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Sticking to the Knitting: The Founder's Vision

One of the cardinal rules for success according to the now-classic management book In Search of Excellence is “Stick to the Knitting.” Excellent organizations know what they’re good at and follow their vision.

At BreakPoint and the Colson Center, our vision was set by our founder, Chuck Colson. And it’s a vision that can change the world.

Chuck was critical of a “get saved” understanding of Christianity. Oh, he believed that everyone needs salvation of course, but Chuck knew that salvation was more than a personal relationship with God through Christ.

“Throughout Scripture,” Chuck said, “…we are told to read the signs of the times. Paul tells people to take every though captive to Christ. We’re told to be salt and light by Jesus. To be salt and light means you go into culture and enable people to see that you’re living out the faith.”

He called this “Making the invisible Kingdom of God visible.” It united Christian worldview and Christian service.

When Chuck met people, he often asked them, “What is Christianity?” “Fifty percent,” he reported, “will say their relationship with Jesus, and that’s wrong. Christianity is a way of seeing all of life in reality through God’s eyes. That’s what Christianity is. It’s a worldview; it’s a system of thought and life.”

Right thinking about God and life combined with a love for God and our neighbor carry both the moral imperative and the spiritual energy to live as Jesus lived. Like Jesus, we announce by word and deed that the Kingdom of God is present in and through God’s people, the Church.

The results? Chuck liked to quote magisterial reformer John Calvin, who said, “When the local church is doing what the church is called to do — that is, preaching the gospel, administering the sacraments, exercising discipline  —inevitably the surrounding culture will be affected.” “In other words,” Chuck added, “if we’re living as Christians, it will happen.”

Sticking to the knitting at BreakPoint and the Colson Center means helping Christians to live as Christians and thus affect the culture. That’s the point of BreakPoint and it’s the goal behind the Centurions Program, our curricula such as “Doing the Right Thing,” newsletters such as “Worldview Church,” and campaigns such as the Manhattan Declaration.

And we hope to leave the same legacy Chuck prayed for and God granted him. Chuck told an interviewer, “I hope my legacy will be … the worldview notion and the idea that Christians need to put their faith into action, that we need to be instruments of righteousness, not only in bringing people to the righteousness of God in their salvation, but bringing righteousness into our communities.” Chuck embodied a Christianity that creates culture and brings health and wholeness to individuals, communities, and nations.

The only way to stick to the knitting, doing what you do well and are called to do, is to review and renew the vision regularly. That’s why we at BreakPoint and the Colson Center have set aside the next three weeks to concentrate on our founder’s vision.

As our Colson Center president Alan Terwilleger has written, “What we need today is a movement to restore the Gospel of the Kingdom — Christianity as a worldview — to the churches and the public square.” This was our founder’s vision and it’s our vision today.

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: April 30, 2013

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