Colossian Blog

Displaying all posts tagged "The Colossian Way".
New Job Opportunities at TCF
March 15, 2017 | Jennifer Vander Molen
New Job Opportunities at TCF
We have two opportunities to join our team here at The Colossian Forum. One is a full-time position as a Manager of Church Partnerships and Care, and the other is a part-time, paid Library Intern. Manager of Church Partnerships and Care The key components of this position include: Expanding TCF’s network of church partners. Providing nurturing leadership in the formation of The Colossian Way (TCW) leaders. Designing, implementing, and leading the TCW Community of Practice. Ensuring TCF understands and exceeds our customer’s requirements and needs. You can read more about the responsibilities, qualifications, and how to apply on our jobs page. Special Library Intern This internship will focus on the development of special libraries for two non-profit organizations (TCF and Issachar Fund). The intern will work with staff from the two organizations to identify a viable Integrated Library System for our collections, procure the Integrated Library System and create the Integrated Library System’s base structure to meet the needs of the organizations, establish an intake and cataloging process for all new materials purchased by the organizations, train staff in use of the Integrated Library System and intake/cataloging process, and determine means for processing and loading currently owned materials into the Integrated Library System. You can read more about the responsibilities, qualifications, and how to apply on our jobs page.
Leaning Into the Messy Togetherness
March 8, 2017 | Michael Gulker
Leaning Into the Messy Togetherness
During our second pilot of The Colossian Way, I’ve had the unique privilege of participating in one group, leading another, and coaching leaders of two other groups. I relish this time with fellow believers and participants in The Colossian Way. In one session, we opened with a reflection on Ephesians 4.After describing all Christ has done for us in the preceding chapters, Paul urges us in this chapter to live worthy of our calling by taking up humility, gentleness, patience, and forbearance in order to maintain our unity. Our group discussed these virtues fruitfully and then committed to practice them together. Soon after, we watched a video on the sexuality topic which voiced a viewpoint completely opposite to some of our participants. One member of the group took offense. She was frustrated with the viewpoint, felt it as an attack, and understandably wanted some time to process and respond. My temperature immediately went up. Couldn’t this group member listen to the speaker rather than attack? What about our recent commitment to express humility, gentleness, patience, and forbearance? Like a protective parent, I immediately rushed to the defense of The Colossian Way program. In my hasty approach, I displayed none of the fruit of the Spirit we had just discussed. Fortunately for me, the leaders of the group had cooler heads, and they diffused the situation by gently asking questions: “Do we need to decide if he’s right or wrong? Or can we just try to hear him? Do we need to defend him or argue against him? What might humility, gentleness, patience, and forbearance look like for us here tonight, together?” Talk about a “come to Jesus” moment. This is why we can’t do this alone. Yet, I fear that most participants entering The Colossian Way will look to avoid the messy togetherness. Instead, they will begin the experience with the false expectation they’re going to delve deeply into the mysteries of human sexuality and scriptural interpretation, and argue their way through to a commonly held answer. But fully engaging a topic as complex as sexual identity in ten weeks is a fantasy that will derail what’s supposed to be happening: growing a Christian community that acts like Christ in the midst of tough cultural conflicts. Then again, my own fears about how the program might fail may also derail what’s supposed to be happening! There are many ways we can fail in these conversations. But in the very act of joining together and bumping up against each other’s folly, every failure has the potential to be a moment of grace, a moment of insight, a moment to encounter God’s reconciling power and love for us right in the middle of our muddle. I am so grateful for those wise souls who are able, in that messy middle, to see Jesus and point us to him. What a joy to be with such folks. And as our work moves beyond the pilot phase and launches this May in churches across the country, I yearn to see how God works in others to take up this vision of a Christian community that acts like Christ, especially during these times of conflict and polarization. We might just come to realize how desperately we, and our world, need the other in the midst of community to cultivate the virtues of humility, gentleness, patience, and forbearance. We covet your prayers as we move into this new phase of our mission at The Colossian Forum. This post is excerpted from our March prayer letter. To receive the prayer letter in your inbox, click on the button below. Subscribe! To the monthly prayer letter.
Applications Now Being Accepted for The Colossian Way Experience
March 1, 2017 | Jennifer Vander Molen
Applications Now Being Accepted for The Colossian Way Experience
We’re excited to announce that applications are now being accepted for small groups to engage in The Colossian Way experience. We designed The Colossian Way to help Christians of all ages engage in difficult questions in ways that build up love of God and neighbor. By gathering Christians who disagree, confessing that all things hold together in Christ (Colossians 1:17), bringing our difficulties before God in prayer, listening to varied experts on the topics, attending to Scripture and the resources of the faith, and learning to listen and talk across difference, we can trust the Holy Spirit to transform us into the image of Christ. Training Dates The first step in The Colossian Way experience is a 2½-day leader training retreat, held in Grand Rapids, MI on these dates: Thursday-Saturday, May 18-20, 2017 (sexuality topic only) or Wednesday-Friday, September 20-22, 2017 (sexuality and origins topic) Commitments Churches and leaders who participate in The Colossian Way commit to: Attend the leader training retreat Meet with coaches and other small group leaders during the experience Gather an intergenerational group of 10-12 participants for the small group experience Lead the small group through ten 90-minute meetings over a set schedule Cost Cost for The Colossian Way experience is $1,500 per small group, which includes the leader training retreat (hotel accommodations, meals, and training materials for two leaders), materials (leader and participant guides for the entire small group), The Colossian Way promotional pieces for your church, personal coaching for leaders, and membership in The Colossian Way Community of Practice. How to Apply You can find an online application and more information about The Colossian Way experience here. Be on the lookout for 2018 training retreat dates posted soon on our events page. We can’t wait for you to join us on The Colossian Way!
A New Book: Evolution and the Fall
February 1, 2017 | Christopher R. Brewer
A New Book: Evolution and the Fall
Rooted in communities of practice, we here at The Colossian Forum seek to equip leaders to transform messy cultural conflicts into opportunities for spiritual growth and witness. That said, a variety of resources are needed to equip or train these leaders so that they might be enabled to transform messy cultural conflicts into opportunities for spiritual growth and witness. We recognize that behavioral change takes time, often requiring numerous “touches” before a shift is observed. Moving from the common engagement strategy of competition to one of communion requires imagination––a new image, or series of images––what some have called a “traditioned innovation.” TCF sees publishing as one means to build and support a network of leaders practicing The Colossian Way, bringing value in the following ways: To capture (miracle) stories and learnings so they can be disseminated more widely. To provide mental images or pictures of the move from chaos and competition to conversation and communion. To invite leaders into a deeper contemplation of texts important to TCF’s formation and current ministry. To provide deeper, complementary training tools for The Colossian Way. To support the gathering of small groups willing to face into the fear and confusion that stems from cultural conflict, a concrete attempt to re-imagine faithful practice. Evolution and the Fall We have been working on a number of publishing projects over the course of the past year, and one of these has just been released: Evolution and the Fall, edited by William T. Cavanaugh and James K.A. Smith, and published by Eerdmans. Evolution and the Fall represents the culmination of three years of intense work with some of the church’s brightest theologians, biblical scholars, philosophers, historians, and scientists. The interdisciplinary group wrestled with a wide array of theological tensions resulting from evolutionary science and the doctrine of the Fall. As Christian scholars who take seriously the pressures of both science and faith, their shared goal is the shaping of an intellectual imagination that is “carried” in the practices of Christian worship. Practically, this means that their intellectual work is pursued as an act of service to God and to the church, with prayer and worship framing their questions and influencing the range of possible answers. The concerns of fellow believers are engaged and responded to with the “love pursuing truth” that ought to distinguish us as followers of Christ. Evolution and the Fall is available from the publisher at a 30% discount using the code 1071 at checkout (through May 31, 2017). If you prefer ordering by mail, you can send in this form for the discount.
Finding Our Limits
January 11, 2017 | Michael Gulker
Finding Our Limits
Dear Friends, Many people undertake a practice of reflection during the holidays and in preparation for a new year. In that spirit, I took time to reflect on God’s blessings and provision here at The Colossian Forum over the past year. Perhaps the greatest gift of 2016 is one that came as a surprise: our limits. Not that we’re surprised to have limits, we’re quite aware of them (along with our flaws). No, the surprise was in how the limits themselves became gifts. Of course, limits don’t always feel like gifts, especially in our achievement-crazed culture. Throughout 2016 we kept bumping up against them though: financial limits, time limits, and limits of our abilities. As a creature of our culture, I have to confess these limits often didn’t register as gifts at the time. But as finite creatures of a good God, we can learn to receive limits as gifts meant for our good. For instance, through our limits we learned to depend upon each other as teammates. We had to rely on friends to help us where we couldn’t help ourselves. For example, despite the fact that we didn’t have the financial resources to run the Beyond the Creation Wars conference in October, Andrews University allowed conversation and friendship with our partners Darrel Falk and Todd Wood to continue to unfold. Our friends at Front Range Christian Schools in Littleton, CO are likewise hosting a public conference with Darrel and Todd at the end of this month, again, largely without our help. We also discovered new friends we didn’t know we had because of our limits. Some of these friends helped us take our work in new and exciting directions that we couldn’t have imagined. Others simply took our work and ran with it in new directions without us. We had to let go of control. And in doing so, we found that God is quite capable of running the cosmos even when we’re not at the helm. Go figure . . . We are still facing limits in this new year. The demand for The Colossian Way experience continues to grow and now well exceeds our funding base. How much of that need we are able to meet lies outside our control. Numerous organizations have contacted us desiring to take on and help distribute The Colossian Way. We certainly want to broadly circulate what we’ve learned and are grateful and humbled by these potential partners. Still, we’re not sure if or how those partnerships will happen. But we’re learning to trust that God will continue to provide in unexpected ways. My prayer is that we all grow in our awareness and gratitude for the different ways God’s provision touches our lives and our world. This may even take the form of being thankful for our limits! In this new year, I hope our limits will keep before us the truth that it is God, and not us, who’s doing the work. We truly appreciate all of you who keep supporting The Colossian Forum in your prayers, your volunteering, your gifts, and your limits. This post is excerpted from our January prayer letter. To receive the prayer letter in your inbox, click on the button below. Subscribe! To the monthly prayer letter.
We're Changing What it Looks Like for Christians to Disagree--and It Can Be Beautiful
December 28, 2016 | Michael Gulker
We're Changing What it Looks Like for Christians to Disagree--and It Can Be Beautiful
If you’re like me, you are especially hungry for the peace and goodwill this season promises. It’s been a particularly divisive year, featuring quarrelsome politics, ongoing race wars, and increasingly vocal disagreement across a range of social and economic issues. In families, churches, and society—conflict, fear, and ill abound. More than ever, Christians of all ages and theological positions are caught in disagreements that ought to be opportunities for growth rather than obstacles. Too often our zeal for truth leads to verbal assaults and tarnished reputations. At the family and local church level, this often results in divisions and infighting, which leads to frustration, embarrassment, and uncertainty (especially among millennials and youth). The tough questions alone aren’t harmful, but the unloving behavior displayed at the expense of grace and love certainly can be. The church's brand problem On a large scale, this has created a brand problem for the church: people both inside and outside the church think Christ’s bride has lost her beauty. The church may be right, but she’s no longer attractive. Those outside the church are turned off by words and attitudes that are often less loving and compassionate than those offered by non-Christians. At the same time, those inside the church leave (as confirmed by studies such as Pew's comprehensive study on declining church attendance and the ever-increasing tribe of “nones”). These days, it seems like more people are ducking out the back doors of churches than are coming in the front. How we're helping At The Colossian Forum, we’re pioneering new ways of engaging difficult conversations. The Colossian Way leader training, coaching, and small group resources provide an effective, scalable program that equips pastors and lay leaders to change the way our churches think about and handle challenging issues. Little by little, we’re changing what it looks like for Christians to disagree—and it can be beautiful. It’s only with your support that we can help the church be a place where people are loved collectively, even across difference, rather than judged individually before they walk out the door. Together we can make church a place where every relationship is an opportunity to see Jesus. And I can think of nothing more important for this fragmented world than for it to see Jesus in people like you and me, especially when we disagree. Help us build a church that people run to and not from.