Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Characteristics of a Movement

a Biblical thought...
With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don't hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort. (1 Cor 15:58)

a Book thought...
As long as we see 'salvation' in terms of 'going to heaven when we die', the main work of the church is bound to be seen in terms of savings souls for that future. (p209 Wright)

a Dave thought... by Paul Pierson
  • They always begin on the periphery of the institutional church

  • They are motivated by a transforming experience (grace) of God by an individual or group.

  • The result is the desire for a more authentic Christian life that often leads to concern for the church and world.

  • Face to face groups for prayer, Bible study, mutual encouragement are important.

  • New methods of selecting and training leaders become important. These are less institutional, more grass roots and lay oriented.

  • There are theological breakthroughs, that is, rediscovery of aspects of the Biblical message that have been forgotten or overlooked by the Church, usually they involve a focus on the gifts of every believer.

  • There is a leveling effect, distance decreases between clergy and laity, social classes, races, men and women, and denominations.

  • The movement is countercultural in some ways, often because it reaches out to those who have not been valued by their society.

  • Consequently there will be opposition by many in the dominant culture and church. - There will often be manifestations of spiritual warfare. such movements sense the reality of evil and the need to recognize the victory of Christ in the cross and resurrection.

  • At times there will be unusual manifestations of the power of the Holy Spirit; healings, visions, glossalalia, miracles. etc.

  • More flexible structures of church and mission will be needed and often emerge, different from traditional structures.

  • The movement will be led to significant recontextualization of the Christian message, which will be communicated more widely by lay persons to those outside the church.

  • New music is often a characteristic.

  • Biblical concepts ignored by the traditional church but relevant to the hearers are often discovered.

  • There will be a growing concern for the marginalized, often expressed in ministries of compassion.

  • At a later stage this often leads to concern for broader social transformation.

  • As the movement matures there will be concern for the renewal of the broader church.

  • As the movement continues to mature many will see themselves not only as part of the particular movement but as citizens of the Kingdom of God, transcending their own movement.

  • Finally, every movement is less than perfect and often messy at the edges and sometimes, at the center. This is inevitable as long as sinful humans are involved.

Out of these 19 characteristics there is not a lot we are still reflecting, it has obviously been a great 143 years for the Salvos but maybe it is time to get this organisation operating like a movement once again.

Just a thought.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here here! Hear hear!