Stephen Barbee: Inspirational Preacher
Incarcerate US Podcast Host Dant’e Cottingham Interviews Shenandoah Chefalo Author, from behind Prison walls. Dant’e is America’s 1st and Only Incarcerated Podcast Host.
About Stephen Barbee
Stephen’s earlier years were filled with promises. He was raised up in a Christian home which wasn’t easy; however, Pastor Leo Barbee Jr. and Juanita Anne were Godly parents and role models.
Stephen was a standout football player at Lawrence High School in Lawrence, Kansas, graduating in 1982. He went on to earn All-American honors as a running back at Highland Community College in Highland, Kansas. He led junior colleges in all purpose yards in the 1984 season averaging 177 yards per game. In 1985, Stephen attended Peru State College in Peru, Nebraska; played football and baseball for the school.
He returned to live in Lawrence, Kansas, for a couple of years serving as an assistant football coach at
what was formally known as Haskell Indian Junior College. The team’s record was 6 and 4 in 1988. Later that year, he moved to Chicago to pursue a love interest that eventually fizzled
The Later Years
In 1997, he became the first African American to serve as Men’s Director at the Pacific Garden Mission where he had once stayed; he held the job for two years. After that he worked for Featherfist Inc. in Chicago for one and one-half years assisting homeless clients. After several months, Stephen transferred his studies from Moody Bible Institute to Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication in 1999.
In July 2000, he separated from his wife; she left Chicago and took the children with her to St. Louis, Missouri. This separation affected Stephen with a relapse in his substance abuse problem. He found himself homeless again staying in shelters in Des Moines, Iowa and Hammond Indiana.
Road to Incarceration
In July 2001,Stephen returned to Lawrence for what he thought would be a brief visit. Still struggling with his drug and alcohol addiction, he floated from job to job and relationship to relationship. During the summer of 2005, he was still under the influence on a daily basis not knowing one of his drug locations was under federal surveillance. Twice during the month of July, he was seen at this location.
On December 21, 2007, while at work in Topeka, Kansas, two detectives came to his place of employment with a warrant for his arrest. His original charge was 10 years to life for distribution of 5-kilo of crack cocaine. On this day, he was released on a $25,000 signature bond. In May 2008, his bond was revoked because of Stephen’s continual use of drugs while out and having several dirty UA’s. He was transported to Community Correction of America (a federal detention center for federal inmates) in Leavenworth, Kansas.
On August 29, 2009, he was sentenced to 70 months in the Bureau of Prisons. While there, God began a new work in Stephen’s life. In December of 1991, he was licensed for the Gospel Ministry; September 1997, he was ordained for the Gospel Ministry. As part of his incarceration, he was assigned a work detail. They placed him in religious services/chapel. God showed Stephen that he was restored. He was able to use his spiritual gifts while in prison. He also applied to be accepted in the BOP-RDAP program. This was a 500 hour intensive drug program; if completed successfully, he would be granted an early release.
Road back Home
On January 18, 2012, he was released from prison after serving 44 months. When God restores, He restores because Stephen’s first place of employment was City Union Mission in Kansas City, Missouri, 73 days after his release.
God has truly opened doors for Stephen since his release from prison. He has served at City Union Mission, Restart Inc., Grace United Community Ministries, Metro Lutheran Ministry and Second Chance Program. At Metro Lutheran Ministry, Stephen was a program coordinator. He played an important role with their re-entry program. He understood those whom he served because of his struggles with drugs, alcohol and imprisonment.