Sunday, November 15, 2009
The Genius of the Jesus People Movement
The genius of the Jesus People movement of the late 1960's and 70's was not the theological sophistication of it's adherents. It wasn't money, or programming, or a centrally-coordinated effort to impact youth culture launched by existing Christian leaders or sociological experts. I believe the genius of the Jesus People movement was the empowerment of everyday people to take the ministry of Jesus to everyday places - from school campuses to coffeehouses. From private homes to rock concerts. From streetcorners to city parks. "Jesus Freaks" were always looking for opportunities to take the gospel to the places and environments where the people of their generation lived their daily lives. The whole world was their mission field and "church" could happen anywhere, anytime.
As a veteran of that experience, I believe we who follow Christ now would do well to re-discover this way of life. It's not about trying to go back to the "old days". It's not about nostalgia or recreating a bygone era or somehow updating its symbols. But I am convinced that there is an inhertiance given by the Holy Spirit to the Church that remains available to us now -- especially to those of us who know better than to keep ministry within the walls of church buildings.
There are lots of things about the Jesus People that can be criticized -- many mistakes that were made. But there are things that still pulsate in the hearts of those of us who walked those roads -- including the convictions that Jesus is for everyone, that ministry if for every believer and that we don't need elaborate structures, programs or high-cost endeavors to go where Jesus is going. We simply need to see where the Lord is already at work in the everyday lives of a world He came to love back to life!
So here's my call to my fellow "vets" -- get back to basics. Rediscover your inheritance. Tap back into your passion. Find a need in some everyday place and take Jesus there. It looks different now, to be sure, but the genius of the Jesus People movement waits to be reclaimed and put into motion yet again!