Why Chuck Colson Is the Ideal Millennial Role Model

Five traits the late Watergate-implicated, prison reforming evangelist shared with Millennials.

by Owen Strachan

Chuck Colson lived a large life. Born in humble Boston digs, he worked his way up to the top of the American food chain, moving from Brown University to the Marines to a senator’s office to the Nixon administration.

It was a classic success story, with Colson climbing the ladder one powerful step at a time. But it all came crashing down when he was implicated in the Watergate affair. Colson went to prison in 1974 and was released in 1975.

For many people, such a spectacular flameout would have spelled retreat from the public eye. But Colson had no sooner left prison than he went right back in, founding Prison Fellowship, a Christian ministry geared at the rehabilitation and spiritual restoration of prisoners.

As I detail in my new book The Colson Way, in Colson’s post-Watergate example, Millennials find an ideal role model. Here are five reasons this is true.

1. Chuck Colson lived his life for big things.

Millennials are restless. They’re idealistic, as many young people are. They want something big to live for. Chuck Colson found his grand purpose. After he was released from a Montgomery, Alabama prison, Colson could have made a mint writing a Watergate tell-all. But he and his wife Patty shared a vision for something bigger: reaching out to prisoners to offer hope in the name of Jesus Christ.

Colson wanted to make a dent in the universe. He met his share of frustrations and trials over the years, but his idealistic streak never wavered. He was audacious enough to believe that he could begin prison ministry not only in every American jailhouse, but also in facilities across the world. Colson’s big dreams yielded big results — which is what many young people today desire.

2. Chuck Colson got things done.

When Colson worked for Nixon as special counsel to the president (1969-73), he was known for “breaking china,” a phrase built off an expletive-laced order the president once gave him. I picture Colson with a glint in his eye as he overcame objections, persuaded the unwilling, and made phone call after phone call to push initiatives through to completion.

He relished overcoming impossible odds…

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Why Chuck Colson Is the Ideal Millennial Role Model – OnFaith