Redemptive Agents: The Colson Fellows
One of the distinct things about the Colson Fellows program is how many different strands of worldview and life are brought together and how desperately needed that is today in such a fragmented society.
John StonestreetKasey Leander
Welcome to Breakpoint, a daily look at an ever-changing culture through the lens of unchanging truth. For the Colson Center, I’m John Stonestreet.
In the words of British missionary-theologian Lesslie Newbigin, the calling of Christians is “to live in the kingdom of God in such a way that it provokes questions for which the gospel is the answer.”
That certainly has implications for the work, ministry, and mission of the Colson Center. For example, the goal of this program, Breakpoint, is to help Christians think carefully about current events, not being thrown off guard by a swirling culture. But the truth is that commentary is only helpful if it actually helps Christians live out their faith in every walk of life in this cultural moment. Producing a commentary saying something clever about the culture is not the front lines. Instead, every Christian lives on the front lines as they seek to be faithful to the calling of God in their lives wherever He has placed them. We need biblical and cultural literacy so that our beliefs are orthodox, but we also need to be about orthopraxy, applying the answers of Scripture to the rigors of actual life.
The Colson Fellows program is a tool designed to help believers do just that. Over the course of 10 months, Colson Fellows meet in regional cohorts. They read through essential books on Christian worldview and culture and receive teaching through commentary and videos. And they do all this in communities, communities where together they imagine the possibilities of what God might be calling them to in their time and place. This year, God has brought over 1,200 Colson Fellows to study together from pastors to CEOs to entrepreneurs, moms, dads, grandparents, pilots, politicians, lawyers, artists, teachers, and everything in between.
These Colson Fellows study in cohorts in 60 different cities and over 45 different churches. And many of the several thousand alumni of the Colson Fellows have stories worth highlighting.
For example, Drew Johnson: Running a recruiting firm meant grappling with the biblical idea of work as a front and center concern of how he can integrate his faith and daily life. He put it this way: “I deal with people and their careers all day in the recruiting industry.” And what he wants to do, as he continued, is to help clients see:
that they are selling more than just their product and service, they’re selling opportunities to work. And if you don’t recognize the goodness in that work, you can often elevate certain positions above others, and kind of demote certain positions depending on how much they get paid, what they’re doing every day …. [but] the reality is all of it is good.
That fundamental truth of a Christian worldview is especially important in a culture like ours, one that has so quickly grown cynical about work’s purpose. Drew’s perspective reminds us of God’s original vision: that He created the world to be workable, and He created humans in His image in order to work it in a way that brings glory to Him. External markers—promotion, salary, self-fulfillment—are all secondary to the fact that work itself was created good.
Then, there’s Sarah Tuch, who’s a videographer out of Boone, North Carolina. For her, a powerful takeaway from her time in the Colson Fellows program is the idea of daily faithfulness. Specifically, in the words of Dr. Bill Brown, the dean of the Colson Fellows program, this means that “a good Christian life is made up of good Christian days.” Here’s how Sarah put it:
Today is one more day, but it’s also one less day. Where before the Colson Fellows program, it might have been easier to step back and not engage on something that I hadn’t [previously] studied, I now have a framework from which to approach conversation and approach thought. But I’m also challenged to engage because I have today. I’m called and created for today, saved for today, and I can be faithful as an agent of redemption.
And of course, a vital part of living that life of redemption today is pressing, contentious conversations.
Brian Eckly, a commercial airline pilot based out of Phoenix, was so influenced by his cohort’s discussion of sexuality that he decided to host a series on the topic for his men’s small group. As he put it, “What I found was that all of them had been impacted by that subject but did not know as Christians how to deal with it.” Brian wanted his church to be a place where the truth of Scripture was put into practice, creating an atmosphere where people could combine biblical truth with love and compassion and bring struggles to light instead of hiding them or celebrating them.
One of the distinct characteristics about the Colson Fellows program is how many different strands of worldview and life are brought together and how desperately needed that integration is today in such a fragmented society. We have to learn to not only to think and say what is true but live what is true, combining orthodoxy and orthopraxy. We need to do this in community with our brothers and sisters in the Church.
There are so many more stories of Colson Fellows’ alumni I could share. If you’re interested in joining a Colson Fellows cohort near you, visit colsonfellows.org. To hear more stories about these Fellows, look for a bonus episode of the Breakpoint podcast to drop in the next few days. If the ministry of the Colson Center has helped you gain clarity, confidence, and courage in your life, would you prayerfully consider a gift today to continue the work, supporting products and programs like the Colson Fellows?
You can give at breakpoint.org/september. We look forward to hearing how God is using you in this cultural time and place.
Today’s Breakpoint was coauthored by Kasey Leander. For more resources to live like a Christian in this cultural moment, go to colsoncenter.org.
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