Message From the Quarterback

Post date: Sep 1, 2016 6:49:21 PM

Football season is upon us once again and for me that means the October Kairos is right around the corner. I have had several people tell me that they are not quite sure what their role is going into this weekend. We are running a play. It's not a trick play, or a hail Mary pass out of desperation. It's a reliable one. Out of the shotgun, four wide receivers with a half-back option. It can result in a touchdown, or just a few yards at a time, but either way, this play consistently yields positive results. We don't all know the master plan of the coaches offensive strategy, we only need to know our job. "make an opening in the defense, get to this spot and look for a pass, guard your man, ...push." This training guide describes every position at the table. This is how you "push".

Training Guide

Table Family Leader

Job Description

The Table Leader guides the discussions at the table by encouraging the Participants

to share their thoughts, and to participate in the projects. The Leader is NOT to be

the discussion leader, and their verbal input should be kept to a minimum.

Training Hints

1. Family Workers primary duty is to lovingly lead and direct the participants through the

materials presented on the weekend.

2. A servant’s heart and attitude are essential.

3. You are acting as Jesus’ apostles, so FREQUENTLY ask Him for help and guidance

(pray, alone and together as family workers).

4. How should a family worker act?

a. Be mature in demeanor and attitude. Immaturity, pranksters or class clowns

have no place on a table. If you see it, squelch it! There are lots of other

opportunities for fun. Table discussions are serious.

b. Set the example by taking plentiful, copious notes - you are an example to the


c. Carefully observe the Participants at the table. Watch for any signs of writing

problems. Offer to copy notes for anyone who might have a literacy or physical


5. Table discussion is the most important dynamic of the weekend:

a. Make sure that everyone has a chance to share.

b. The most frequent mistake of a family worker is talking too much, or if clergy,

preaching too much.

c. Your job is to Listen, Listen, and Listen! You are not the "answer man."

d. On the first day of talks especially, let the Participants express themselves. If

no one begins discussion, the Family Leader should open with a question.

e. Be alert and aware of what is being said at discussions and by whom. Hints

regarding the need for counseling or the need for spiritual direction might occur

during discussion.

f. Be open and honest about yourself. Show concern and compassion.

g. Direct your concerns to the Family Leader who will direct them to the team



6. Poster time - Participants should be the ones to design and illustrate the main idea of

the talk. A family worker could help them get started. Family workers should not

actively participate unless no one else will respond to the task.

7. NEVER, NEVER leave the family without at least one family worker in attendance at

the table.

8. Except for REAL EMERGENCIES, no one is to leave the table for any reason during

talks or discussion times.

9. An overzealous talker may be handled by directing a question directly to a quieter

person. Asking “What do you think?” or “Is that your experience?” can stimulate


10. On the last day, both the Participants and the team are tired.

a. Remain focused and alert.

b. No yawning or complaining.

c. Sunday morning talks deserve the same enthusiasm and attention as the


11. Each night, review this Training Guide. Review the logistical details for the

Forgiveness Windup, the Prayer & Share role play, and the Prayer Circle that are detailed

later in this training guide. Always ask team leadership questions if you are unsure of

how anything is to proceed.

12. When in doubt about ANYTHING, read your Kairos manual! Consult team leadership!

13. Ten Commandments for Family Workers:

1. Speak to the Participants

There is nothing as nice as a cheerful work of greeting.

2. Smile at the Participants

It takes 72 muscles to frown, only 14 to smile!

3. Call the Participants by name

The sweetest music to anyone’s ears is the sound of their own name!

4. Be friendly and helpful

If you would have friends, be friendly!

5. Be cordial

Speak and act as if everything you do were genuine pleasure.

6. Be genuinely interested in each person

You can like nearly everybody if you try.

7. Be generous with praise

Be cautious with criticism.

8. Be considerate with the feelings of others

It will be appreciated. Have empathy.

9. Be thoughtful of the opinions of others

There are three sides to a controversy - yours, the other fellow’s and the right


10. Be alert to give service

What counts in life is what we do for others!

14. Table Facilitation and the Development of Christian Community


One way of understanding the behavior that takes place as we minister to participants at

Kairos tables is to know that Christian Community is developed through a predictable

series of stages. You are involved in those stages now, whether you are aware of it or

not, in every group you are part of, because they are a natural way that human beings

interact when they come together.

STAGE #1 = INCLUSION (Getting "in")

This stage takes the first day of the weekend (about 8 hours).

Participants, without being fully aware of it, spend Friday trying to get "in". We all

know the awful feeling of being "out". To break out of "out", participants are

asking themselves, "what must I do here to get "in"? And they are wondering if

they will be able to do, or willing to do, whatever it is that is expected of them.

Drawing posters, table discussions, and acceptance demonstrated by team

members, aids them in developing a sense of being accepted as "in".

The completion of each stage is marked by a celebration or "party". The poster

presentations provide an excellent vehicle for the party. The enthusiasm, humor

and energy we consistently see expressed at this time are a signal that the first

stage has been completed.

Team Members can Facilitate Development of this Stage by:

Being friendly, accepting, interested in, listening, making eye contact, and

personally doing all those "little things" that make others feel welcome. Listen

Listen Love Love is the perfect way to carry out this stage. Kairos has been

marvelously designed to facilitate movement through the stages of developing

Christian Community!

When you notice participants in late afternoon who still seem to be feeling “out”,

share your own discomfort in situations where you feel “out”, and invite them to

share what they are feeling. Talking about it is the most helpful thing you can do.

Be supportive & understanding.


Beginning Saturday morning, a new dynamic is usually apparent. It is marked by

attempts to exert some control, power or influence to see where the power

boundaries are between those at the table.

Power relationships are measured by what happens when people disagree with

each other. Therefore Saturday is often a time of disagreement, or even outright

conflict. Depending on the personalities gathered at the table, the conflict might

be carried out in very constructive, leadership kinds of ways, or might be

confrontative and belligerent ways, or it might even be carried out in soft,

humorous, pleasant ways. Groups who have no power oriented members

sometimes even slide right through this period with no awareness of conflict. This

stage is resolved when all members have learned that the group will listen to

them and they can consequently influence the group.

The chapel prayer visits with the “we” prayer are a wonderful vehicle for praying

about conflict that might be present, and the burning (or drowning) of the

unforgiveness lists, followed by open mike, are a wonderful celebration & party

that resolves the conflict of this stage.

Team Members can Facilitate Development of this Stage by:

Knowing that the conflicts and disagreements that develop on Saturday should

not be taken personally. They are simply an outgrowth of the human need to

understand the power relationships between people. There are several ways

team members can be helpful.

First, they be tolerant of a certain amount of disagreement. Don’t be too quick to

cut it off. It is through those disagreements that the participants finally work their

way through this stage. However, they should be prepared to interrupt

participants who are being too aggressive in arguing with the others, by playing

referee if necessary. We don't want others to be intimidated by the louder

members, so our role then is to interrupt, and quickly ask each to share their

view of the subject under discussion, paraphrasing and listening well so each

side knows they are being heard. Getting combatants to take turns allows the

discussion to go on rather than simply driving the conflict under the table.

Secondly, since less assertive members drop out of the conversation when

conflict breaks out, we need to invite them back into the discussion after the

conflict has been ended.

If on Sunday morning, you find a participant who is still being argumentative,

share your own discomfort with conflict and ask how the participant feels about

disagreement. Enabling them to talk about it is the most helpful thing you can

do. Be supportive & understanding.


Saturday late afternoon and Sunday morning brings the next stage, which is

marked by closeness, both emotionally and physically. Closeness is apparent

as hugging, touching, arms around shoulders, crying together while hugging,

even an occasional kiss on the cheek, demonstrates the new stage has arrived.

It is worth noting that each stage takes about 8 hours to develop, and Sunday in

the prison is often too short to fully complete the stage. There are two

considerations that result from ending Sunday before the stage has been fully


One is that there are still some participants who are very uncomfortable with the

closeness and hugging, and are struggling with their negative feelings about it.

The other is that the participants over-estimate their ability to carry out Prayer &

Share Grouping and Christian-living in the prison environment. In the glow of

spirit- filled enthusiasm, it's hard to be realistic about the difficulties that lie

ahead. Therefore, this stage is typically resolved at the Instructional Reunion.

They've had a week or two to think about it, and they are likely to be ready for

loving closeness when the team arrives for the reunion.

Team Members can Facilitate Development of this Stage by:

Watching for participants who are swept along with the strong sense of

closeness, but who inwardly find the closeness stifling. Sweaty palms, racing

pulse, tightness in the chest and churning stomachs often result!

If not "rescued" by a team member who can spot the stress and be

understanding about the discomfort some people experience with unwanted

closeness, they may drop out on Sunday, or simply drop out of Kairos activities

in the prison.

We all know people who did not like their street weekend experience and who did

not become active in any fourth day activities. By a wide margin, the reason for

those unhappy weekend experiences comes from discomfort with the affection

and intimacy that is developed.

When you notice a participant who appears to be uncomfortable on Sunday,

share with them about a time when you felt uncomfortable in a group that

seemed to be too close, and ask what they are feeling. Enabling them to talk

about it is the most helpful thing you can do.


If the Team Formation process was completed, the team has completed the stages and

is ready for being good Christian Community models for the participants. If not, the table

family workers have just as much work to do in moving through the stages as the

participants do. In any case, now that the participants have joined the team, it is a new

community that needs to work through the stages together.

Table Family Workers can help the stages develop and be successfully completed by

doing and encouraging the appropriate behavior for each stage. If they are not aware of

the stages, they may do behavior that interferes with completion of one or more of the

stages and accidentally prevent achievement of Christian Community. As you move

through the weekend, watch the stages develop and be as helpful to each stage as you

can. At the end, they should be feeling like a completed Christian Community. And at the

Instructional Reunion, a close family- feel should be evident.