlists on that channel; one has music and the other has vision and teaching videos. Part of our vision has always been to share the many songs written in the workshops with the general public. YouTube is the largest outlet for new music these days, so the potential is great, but getting buried under the pile is also a possibility (there are about 400 hours of content being loaded to YouTube every hour). We would love it if you could go there, subscribe to the channel and let others know. If you subscribe you will automatically get notifications when we upload new
We are praying heartily for the Lord to open the doors again into the correctional
facilities. At the same time, all of this online and DVD work is an important aspect of
what we need to be doing to be a sustainable ministry. We are praying the Lord will
inspire more people to connect with this vision and perhaps get involved or join in
supporting our work as they become aware of the impact BBB has had in the lives of men
and women in prison who need life-changing forgiveness, hope and transformation.