Friday, November 13, 2009
The Jesus Movement
What difference does it make that we are in the midst of The Fourth Great Awakening? Well, it makes a big difference. Every world wide revival brings major changes. Revivals have babies called Awakenings where spirit filled believers grow up and change society. This means that everything we have grown used to in church life is changing before our eyes.
Here is the problem, most Bible schools, seminaries, books and media are still operating on the old paradigm.
Pastors, Professors and Church Leaders are stuck in an outmoded, old fashioned and failing approach to life and ministry. Starting in the rebellious Sixties and continuing in the Seventies, Christianity made some radical shifts in focus, practice and process. The anti-authoritarian mood of students, radicals, Viet Nam protesters and young believers turned everything upside down. The result was dramatic, especially in college campuses.
Campus ministries shared the good news of Christ with millions of students and many came to faith in Christ. Inter varsity Christian Fellowship, the oldest of all the groups, increased its focus on college Campuses and their annual missionary gathering at Urbana grew to over 20,000 in attendance. The world is a different place because of IV and their emphasis upon missions. And, the IV students took their new ideas overseas.
The radical Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)drew about two hundred students at their conference. That paled in comparison to Urbana but received all the publicity from a media interested in promoting politics.
Bill Bright's Campus Crusade for Christ recruited thousands of staff and started aggressive evangelism programs on hundreds of campuses all over the USA. Their Four Spiritual Laws and disciplined follow up studies showed all of us how to reach out with the gospel.
Young Life joined Youth for Christ as dynamic forces for evangelism, Bible study and good works in high schools across the land.
These changes were powerful because millions of young people came to Christ. However, the impact was much greater than simply evangelism. I think they did something that was even more far reaching and it led to The Fourth Great Awakening.
What could be more important than reaching millions for Christ? Establishing a new, focus with a new process of discipleship and growth for those who had come to faith. The new process proved that young, lay persons could do effective evangelism and discipleship. These campus groups were led by non clergy and proved that the Bible's call to "Equip all the believers to DO the WORK of MINISTRY" works. It is possible, effective and essential.
In the First Reformation, God took His Word out of the control of the few and gave it to all His people.
In this New Reformation, God has taken His Works out of the hands of the control of the few and given it to all His people.
This is the essence of the Fourth Great Awakening and it is largely due to the outpouring of the Spirit on young people and their leaders in the Sixties and Seventies.