The Colossian Way
A Special Grant-Funded Opportunity for SE Jurisdiction UMC Churches
These North Carolina Conference congregations have already gotten started with Colossian Way programs…
- Bethel UMC
- Bethel-Locust Hill Charge
- Bynum UMC
- Camp UMC
- CityWell UMC
- Englewood UMC
- Faith Harbor UMC
- First UMC (Elon)
- First UMC (Graham)
- First UMC (Washington)
- Flat Rock UMC
- Fletcher’s Chapel – St. Peter Charge
- Fuquay Varina UMC
- Gibson UMC
- Harbor District Anti-Racism Team
- Hay Street UMC
- Hayes Barton UMC
- Hillsborough UMC
- Lea’s Chapel UMC
- North Raleigh UMC
- Oxford UMC
- Prospect UMC
- Seaside UMC
- St. Francis UMC
- St. James UMC (Raleigh)
- Soapstone UMC
- Southern Pines UMC
- Spirit & Truth UMC
- St. Paul’s UMC (Carolina Beach)
- Wake Forest UMC
See what they’re saying.
What do our current Colossian Way facilitators have to say about their experience?
We live in a world where people say what they want, but this program is building our muscle for restraint. The goal is not to gain a consensus, but to listen to stories as a means of grace.
The problem isn’t when we argue. It’s when we don’t talk. If you’re arguing, there is a pulse. If you aren’t talking, there is no pulse.
Bill NegronHarbor District
We have enjoyed the process and feel we are growing in our ability to navigate through conflict in Christ-like ways.
David WoodhouseHay Street UMC
We are beginning our session 6 and really feeling more grounded. People are vigorously talking and several have mentioned using the concepts in their daily lives.
Gail WidholmHarbor District
We are a diverse group who don’t agree on all the issues, but we all do agree that this has been a wonderful and meaningful experience. It has taught us how to discuss difficult and emotional issues in an open and loving way.
Thank you so much for introducing us to The Colossian Way. We plan to offer additional groups after the new year.
Tommy SweeleySouthern Pines UMC
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.
Four 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.
- Political Talk (download sample)
- Sexuality (download sample)
- Origins (download sample)
- Women & Men (download sample) – new, released November 1, 2021
Special Opportunity for SE Jurisdiction UMC Churches
The North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church has received a grant from the Intentional Growth Center to support 40 SE Jurisdiction UMC congregations who would like to implement this program in their church. Paired with a separate grant from the Duke Endowment, we are able to offer our 18 congregations in 2022 the opportunity to purchase training and curriculum to host a Colossian Way small group for only $70 (a $488 value). 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);
- Access to three recorded, one-hour Zoom meetings that The Colossian Way staff with facilitated for NCCUMC churches and facilitators who ran the program in the fall of 2021;
- $225 paid toward the purchase of curriculum for your church, bringing your contribution down to just $70 for the full package (including workbooks for 2 facilitators + 10 participants).
What You Commit:
- A commitment to purchase the curriculum for your church (your price is $70 total for the whole experience);
- A commitment to lead at least one 10-week class with 2 facilitators and (up to) 10 participants using The Colossian Way material in 2022.
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
Basic Timeline and Schedule for Participating Churches
- Tell us you are interested! We will reach out to you coordinate payment and to walk you through the next steps.
- Identify two facilitators to lead the group. The ideal facilitator is someone who is spiritually mature, listens well, and has the capacity to put themselves into someone else’s shoes. Pastors can serve as facilitators, but the Colossian Forum recommends two laity partner to facilitate each group.
- Complete the online facilitator training (2 hours). We will send you a code to access the training. You should not purchase it through the Colossian Forum website.
- Choose your curriculum. The online training will help you choose the topic that suits your context best. We are also happy to discuss your choice with you. We will send you a code to request the curriculum. You should not purchase it through the Colossian Forum website.
- Gather your group and get started. Gather up to 10 participants to join your group and map out your schedule (10 sessions, usually meeting once per week with breaks as needed). The online training will offer suggestions for how to form your group.
We look forward to walking alongside you and we are excited to hear the stories of transformation that emerge from your groups!
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
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
Meet Our Colossian Forum Presenters
The Colossian Forum provided three personalized Zoom workshops just for NCCUMC facilitators. The recordings are available for anyone who signs up to lead a group. In addition, Monica offers a free 20-minute coaching session with all Colossian Way facilitators. Expect to hear from her directly once you’ve ordered your training and curriculum!
The Colossian Forum
Events and Programming Coordinator
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.
The Colossian Forum
Vice President of Partnerships
With his Bachelor’s in Marketing and Business from Central Michigan University 2009 and his Master’s of Divinity from Moody Theological Seminary in 2016, Kevin has a wide range of ministry and business experience. He started a digital marketing company in 2011, then transitioned into a Director of Pastoral Care role in 2012. In 2017, he became the Director of Marketing for Trauma Based Christian Parenting and, most recently, was a co-pastor for a growing church plant in the heart of New York City. Kevin’s knowledge and experience of being a pastor in the midst of one the most diverse places on earth has given him extensive experience with conflict. He is passionate about utilizing the knowledge gained from his marketing and pastoring experience to bring the transformative power of The Colossian Forum to as many organizations that he can. Kevin and his wife Tiahna currently reside in Traverse City, Michigan – the best place on earth