(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)
Series: Characteristics of the Jesus Movement for today
4. It happened simultaneously everywhere
Where did the Jesus Movement start? That’s easy: Everywhere.
This is a key component of the Jesus Movement. It’s what proves that it was driven not by any person, place, organization or event, but by the Holy Spirit. Many movements begin in one place and spread out from there. Not the case with the Jesus Movement. If you traveled anywhere during the late ‘60s to early ‘70s, you would find a vast spiritual hunger at work. People everywhere wanted to know about Jesus. You might think you were bringing some new message of Jesus and the gospel to some new area, only to find it was already there and going strong on its own. Whether on the street, or in people’s homes, or in communes or in established churches that welcomed long hair and jeans, it was happening simultaneously everywhere. It was in the air, or as Dylan sang, it was “blowin’ in the wind.”
Some think it started in California, some think it was in the Midwest or on the East Coast, or in Sweden, or South Africa, or Canada. They are all correct. It was like everyone, everywhere, got the memo at the same time. In 1970, I ran into a singer/songwriter from Sweden whose story paralleled mine exactly. We both started writing songs about Jesus at virtually the same time. We both had about the same number of songs written when we met, and we were both starting to record. That year he toured with me in America, and that summer I toured with him for a month in Sweden. Two years ago, when I was doing some research for a book about a ministry in South Africa, I found that there was a big youth revival going on in Capetown in 1968. I was not surprised.
What’s the point of this today? Beware of anything that claims to be a movement of God but is manmade. There is a lot of speculation today about another Jesus Movement. Movies and documentaries about the last Jesus Movement are quite popular right now, but movies and documentaries don’t make a movement. You’ll know it’s a movement of God because you won’t be able to explain what’s happening any other way.
But also beware of thinking there has to be a movement in order for God to be doing something. It doesn’t take a movement for God to move. He is always on the move, just in different ways. We like movements because they are dramatic and exciting, but they are few and far between. Meanwhile we go along day to day seeking what God is doing in the world at large, and in our own corner of the world in particular. What’s He doing in your life right now. That’s what’s important today. What is God teaching you? What new thing has He made known to you today?
“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:26-27)