The Colossian Way
A Special Grant-Funded Opportunity for NCCUMC Churches
What Is The Colossian Way?
The Colossian Way is a small group curriculum that structures conversations about polarizing subjects while building community and connecting with one another in Christ’s love. Groups are led either by two laity (or one pastor and one layperson) who are trained and equipped to encourage healthy conversation.
Framed by scripture and prayer, the program helps expose participants to various perspectives through video interviews and includes time to share personal stories in order to facilitate strengthened relationships and to help us see each other as part of the body of Christ.
Three different topics are offered, and churches choose the topic of greatest relevance for their congregation for the 10-week study. Churches and facilitators can choose their particular topic after completing the online training if they are not yet sure which is the best fit.
Special Opportunity for NCCUMC Churches
The North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church has received a grant from the Intentional Growth Center to support 40 churches who would like to implement this program in their congregation. In addition, The Duke Endowment (TDE) has offered funding to support 30 of these churches with an additional grant to bring the church’s contribution down to $45. If you choose to participate through this opportunity, here is what you can expect.
What We Offer:
- Two leaders will have free access to online, self-paced training (90-120 minute time commitment; $160 value)
- Three live, one-hour Zoom meetings with The Colossian Way staff to answer questions and help churches problem solve any challenges along the way; these are scheduled for August 4, September 8, and October 6 at 12pm EST, and will be recorded for anyone who misses the live session.
- $100 paid toward the purchase of curriculum for your church, with the option of an additional $150 toward curriculum if you request a TDE scholarship
What You Commit:
- A commitment to purchase the curriculum for your church (your price will be $195 total, or $45 if you receive a TDE scholarship)
- A commitment to lead at least one 10-week class with 2 facilitators and (up to) 10 participants using The Colossian Way material this fall (see suggested schedule)
The Colossian Way offers a faithful way forward for churches stuck in unresolved conflict over important social and cultural issues. Their theologically and scripturally sound program teaches Christians how to have thoughtful, courageous conversations when the stakes are high.
– Rev. Molly Shivers, Director of Conflict Transformation, NCCUMC
Those who are trained to lead the groups will gain:
- The ability to lead a small group effectively
- Listening skills
- Communication skills
- A better understanding of discipleship
- Confidence to guide tough conversations about divisive topics
Trained facilitators will help their small groups gain:
- Knowledge about people who are different than they are
- New ways to talk about differences
- Ability to better understand concepts such as anger in the Christian life, lament, confession, and how to be in Christian relationship with those who disagree
- A greater tolerance of others’ viewpoints
- A better understanding of their roles as disciples who can accept and love those in the church and community
Our Church participated in “The Colossian Way: Political Talk” last fall. Our group of around 13 included people of very different ideological and political persuasions. Despite the sometimes stark differences, we discovered new ways to engage hard topics with grace, core Christian values, and shared practices that strengthened our spiritual friendships and broadened each participant’s understanding. We especially found the personal storytelling and sharing practice to be a key way to “thicken” narratives in a world where too many “flatten” stories and personalities into “good” vs. “evil” and “us” vs. “them.”
– Rev. Kevin Baker, Swansboro UMC, New Bern, NC
Meet Monica Risch, Colossian Way Guru and Presenter for our Live Zoom Workshops
The Colossian Forum
Events and Programming Director
Monica thrives in places filled with genuine connection, bulleted lists, and warm hospitality. She believes there is beauty and power in creating a space for people to engage in meaningful discussion and that is precisely how she serves TCF’s mission. Monica earned her BA in Strategic Communication from Cornerstone University and has experience in event planning, banking, and organizational management. In her spare time, you’ll catch her playing board games with friends, sipping a sweet latte, and coordinating weddings.