In a time of deep division between Christians in areas of faith and culture, The Colossian Forum exists as a sign of hope. We take our name and inspiration from the Apostle Paul’s proclamation in Colossians 1:17: All things hold together in Christ. Since 2011, The Colossian Forum reclaims, shares, and practices this liberating truth with Christians who are divided.
Mission + Vision The church around us is shrinking, its positive contribution to the wider culture is in decline, and young people are increasingly disinterested in church. Why? It is, at least in part, because in the face of today’s messiest cultural conflicts the church doesn’t “smell like Jesus.”
Our mission is to equip leaders to transform messy cultural conflicts into opportunities for spiritual growth and witness.
Our vision is of a Christian community that behaves like Christ, especially in the face of conflict.
Our Story Christians Stink at Conflict
It’s no secret that Christians rarely model Christ well when it comes to conflict. Sticky cultural issues pit us against each other, with strong emotions and convictions on both sides. Zeal for the truth often leads to verbal attacks and tarnished reputations, repelling people inside and outside the church. Why is this so hard? How can we better navigate these messy situations and create a more beautiful church that acts Christian?
Our “A-ha” Moment
While running hundreds of forums across the country, our “a-ha” moment came when we repeatedly found that believers have no shortage of information
, but lack formation
. We saw that to engage conflict productively, we need to become a different kind of people to both see the problem well and engage it effectively.
We turned that insight and focus on formation into The Colossian Way experience.
Inside The Colossian Way small groups, each community centers a divisive issue within tradition-specific practices (things like prayer, confession, and lament). This helps to restore a common vision of discipleship and flourishing. At the same time, these ancient practices cultivate virtues (things like humility, empathy, patience, and gratitude) to pursue that vision.
While disagreement about the issue might continue, our communities become less about the issue itself. They become more of a meeting place for recovering a community’s traditional and shared vision of life together in Christ. This place of worship utilizes shared Christian practices. In doing so, it cultivates the virtues we need to face a variety of messy situations in ways that deepen our love of one another and our delight in God.
We see it work firsthand. The Holy Spirit transforms anger and fear over divisive issues. Our Colossian Way process leads to opportunities for living out our faith in more loving, truthful, and attractive ways.
Our tool for equipping the church in the arena of conflict is The Colossian Way
. More than a curriculum, The Colossian Way is an experience
that equips the local church to become a change agent when facing challenging issues. In exploring thorny topics, leaders and participants learn how to hold truth and love together while developing practices and virtues. Each gathering time is structured with prayer, deep engagement, and reflection.
The Colossian Way works alongside our forums, books, conferences, and resources to help The Colossian Forum change the way Christian communities view, approach, and engage challenging issues. Join us as we transform threats into opportunities for lifelong discipleship and intergenerational witness.
These seven life-giving commitments shape and guide our work at The Colossian Forum:
|Jesus||Since Jesus is Lord, we can be a people of sacrificial love and faith, not fear|
|Church||The Body of Christ belongs together as a people of worship and hope|
|Generations||Old and young build each other up by walking and talking together in faith|
|Conflict||We accept divisive cultural issues as catalysts for faithfulness|
|Obedience||Love of God and neighbor, especially when things get hard|
|Formation||Christ is making us into the people he longs for us to be|
|Evangelism||Share the good news of the gospel’s power today—especially in the midst of conflict|
More about what we’re working on: The Colossian Way, a faith and science teaching resource, forums, Respectful Conversations, and our books.