Brookside Community Reentry was created out of a need to serve the high number of individuals that reenter society from the criminal justice system each year. Our mission is to help previously incarcerated men and women overcome barriers to their reentry within the context of Christian community. One of the ways that we obtain this goal is through our Bridge Coach program. Participation in Bridge Coaching is completely voluntary but given to individuals who are committed to walking out life in community and transparency.
Mike Griffin has lived in Indianapolis all of his life. After high school, he got a degree as a culinary chef. Mike got serious about his walk with Christ after his first son was born. At that point, Mike realized that it was time to grow up but he didn’t know where to begin or how to be a father.Mike’s recollection of his father was that the pressures of providing for the family financially made it difficult for his father to connect emotionally. In 2007, Mike went to Zion Hope Baptist Church and Fathers and Family Center, which marked the beginning of learning how to be a father through God.
Mike Griffin started coming to Brookside Community Reentry in November of 2017. As a resident of the Duvall Residential Center, Mike heard about Reentry through a colleague. Duvall Residential Center is a facility that houses non-violent males who are serving Work Release sentences. Brookside CDC has a close relationship with Duvall and provides transportation between their residential center and Brookside Community Church. Mike felt at home on the first night that he came to Bridge Worship service. “[Brookside Community Reentry] is all about relationship building with Christ and not just another self-help group”, says Mike.
Brookside leaders began to see a transformation in Mike’s life and recognized his commitment to walking out life in gospel-seeking community. That’s when Mike was introduced to his Bridge Coach, Ben Ramseier. Ben has been involved with Reentry ever since he moved to Indianapolis in 2017. The role of a Bridge Coach is to disciple and walk out life with people reentering society. However, Mike and Ben have a relationship that allows for them to pour into each other’s lives. God showed Ben that there’s no difference between him and a convict when it comes to sin. Mike and Ben grew up in completely different environments, but God has created a friendship that will last a lifetime. “Through the Holy Spirit, we can teach each other life lessons”, says Ben.
Brookside Community Reentry doesn’t just aim to provide resources for previously incarcerated men and women, our goal is to transform lives by making followers of Jesus. Resources will come and go but a life with Jesus is eternal. Mike Griffin couldn’t agree more. “I don’t like going to places that just give you stuff and send you on your way. At the Bridge Worship Service, you’ll get help and the things that you need but you have to work for it. It creates dignity. It makes you value what you have been given”, says Mike. That’s the power of gospel-centered relationships.