Success in the workplace: what it looks like for prisoners

By April 2, 2015
Image courtesy of Crossroad Bible Institute.

(Image courtesy of Crossroad Bible Institute)

New Zealand (MNN) —   Work ethic. It’s a virtue. It’s the means to survival. It’s the father-to-son speech of “this is how you succeed in life and provide for your family.” It’s something that we’ve taught our children since they could understand what it meant to pick up their toys.

Work ethic is also a Biblical concept.

Dr. David Schuringa of Crossroad Bible Institute says people don’t always grow up learning how to work hard. They’re not taught its value. This is too often the case for prisoners.

According to Schuringa, many prisoners were either unemployed or underemployed when they committed the crime that landed them in prison. Unfortunately, prison doesn’t teach them the skills they need to find and keep a good job once they’re out of prison.

CBI ministers to prisoners, helping them learn about the hope that comes from following Jesus. CBI also desires to teach prisoners practical skills to help them succeed once they’ve left prison so they don’t return.

New Zealand, Schuringa says, has a cutting-edge satellite campus. It is here also where a book written by Schuringa is making a big impact. Seven Secrets for Success in the Workplace teaches Bible-based principals to prisoners who are preparing to enter society again.

In New Zealand and many other contexts around the world, the book is used in small group settings to study and learn how prisoners can get a good, reliable job when they are released.

Along with the book, CBI has a 10-lesson course based on the book where the prisoners can learn in a one-on-one setting with an instructor.

Eventually there will also be a 5-course vocational series that takes them through the topics of work and family.

Schuringa says these people need assistance to change their lifestyle so they don’t return to prison. And in New Zealand, the response to the book has been encouraging. “These courses are just being eaten up around the world,” says Schuringa.

“To get and to keep a job is something that’s very much high on the list,” he explains

Something high on the list for CBI is breaking the cycle of poor choices.

“Around the world, including in New Zealand, [people] who commit crimes often come from troubled families. They did not get the kind of mentorship that maybe most of us did receive, in terms of how to succeed in a job, how to have a positive attitude, how to give 110% not 80%, how to be there on time.”

While many people might believe that hard work is a common sense value, it really isn’t.

“People who were not raised in an area of privilege…didn’t get this practical kind of advice on how to succeed,” Schuringa says, “So, I believe it’s the responsibility of the Church to share the secrets of success in God’s world.”

Through this instruction, CBI hopes to draw people to learn about Christ.

They don’t beat around the bush as to the basis for the lessons: “The whole work course is based on Scripture. And it is quoting Scripture and showing from beginning to end how this is what it means to be a Christian and to be an image bearer of God. It begins by showing how God works and so do we.”

Readers will learn about God’s work in creation and how that continued. They will learn about the work of Christ on the cross.

In addition, Schuringa says of the book, “It applies principles from Scripture throughout, in terms of honesty, integrity, giving your best, and all the rest. It’s all about Christ and His will for our lives, but it’s coming at us from the application side.”

Schuringa goes on to say that most re-entries are not prepared to find a job and become part of society again. Even worse, there’s a 65%-75% chance of those who are not helped to go back to prison.

But there is so much more to helping people learn how to work hard. CBI wants to help them become a valuable part of the community again.

“We should care very much that they become contributing members to their communities and become fathers and mothers who understand what it means to have a Christian home. It will build safer and stronger communities, and our churches will be better for it,” Schuringa explains.

If you would like to get involved, click here and learn about CBI’s satellite ministries. Volunteer to be an instructor and become part of the 6,000 volunteers worldwide.

You can pray, too. First of all, praise God with CBI for the impact of the ministry. Right now they are working in 27 countries on six continents.

“We have found our little niche in the Great Commission. These are the forgotten ones, and we need to make disciples of them,” Schuringa says. Pray also that God would use this book to draw more people to Himself.

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