The Centurions Program is one of the most important and successful undertakings we’ve ever had at Prison Fellowship and BreakPoint. And our Centurions are very much in the news these days: Like D. Michael Lindsay, who was named President of Gordon College. Or Randy Hultgren, elected to Congress from Illinois.
Even the Washington Post has taken notice. When we found out the Post would do a feature-length article about the Centurions Program, some of my team mates were a little nervous. After all, the secular media aren’t very sympathetic to conservative Christians. And the Post and I have a long history, dating back to Watergate. I can show you my scars, if you want to see them.
Even though reporter Michelle Boorstein makes my past life sound worse than it was and my Christian life better than it is, overall I have to say I was pleased with the article. We’ll provide you a link to it at BreakPoint.org. It’s an important explanation of the Centurions.
Boorstein gets a lot right. The name Centurions, she writes, “conjures battle-hardened Roman soldiers. They number 640, and their marching orders from their commander are clear -- to expand Christ’s kingdom.” And, as Boorstein wrote, I want “Centurions to be able to meet the challenge of religious pluralism, know their own worldview and be able to debate others with different beliefs.”
She jokingly says I’m cloning people who can do the job I’ve been doing. Right!
I do wish she’d given more space to the Centurions themselves, because they are extraordinary people. All of them. Sure, we have congressmen and legislators and big-time executives in the Centurions Program. And that’s great.
But what really excites me are the so-called “ordinary” Centurions who are doing extraordinary things. Let me tell you about just a few of them, so that you, too, will consider becoming a Centurion for the class beginning in September.
Take Sandy Perry, ex-prisoner and self-described “country boy with a sixth-grade education.” He learned the hard way that without proper discipling, even Christian ex-prisoners have a hard time staying out of trouble. After completing the Centurions Program, Sandy was invited to teach biblical worldview to 30 prisoners.
There’s Martha Underwood, who is using her Centurions training to promote racial reconciliation in her North Carolina community.
There’s Arlene Tencza -- a housewife and mom whose Centurions experience launched her into ministry to prisoners and the poor in her community.
And Pam Mutz, mother of 12, who organizes one-day conferences for Junior and Senior High students to “equip them to stand strong” in today’s over-sexed culture.
Or Deputy Sherriff James Quattrone who started a re-entry program for ex-prisoners.
Come to CenturionsProgram.org today and find out how you can apply to the Centurions Program this year. We have tweaked the program to make it a bit easier and more affordable for busy parents and professionals to participate.
Yes, becoming a Centurion is a serious commitment. But the things you will read and watch, the teachers you will learn from, the interaction you will have with other Centurions will deepen your faith in ways you’ve never imagined -- and will prepare you to go out, as the Washington Post wrote, “to expand Christ’s Kingdom.”
This article published on April 11, 2011.
Chuck Colson's daily 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.