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Become a Centurion! Stand on Tall Shoulders

It’s hard to believe that Chuck Colson went home to be with the Lord almost a year ago. As hard as it was for me to be on the stage with him when he fell ill, I’m so thankful that the Lord allowed me to be there with my friend and mentor.

It was the next day, actually, when the folks at the Colson Center asked me to fill in at BreakPoint, as we all hoped, temporarily.

And when it became clear that Chuck wasn’t going to return to the microphone, they asked me to stay on, with of course, my dear friend John Stonestreet.

It wasn’t a hard decision for two reasons. First, I loved Chuck, and I’d have done anything for him. Second, and this is important, I wasn’t being asked to fill Chuck’s shoes.

You see, Chuck never wanted anyone to fill his shoes. He wanted people to stand on his shoulders. Just as he had been standing on the shoulders and work of men like C.S. Lewis, Abraham Kuyper, John Calvin, Martin Luther, and of course Augustine of Hippo.

That’s exactly why, nearly 10 years ago, Chuck launched the Centurions Program. Each year, we take 100 people who are eager to live out the Gospel and defend Truth in the marketplace of ideas, have them study under some of the best minds in the Christian world, read the great Christian classics together, view movies and critique them, link them together online, and then gather them for residencies at the Colson Center headquarters in Virginia.

But the Centurions Program is not an ivory-tower experience. What mattered most to Chuck was what the Centurions do with their training. Each Centurion develops a plan to impact their particular sphere of influence in their communities.

While we’ve had film producers, legislators, and even religious leaders join the Centurions, Chuck was always most enthusiastic about what he called the “extraordinary ordinary” people who came, learned, and went out to apply what they learned.

People like Bethany Woodcock, who’s the founder of “Not In My Backyard” (NiMBY), a grassroots organization dedicated to ending human trafficking in our own back yards and beyond.

And there’s Leigh Littrell, who’s the founder of Refuge of Grace, a residential home for women and children in crisis that offers Christian counseling in a nurturing, safe environment.

And Stuart Kellogg, who during the day applies a Christian perspective to his work as a television station manager, and who disciples inmates at night in a nearby prison.

Finally, there’s Darren Ho, a businessman in Shanghai whose Workplace Initiative helps other expatriates integrate their vocation and faith to better serve their organizations — and in the process be a witness for Christ in China.

Could the Lord be calling you to apply to the Centurions Program? And consider this: To make the program even more accessible and affordable, we now have regional Centurions Programs in seven areas around the country.

Please, come to, and we’ll give you information about this life- and culture-changing program.

And by the way, from April 26 through 28, we’ll be holding our 2013 Wilberforce Weekend Conference in Washington, D.C. In addition to hearing great speakers — including Wilberforce Award Winner Cardinal Timothy Dolan — you’ll be able to meet and interact with a number of folks who’ve gone through the Centurions Program. John Stonestreet and I will of course be there as well.

Again, for more on the Centurions Program, and on the conference, please visit

Eric Metaxas is a co-host of BreakPoint Radio and a best-selling author whose biographies, children's books, and popular apologetics have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.

Publication date: March 12, 2013

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