Nearly 4 years ago, I heard Chuck Colson speak for the first time. I was at a large counseling convention and he was one of the plenary speakers. He talked about worldview and promoted a program he was passionate about--the Centurions Program. Chuck had a vision to raise up leaders from around the world who could speak prophetically into the culture at large. Each year, 100 people were selected to go through this rigorous program. I remember thinking to myself, if I ever have a chance to become a Centurion I will do so, but I did not give it much more thought.
In the intervening years, I have began to study apologetics in greater depth. I completed the Ambassador Basic Curriculum through Stand to Reason, the apologetics certificate program through Biola University, and the Foundations of Apologetics Course through RZIM, which I coupled with readings and audio materials. The information I gathered was beneficial, but it was really just information. There was no real opportunity to interact with those involved with these programs.
Last spring, I decided (finally) to apply to the Centurions Program. Shortly after I applied, however, Chuck passed into glory. I confess there was a part of me that wondered whether I should withdraw my application, but after some soul searching, I realized that Chuck was not the reason I was applying, it was the training (though I do look forward to meeting him some day). And so I began.
Centurions is an intense year. There is a lot of reading and writing about topics relevant to worldview. Each month, there are also conference calls where we heard from Christians working in a variety of contexts. For example, we heard from Joel Belz of World Magazine on interacting with the press and Joni Erickson Tada on ministry to persons with disabilities.
Aside from these opportunities, there were two program highlights for me. First, there is an online forum for the Centurions. I took full advantage of this community. I learned from what others posted. I was challenged to examine my own views on theological and cultural issues. Most importantly, however, was that I have developed, or I am developing, friendships with other Centurions from around the world.
The weekend residencies were the second highlight. Twice during the year, our Centurion class would descend upon Landsdowne, Virginia for three days of intensive training in biblical worldview. I expect these weekends are similar to standing in front of a fire hose. I was blessed to hear from many different speakers and to engage with my colleagues, or shall I say my friends, from around the world. Rather than single out the strengths of each of the faculty, let me just say they each bring a well developed understanding of worldview and a passion for Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God.
I cannot recommend this program strongly enough. It is intensive hard work. It will help you to sharpen your thinking, enflame your godly affections, and engage in work for our King. If you choose to do this, I promise you will never look at the world in the same way again.
And that is a good thing.