​Conflict is Opportunity | Michael Gulker
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Quickfacts
Grant Title:
​Conflict as Opportunity for Cultivating Virtue: Launching The Colossian Way
Legal Organization:
The Colossian Forum
Project Dates:
Start Date: 01 April 2017
End Date: 31 March 2020
Grant Amount:
$1,701,841

What if conflict and controversy could be transformed into opportunity? What if division and strife could foster unity and spiritual growth? What if we could approach divisive political, social and cultural problems without trying to win converts? What if we come together in love rather than stand divided in anger?

About Conflict as Opportunity for Cultivating Virtue

The Colossian Forum is building the fourth phase of its program, “The Colossian Way,” which will launch nationally and extend from Christian church communities into Christian schools as well. This program helps people engage in difficult, divisive topics in ways that prompt connectedness and spiritual growth. The Colossian Way offers leadership training, tools and curriculum designed for group experiences where participants approach controversial topics thoughtfully and spiritually within a structure that includes prayer and worship.

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Can We Find Common Ground?

If you scan your news app and social media feeds, you will quickly see the many persistent and divisive topics that surround us. We try to avoid them. We sometimes argue about them. And, lately, it seems we have become so divided that we’ve simply given up trying to find common ground. The reality is that the impact of these difficult issues damages relationships and divides communities. Even our faith communities – the very spaces where we have traditionally come together – are struggling for new ways to engage. 

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Bringing Divided Communities Together

Funded by Templeton Religion Trust, The Colossian Forum is working to transform conflict into opportunity for unity and spiritual growth rather than division and strife. The Colossian Forum has looked deeply at some of the most difficult and persistent controversies and conflicts of our time, and put them at the heart of their program called “The Colossian Way.” It is a set of curriculum, coupled with leadership training, which offers a framework to help people gather around these hard problems. It draws on intellectual scholarship, blending that with traditional Christian practices, centering on love of God and love of neighbor.

The first three phases of this project included six years of research, testing, and refinement, and have already helped several Christian communities to talk about difficult topics in a way that cultivates virtues.

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Growing The Colossian Way

The fourth (current) phase of the project will launch The Colossian Way nationally, empowering groups of diverse ages and opinions, in hundreds of U.S. Christian churches and schools, to transform cultural pressures into opportunities for hope, imagination and growth. This national launch will include:

Leader’s Network 
Three expert trainers, 20 coaches and 200 program leaders will guide 1,200+ individuals through The Colossian Way experience. 

National Marketing 
This network will be marketed to U.S. churches through social media, websites, videos, stories of hope and two national conferences. Expanded outreach will also include Christian high school and college associations (ACSI and CCCU).

Revised Curricula
The fully revised curriculum will address topics of Origins, Sexuality and Politics. Revised materials will include manuals for leaders, coaches and trainers, eBooks to offer additional background information to leaders, six “easy entry” publications inviting further participation and training support videos.

Evaluation Process
Evaluation and continuous improvement processes will be used to measure program impact and inform ongoing improvement.

Long-Term Support
A dynamic funding plan will be implemented to support long-term organizational health and growth.

 

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