Movements that change the world, by Steve Addison is a great book. And here’s some of my favourite parts.
“Movements are informal groups of people with an agenda for change. They have leading figures but no one person in control. Movements make history. “Movements change people, and changed people change the world.”
“The New Testament is a missionary document……..The church, in its very essence, is a missional movement….”
Mission has a threefold reality: a message, communication of truth and a new way of life, and the purpose of conversion.
Each new movement has a unique contribution to make to the kingdom – its ‘founding charism’ or gift of grace. Monasticism modelled a deep devotion to Christ…. The Franciscans’ gift … was God’s heart for the poor. The Reformation upheld the authority of Scripture and restored the truth of salvation by grace through faith. The Anabaptists emphasized the importance of discipleship…. The Moravians were an inspiration as the first Protestant missionary order. The Methodists and Salvation Army combined evangelistic zeal and holiness…. The Pentecostals rediscovered the untamed power of the Holy Spirit.
“The periods of the greatest vigour and expansion of the Christian faith are the periods in which new movement arise.” “…the breakthroughs always occur on the fringe….”
1. White-Hot Faith
“Church history is not made by well-financed, well-resourced individuals and institutions. History is made by men and women of faith who have met with the living God.” “Profound encounters with God are important catalysts in the formation of movements…. A white-hot faith produces right-heartedness, right thinking and right action along with compelling authority that energizes a movement.
Pentecostalism is perhaps the fastest expanding movement ever. Communism, fascism and militant Islam shaped the last century, but none of them matched the impact of Pentecostalism.
“There are two means by which God develops such white-hot faith in us: crisis and process. In the moment of crisis, we learn to surrender to the grace of God. The practice of spiritual disciplines is the process that deepens our life in God.” “This pattern continues throughout the history of the Christian movement. Deep experiences of surrender precede revelation of God’s purposes and the outpouring of power to achieve his will.”
A passionate faith is at the heart of every dynamic missionary movement. It is the greatest resource and often it is the only resource.
2. Commitment to a Cause
“Change takes place because people care enough to act on their deeply held beliefs.” “Power does not finally depend on military or economic might but upon the ability to mobilize people around a cause.”
“What set Wesley apart was not the gospel he preached but his ability to gather converts into a disciplined movement.” “Every Methodist was expected to have a ministry. … Discipline and accountability at every level became a key distinctive….” Methodism eventually drifted to leniency. Commitment is nearly impossible to recover once it wanes.
Three factors enable a movement to maintain strong commitment: founding charism, alignment, and medium tension.
“Living organisms are constantly seeking self-renewal by referring back to their essential identity and adapting to their environment. Likewise, movements must adapt to their changing environment while remaining true to their identity.” “Every aspect of the movement must be aligned with its overriding purpose.”
“Commitment does not guarantee the rightness of a cause, but it does determine the likelihood of any cause making a difference. Committed people make history by living in alignment with their deeply held beliefs.”
3. Contagious Relationships
“The most reliable predictor of conversion is relationships, especially preexisting, positive relationships.” “Conversion is a social phenomenon; it is often about accepting the faith of one’s friends.” “As open movements grow, their ‘social surface’ expands exponentially. Each new member opens up new networks of relationships…. Contagious relationships are at the heart of the spread of every movement….” “Relationships play an important part in forming and maintain your beliefs. Ideas spread like viruses, from person to person.”
4. Rapid Mobilization
“Jesus’ teaching was obedience oriented. His model of training assumed that the disciples did not know something until they had learned to obey it.”
Great leaders grow leaders. They “create opportunities that equip and mobilize others. They focus on the whole person: hands, head and heart. And they don’t just grow leaders, they multiply them.”
5. Adaptive Methods
“In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.”
Why did football become the world’s most popular sport? At a basic level it can be played by anyone, anywhere. It can be infinitely adjusted depending upon the circumstances, resources and people involved. “Adaptive methods are just like football. They’re simple, easy to learn, fun, contagious, adaptable, transferable and low cost.”
“Every method must be evaluated against the desired outcome.” We must “continually evaluate the fruitfulness and effectiveness of our methods. If we don’t, self-preservation will become our mission.”
“To fulfil their mission, the most effective movements are prepared to change everything about themselves except their basic beliefs.”
To be involved in seeing countless millions make Jesus Christ Lord of their lives? What needs to change in you? What do you need to do differently? Who will you go on the journey with? … What part will you play?”