My friend, Stephen Currie, is involved in Partnership Development with Wycliffe Bible Translators. We had an e-mail conversation a while back about the role of spiritual movements. Over the next several days, I want to share some of Stephen's observations, then wrap up with some observations about the "movement" emphasis as it applies to the church and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship today. I think you will find Stephen's comments interesting and a bit controversial.
"Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” John 3:6-8 NLT
When I think about the church today and its mission in the world, I can’t help but think that we are a long way from being the church as Christ intended us to be. We have lost the movement ethos that was at the heart of the New Testament church. Leaders focus on delivering trendy, culturally relevant messages and church programs. Churches focus the vast majority of their energy and resources on gathering and warehousing large once-a-week crowds. Christians measure their maturity by where they go to church on Sundays and listening to the latest pop hits on Christian radio. It all seems good and healthy, and in many cases, God seems to use these things. But in all honesty, all this can be done with human power.
Church leaders would greatly benefit from studying movement dynamics. Gospel movements have happened throughout the history of the church, and we can see patterns that are common to many of these movements. Leaders who have influenced my thoughts on Gospel movements and the mission of the church include Neil Cole, Paul Pierson, Alan Hirsch, and David Garrison, and what follows are insights that I have gleaned from these mentors.
Contact Stephen at firstname.lastname@example.org