DickersonBakker Blog

Spending a Weekend Behind Bars

One of the reasons that I love working for Dickerson, Bakker, and Associates is because our team believes in genuine partnership.  Our goal is not to simply function as a paid service provider.  No, it goes much deeper than that.

As fund development consultants, we view our work as a calling—our unique way of bearing God’s image well–and a means of advancing God’s Kingdom.  Consequently, our aim on the front end of an engagement is to not only learn about our client’s mission, vision, and values.  Rather, it’s to personally experience all these qualities; to discover why the organization exists; and to discover the full value of what they’re providing.  This is truly foundation to us helping them to increase what their major donors are investing.

Recently, I had the unique privilege of spending a weekend behind bars.   Sound crazy?  Let me explain further….

I serve as one of our team’s consultants for Behind the Walls.  Their mission is: to assist the church by equipping and igniting Christians to share their faith in Jesus Christ with the “least of these.”  The way they equip and ignite the church is through partnering with local churches from all over the country to provide a day or weekend of both instructional and experiential evangelism. Dickerson Bakker & Behind the Walls Weekend of Champions

The instructional part is similar to what you would find in Evangelism Explosion or Kirk Cameron’s “The Way of the Master.”   However, what separates it from even these is their fostering a redemptive milieu of community and worship that’s anchored in Christ–The Living Word–and the passionate exposition of His written word.

The experiential part entails taking these same brothers and sisters—they call them “teammates”—to what Behind the Walls founder, Bill Glass, refers to as “the best fishing holes in America:” local, state, and federal prisons; and youth correctional facilities as well.  To people desperate for God in other words.

Because our company’s owner and president, Derric Bakker, had already gone on one of these events, he encouraged the Behind the Walls leadership to ensure that I received a similar first-hand experience of their “weekend of champions.”

I recently went one of their signature events held in Fresno, California.  The instructional part definitely appealed to my head; but the worship and community appealed to my heart; and the experience I had “behind the walls” at the Mendota Federal Correctional Institute not only blessed my heart but gave me the most unique opportunity to serve as the hands and feet of Christ to the least of these.  It was redemptive and yet missional at the same time.

My team of approximately 30 other brothers and sisters arrived at the prison at 6:00am on a Friday.  It took us all about an hour just to get inside.  But once we were actually “behind the walls,” that’s when the magic happened.  There was a palpable disposition of the Holy Spirit displayed from the prison guards.  Honestly, to my surprise, these guards treated me better than I get treated in many of the hotels that I stay.  They were so hospitable to the point that it was obvious that more was going on than the eye could see—God was involved and His Spirit was present.  “Now The Lord is a Spirt, and where The Spirit of The Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17).

We hosted two events: one in the morning to about 100 men and one in the afternoon to a much larger crowd. Over 60 men made first time decisions for Christ that day at the Mendota FCI!  I was personally able to guide seven of these through the scriptures and provide them with the opportunity to say yes to Jesus!

Please keep in mind that I have a certain level of seminary cynicism in me.  So once I led these men in what many call “the sinner’s prayer,” the cynic in me said, “how many of these really meant this?”  Immediately when I had this sinful thought I confessed because judging sincerity isn’t my job but God’s.  God’s job is fruitfulness my job is faithfulness.

Once I dismissed this thought, I realized that two of the platform guests who shared their testimonies had been saved at a Behind the Walls event many years ago!  Then I thought of all the other people that I have gotten to know on staff and even at the training who had accepted Christ at a Behind the Walls event or who rededicated their life to following Christ.   At this point, I had an epiphany: regardless of who is sincere or not sincere in their choosing Christ, someone was obviously getting something because so many had been in the very place that these men were: “behind the walls” involuntary.  Now they were free both physically and especially spiritually!

After this experience, I’m now able to serve this client much better.  I’m genuinely one of them—and standing shoulder to shoulder coaching them on how to really sell with confidence the full value of what they’re providing.  I experienced transformation and this has now provided me with a much stronger foundation to embody genuine partnership.

Is your ministry ready to take the next step in reaping a richer harvest? Contact us today to see how our team of consultants can help your organization make a bigger impact! 

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