Program Components for CRI
Celebrate Recovery has three distinct components and also has additional training for leaders which may be accomplished in the institutional setting, if possible.
1. WorshipWorship is usually held once a week and has 3 to 4 songs, prayer, the reading of the 12 Steps or the 8 Principles, teaching from the Leader’s Guide or testimony, Serenity Prayer and closing song. The full program should take between forty-five minutes and one hour. This format can be modified to have worship one week, a step-study the next. If there are fewer songs, the time with the materials can be increased.
A time should be set aside for inmates to give testimony to what God is doing in their lives. If it is difficult to get this started you may ask leaders from CR groups in the community to have someone come and give a testimony or use the volunteers. Transparency is essential to a deeper work to let God change the individual from the inside out.
2. Step-studyStep studies may be conducted alone or with the worship component. If inmates are in the institution only a short time, and you have only an hour a week with them, you may wish to conduct only a step-study, one lesson a week. If you have more than one hour, spend it on a short worship period followed by working on the steps. If a little more time is available, increase the number of worship songs. In all cases begin with prayer and either the 12 Steps or the 8 Principles of Celebrate Recovery. All of the lessons can be completed in about six months, if this is the only option.
3. Open Share Small GroupsIf you have the luxury of having a two hour block of time at least once a week, you can have the worship period and either a small share group or a step-study following that. You also may have one hour for open share each week and use the other hour for the lesson from the Leader’s Guide one week and a step-study the next week.
If the inmates will work on their own issues during the week in the participant guides and then share, this is preferable. Depending on the length of time the inmates are in the institution, you may have either a six-month or one year period to go through the programming. If you can have all three components with a sufficient amount of time (at least four hours a week) you will be able to complete the entire program and inmates will benefit more from this experience.
4. Use of the Bulletin HandoutsYou may have a facility that has a fast turnover in population. Most jails are in this category since inmates may be in there only until their case is adjudicated or for very short sentences. It is not feasible to get them through step-studies since they usually will not be involved for more than a few weeks at the most.
In the Advanced Leadership Training Guide there are bulletin handouts that are used in many CR programs during the evening that the large group meeting is held, followed by open share groups. These may be used in the prisons or jails as well and only require copying. This gives the inmates a “taste” of CR which is all that you can expect to do during this short time with them. As they leave the facility, they should be directed to a CR group in the community, or to a CR Inside program in a state prison, if they are sentenced there.
5. Leadership TrainingAt another time during the week or even once a month, if you are able, you may have a training session with those who have been through the steps, either in CR or in one of the other 12 step programs. Consider those who will be with you the longest to train, especially those who have taken the program seriously and worked all of the steps. You may even be able to have a full T.E.A.M. that you can provide training for that will give strategic leadership to the program. The more you can help inmates conduct and become involved in the presentation of the program, the less you will have to rely on volunteers from the outside, except to be there in support of the inmates as they work the program. It is also better because the participants make the program their own.
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