Kairos is a Christian, lay-led, ecumenical, volunteer international prison ministry, in which men and women volunteers bring Christ’s love and forgiveness to incarcerated individuals and to their families. Kairos consists of three programs: The Men’s and Women’s Ministry, begun in 1976, Kairos Outside, for families of prisoners, begun in 1991, and Kairos Torch, for juvenile prisoners, begun in 1997.
The Men’s and Women’s Ministry addresses the spiritual needs of prisoners.
Kairos volunteers go into prisons in teams of 30 to 40 to pray, share the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, share meals, and fellowship with the incarcerated on a one-to-one basis. The first visit is a three-day event, during which time the team teaches a short introductory course on Christianity. Subsequent visits are monthly half-day reunions with the prisoners over a twelve-month period.
Kairos Outside provides spiritual healing to families of the incarcerated, who often feel that they too are “doing time”.Spouses, parents and other relatives of prisoners meet with the teams of Kairos volunteers to share their faith and gain strength from Christian community.
Kairos Torch provides a ministry to youthful offenders, the most rapidly growing segment of the prison system.
Kairos Ministries currently operates in 270 prisons in 33 states in the USA, England, Australia, South Africa, Costa Rica, and Canada. More than 170,000 incarcerated men and women have been introduced to Kairos, since its inception. The current number of volunteers exceeds 20,000 per year.
Kairos Prison Ministry affects the lives of prisoners in countless positive ways. Lives have been changed, and former inmates re-enter society as better spouses, parents, and employees. Many released prisoners become volunteers and give back to society. Some start their own ministries, pastor churches, while others run re-entry programs, and become mentors.
In addition to having a positive impact on prisoners, the program also has a very favourable effect upon volunteers. Many volunteers acknowledge that the team training, with its emphasis on introspection, honesty, sharing, and community, enhances their spirituality.