Writing "Agape" Letters
Agápē (Gk. a-gah'-pay) In the New Testament, agape is
often used to describe God's unconditional love toward us and the
self-sacrificing manner in which we should love one another. Passages
- "Love your
neighbor as yourself"
- Matthew 22:39,
- "This is
my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" - John 15:12,
- "God is
love." - 1 John 4:8
In Kairos, agape love is expressed
in many different ways: through posters, prayers, cookies, etc. But one of
the most effective ways for an inmate to feel the love and acceptance of
Christ (through the team) is in the form of hand-written letters. After 5
years in prison, 95% of the inmates have no contact whatsoever with outside
family or friends. A personal note expressing Christian love is a powerful
However, One of the most difficult
tasks for many new Kairos team members is figuring out HOW to write agape
letters. This page will hopefully make things a little easier.
- Before writing, pray
that the Holy Spirit would guide your hand as you write.
- Letters must be
handwritten and original. Photocopies or computer-printed letters are
not nearly as effective as one in your own hand... even if your
penmanship is not the best.
- Keep everything upbeat and
- There should be no mention of
- Letters need not be lengthy
but should be more the one or two lines.
Weekend Host Letter To Your
At some point during team
formation, you will be given one particular inmate to pray for. As their
"Weekend Host", you will be there to greet them on Thursday night
and will stay in contact with them throughout the Kairos Short Course,
My name is Bob Jones and I am a member of the Kairos Team that will be coming
to Hancock in a week or so. I am really looking forward to meeting you on
Thursday when we all get together. I will be happy to answer any questions
you might have at that time. I believe this is going to be one of the
best Kairos Weekends yet! May God bless you and I will see you soon!
Place the letter in a regular
envelope and address it in the manor described above.
42 Agape Letters
On Saturday during the Weekend,
all 42 participants will receive a bag full of letters. EVERY team member is
expected to write a brief personal note to ALL 42 participants. That sounds
like a lot... and it is IF you try to do it all at one time. But if you
spread it out over several weeks prior to the Weekend, you can do it easily.
Some team members choose to write more lengthy letters using standard 8 1/2"
by 11" notebook or printer paper. Others prefer to use smaller writing
pads. The choice is yours.
As you begin to write your
letters, you most likely will NOT have the names of the participants.
Although YOU may not know who the letter will go to, GOD KNOWS. So write with
confidence knowing that HE will see to it that your words get to the right
person. When addressing the letters, rather than using a general salutation
such as “Dear Brother in Christ”, many team members prefer to write their
letters in advance with NO GREETING and then wait until the last minute to
fill in the names. HOWEVER, IF YOU DO THIS, BE SURE TO BRING AND USE THE SAME
PEN YOU WROTE THE NOTE WITH!! Otherwise there may be two different shades of
If you are serving at a table, you
may choose to only write 36 letters prior to the weekend and then write the
last 6 on Friday evening to the 6 participants at your table (after you get
to know them better). The letters can be a little more personal. HOWEVER, BE
SURE NOT TO RUN OUT OF TIME. Writing 6 letters at the last minute on Friday
night after a long day may be tough.
In writing your letter, you may
choose to share a scripture or some positive words of encouragement. Be sure
to urge the participant to join a Prayer and Share Group and to also stay
active in the Kairos community by coming to the Monthly Reunions. Here is a
couple of examples:
I hope you are feeling surrounded by love – the love of the Lord and the love
of the community. Remember, God’s love can accomplish mighty things. He is
always here for us. We just need to ask. May you always feel the presence of
Christ throughout your weekly prayer and share grouping.
In Jesus’ love, John Smith
As your Kairos weekend continues, please know that many, many of us in the
Christian community are praying that you are feeling the presence of the Lord
in your life. He truly loves us and seeks a relationship with each of us. You
are a unique individual; He has created no one else just like you and our Lord
loves you for you. I will continue to pray for you throughout this weekend
and the days to come. I urge you to join your new Kairos brothers in the
Christian community. Please come to the Monthly Reunions so we can stay in
Yours in Christ, John Doe
Put your letters in an envelope. Just fold them in half and write the participant's name
on the outside of the envelope. Give all your letters to the Head Agape
person as soon as possible. Putting the letters in alphabetical order will
help the Agape servants greatly!
General Agape & Children's
Please have your Sunday School
Class, Church Group, Bible Study, etc. write a general letter of support and
encouragement. A handwritten letter from the group is fine but they may
choose to use a printed piece of computer artwork on colored paper signed by
all individuals in the group. Adults may sign their full name if they want
to. DO NOT put any personal addresses or phone numbers on the letters. Church
letterhead is fine but keep in mind, the church may be contacted by the
inmate if they provide that info so be forewarned.
Children are also encouraged to
provide Agape! The impact of a love letter from an innocent child on
these men is mind boggling! A simple crayon or marker drawing on a folded
piece of construction paper is priceless. Many of these men have children of
their own whom they rarely see or receive letters from. Children may sign
their first name ONLY and may also give their age and/or grade.
DO NOT put the child's church name
or use the child's last name. There should be no way the child may be traced