Colossian Blog
April 19, 2017 | Jennifer Vander Molen

TCF Welcomes Jan Stump as our new Director of Development

The Colossian Forum is thrilled to welcome Jan Stump to our staff as our new Director of Development. Jan is continuing a 30-year vocation of advancing the missions of nonprofit organizations through fund development. Most recently she served as Executive Director of the ACSI Education Foundation, a supporting organization for the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), Colorado Springs, CO. Prior to that she served for ten years as ACSI’s Director of Development and Public Relations and for twelve years as Director of Development at Grace Christian School in Anchorage, AK.

Over the years, she has had the privilege of training and mentoring hundreds of school leaders worldwide in fund development and student enrollment. Fueling her work is a passion to better understand what it means to educate students with the mind of Christ, embodying the love of Christ within their classroom experience and beyond. The mission of The Colossian Forum resonated deeply with her desire to see Christian schools increasingly adopt a winsome posture in the world—a posture of generosity, curiosity, and grace. In 2016 Jan joined TCF’s Board of Directors and was soon drawn to this exciting opportunity of partnering with the team in furthering TCF’s transformative vision.

Jan received her bachelor’s degree from Seattle Pacific University before moving to a remote Indian village in Alaska where her husband, Don, taught all elementary grades in a one-room school. She earned a master’s degree in literature from the University of Alaska Anchorage, focusing on postmodern contemporary fiction. She has maintained continuous recognition as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) since 2001.

Don and Jan have three sons, three daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. She reads widely, enjoys long walks and treasures the blessed and beautiful monotony of hand quilting. Jan will be based in Colorado Springs, with significant time spent with TCF staff both virtually and in person. You can reach her at jstump@colossianforum.org. Welcome, Jan!

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July 26, 2017 | Jennifer Vander Molen
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When we onboard new staff and interns, they are tasked to spend time with everyone on the TCF team and get to know them both personally and professionally. Our intern Rebecca Murdock saw her time with Rob Barrett, our Director of Forums and Scholarship, through her writers' lens. We think (and hope) you'll enjoy this insight into Rob and his work here at TCF. It’s late afternoon on a Monday, and I’ve snagged some time with Rob Barrett between his responsibilities editing curriculum and working on a video shoot for the next Colossian Way training session. Despite being surrounded by paperwork, he seems upbeat, making occasional quips about the hurdles he’s facing. When I ask him why he’s here at The Colossian Forum, he smiles. “For some reason, I’m drawn to projects that others see as impossible,” he says chuckling. His work history shows that to be more than a good-natured joke. From working as a research scientist for IBM in Silicon Valley, to teaching Old Testament and Hebrew in England, to his work as a postdoctoral researcher in Göttingen, Germany, he relishes tackling difficult questions and teaching others to do the same. He first heard of The Colossian Forum when his friend sent him a job advertisement in Germany and encouraged him to apply. “Why in the world he thought of me, I wasn’t sure initially,” Rob says, explaining that he was content with his research job at the time. But his friend insisted that since Rob was involved in both communities of faith and science, he would be ideal for The Colossian Forum’s training on human origins. Out of curiosity, Rob contacted Michael Gulker, the president of TCF, and quickly found a great conversation partner regarding topics of theology, philosophy, and the future of the church. “I had always been interested in discipleship and helping build up the laity to do the work of ministry,” Rob says. “The Colossian Forum provided some of the much-needed tools for laity to be able to do that and I was intrigued.” From his younger days in church, Rob remembers being impressed by a quiet man who used to sit in the next pew over. He was active in church and, though he didn’t say much, had a lot of influence in the church community. Sometimes, the man wasn’t sure how to lead, and didn’t have any formal training, but Rob was impressed by his commitment to live faithfully and continue to serve in his corner. “When I think about the curriculum we build at The Colossian Forum, that’s the kind of person I picture us helping,” Rob says. “Lay people who are willing to serve and influence the community, but who just could use some more tools to do so.” When asked what his dream would be for the future of TCF, Rob stops to think a minute. “I think the best future would be that we are not needed anymore. That scholars and church members would naturally take up this mode of discipleship when discussing difficult things without needing our framework. “While I think we can be useful to providing the identity and vision needed in the short term, I hope that one day, a community of practice can form in Christian churches and do this better than we ever imagined.”
TCF Welcomes Student Intern Rebecca Murdock
July 5, 2017 | Jennifer Vander Molen
TCF Welcomes Student Intern Rebecca Murdock
TCF welcomes Rebecca Murdock to a one-year student internship, which begins this summer. Rebecca is studying The Colossian Way for her master’s thesis, and also participating in research projects for The Colossian Forum. She is originally from Loma Linda, CA, but grew up in Puerto Rico, Michigan, and Massachusetts as a pastor/professor’s kid. Fed up with snowy winters in Massachusetts, she returned to her old California neighborhood and completed a bachelor’s degree in Communication, Public Relations & Advertising from La Sierra University in Riverside, CA. After graduation, she spent several years doing marketing and recruiting for her alma mater before her interest in theology began to take center stage. Around the same time, she and her fiancée, J. (James) Murdock, were married and moved to Boulder, CO. J. began work as an associate pastor for the Seventh-day Adventist church in Boulder and Rebecca focused on the formation of young adult church groups in the area. After one year getting settled in Boulder, J. was sponsored to complete his Master of Divinity at Andrews University's Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, MI, and the couple transferred to cooler climates. Rebecca also began her master’s at Andrews Seminary, and is currently completing a Master of Arts in Theological Studies. Some of her passions include listening to eclectic music, traveling, learning languages, talking about gender communication, and dreaming up what church looks like for the next generation. She is currently part of a student group to better Christian-Muslim relations in Michigan, and is interested in helping those on seemingly opposite ends of a spectrum find common ground. She and J. hope to start a family one day, but currently might adopt a kitten in the near future. Welcome, Rebecca!