The Onesimus Workshop: Jim Elam (March 31, 2021)
Updated: May 3
Don: I got my friend Jim Elam here, we worked together many years at World Impact. Cathy and I put together The Onesimus Workshop to help churches welcome the formerly incarcerated back into the life of the church after they get release, and Jim and Becky have done good work with this workshop.
Jim: Yes, it is a pleasure to be able to work with you again, Don. The Onesimus Project is a blessing to us, because our mission is to empower urban leaders and partner with local churches to reach their cities with the gospel of Jesus Christ. And when I think about empowerment, I think about the young men we call returning citizens. So one of the things that we do is that we put on what we call Zoom workshops. We basically set up the workshops, but the leaders of the workshop are the returning citizens. No one knows what's happening in the prisons better than the guys who actually have been through it.
So we are so thankful that we have we have two young men that study the workbooks, then we go over the videos together, and we they also help me recruit churches and leaders. We host four sessions, one each month with 12-20 participants.
One of the things that we're committed to doing is working on follow up, where we call a church, and the returning citizens help me do that so they are empowered to minister. So I have two guys who are being inspired and I've talked to them about actually inspiring to other guys. This fulfills 2 Timothy 2:2, which says how important that is for us to invest in faithful men that are qualified to teach others, to teach others. And that's our passion.
We hope this will catch fire throughout the country. The guys who participate are very passionate about doing this. It is not something that they feel they have to do, but they actually have a burden from for those who have been incarcerated because they know what they experience when they actually came out. They want to pave the way for other guys that are coming out. And I thank Don and Cathy for the vision to write it.
You can contact Jim Elam at JElam@worldimpact.org.