Personal But Not Private

Christianity is to be lived courageously outward facing for this time and place. 


John Stonestreet

S. Michael Craven

Chuck Colson often said, “Christianity is more than a relationship with Jesus.” It isn’t less than that, to be sure. While one of the greatest things about God’s posture toward us is that He relates with us personally (loving, forgiving, and leading), Christianity is not private. It makes claims about all of reality, most notably that Christ is Lord of all. Christianity cannot be reduced to a therapeutic or pragmatic formula. It is to be lived publicly, as followers of Christ proclaim that He is Lord over all of reality. 

Chuck Colson founded the Colson Center to help Christians cultivate a robust, comprehensive Christian worldview so that the challenges of this cultural moment can be understood and engaged from the bigger story of reality described in Scripture. One way we do this is through the Colson Fellows program, where trainees learn to take their place in this story through biblically grounded cultural analysis, discerning how to live with Christian wisdom and courageous faith, with the goal to effectively advance the Kingdom in their communities. 

I asked Michael Craven, Vice President of Equipping and Mobilization at the Colson Center, to describe what the Fellows program is like:  

It’s a 10-month program, begins July 1 every year. It concludes in May of each following year. Students are led through a very carefully curated curriculum that they access through an online learning management system. So, every day they’re logging in, they have assignments, they complete those assignments. The next morning, they wake up and they’ve got new assignments. And then they’re meeting in a monthly cohort with fellow learners, and they’re discussing what they’re learning, what they’re reading, what they’re viewing. They’re assigned about 13 to 14 books to read over the course of these 10 months. …  

At the end of that 10-month program, they don’t graduate. They receive a commission as a Colson Fellow, and that is very deliberate because the program does not end. It is a commencement. It is a beginning. The goal is to send you out on mission with a deeper understanding of the times in which we live, and how you can live faithfully in those times. 

During the 10-month program, in a community-based learning environment, Colson Fellows cover a lot of ground. Again, here’s Michael Craven: 

We want to talk about the things that are confronting us in such a[n] overwhelming and seemingly virulent manner at times, such as the controversy and confusion over gender identity. The controversy and confusion over human sexuality: What is right, what is wrong, what is moral, what is good, why is it good, or why is it wrong? We want to talk about marriage—God’s design for marriage and why it is not just a moral good, but it is a real social good, a real cultural good, and what are the fruits of those goods? We need to understand Critical Theory, Critical Race Theory.  

We are living in a nation that is probably as divided as it has ever been. … So, we need to understand these things. And that’s what a worldview helps us do: It helps us discern. That’s what wisdom is: It’s discernment, to discern what is true, what is good, and what is beautiful. That’s the goal of a Christian worldview: to give you that analytical ability that you can look at an issue and ascertain accurately from a biblical perspective, what is true, what is good, and what is beautiful. 

Colson Fellows are motivated to go deeper in their faith, and make a difference in the world around them:  

I think most of the people that come to us do so because they are deeply and rightly concerned about what they see happening in the world and to our culture. I have a great deal of respect for that. And so, the Lord has prompted them to seek some understanding that will help them navigate these tumultuous cultural torrents. …  

So today, our student population includes homeschool moms. It includes CEOs. It includes university presidents. It includes business owners. It includes students, 20-somethings, retirees, and everything in between. And it is one of the most beautiful things to watch this diverse group of people, men and women, young and old, of every different vocation and calling, gathering together and studying the same thing, and bringing all of these perspectives and questions to the same table. It’s an amazing thing to behold. 

Applications will close in a few days, on June 30. If you were contemplating joining the Colson Fellows, now is the time to act. Go to 

For more resources to live like a Christian in this cultural moment, go to 

This Breakpoint was first released 2.8.2024. 


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