THE JESUS REVOLUTION - JESUS MOVEMENT
WHAT IT WAS LIKE IN THE EARLY DAYS.
Even though I have not read all of Doug’s book (So, You Want to do Ekklesia?), I know him so well and we went through very similar experiences regarding “Body Life.” These were the characteristics of our experience. Everyone felt like they belonged and had something important to offer. There was no leader per se. There were older brothers who helped us stay on track, but they were more “expediters.” They encouraged us and gave each of us an opportunity to participate. It wasn’t so much based on an agenda but our daily, fresh experience with the Lord. It was not a matter of telling old stories about old experiences, books we had read or even our pet ideas
We began to see that the “riches of Christ are in the saints,”—each person has a portion of Christ, a gift, a word, an experience, a revelation, not based on study, or reading someone’s book (not to say there is something wrong with that), but each of us can get something fresh every day from the Lord. It didn’t take long to realize when in an open meeting, you can’t fake it. So many times, I could tell I didn’t really have the anointing and my words just dribbled down the front of my shirt like a messy taco. I felt exposed and supported at the same time. We were all in the same boat.
I don’t criticize the full-time pastor. He has quite a challenge coming up with something new, fresh and challenging every week. But we soon learned that the amazing thing was when every saint participated, each person spent time with the Lord, actively shared the gospel with everyone they met. After some time, we found the “sermon” boring compared to the sharing of the saints, from the least to the most eloquent. I know some people today who think they are so smart, so “woke,” so great in their delivery, they frankly don’t need the sharing of the “little people.” But remember, the vision Chuck Farrah shared that summer was about the Body of Christ and the importance of each member, no matter how small and insignificant.
When we talk about Ecclesia, we talk about opportunity and the ministry of each saint which can’t be done in the top down pastor-dominated church. Back in the day of the Jesus Movement, we saw regular people shine every day on the streets, in parks and coffee houses, malls, beaches and in our homes and meetings. We were a force because it wasn’t just one man but hundreds out on the streets, everywhere, sharing the gospel wherever they went.
The “Churches” idea of service is more often greeting people, passing the plate, arranging the chair, cleaning the facility. No, the idea should be everyone in the ministry, every one sharing, passing on the blessings of Christ to everyone we touch. That is why the Jesus Movement made such an impact and that is also why it died out and was absorbed by the institutional church. Like most great movements, it ended, dissipated.
Those of us who lived through it remember the small, spontaneous meetings we had every day, going out with another brother to share the Lord with someone. The only priority we had was to give our lives to the Lord and one another. Nothing else mattered. We quit our jobs, moved here and there. It didn’t take much to live. I was married and lived on a fellowship of $260 a month. Our wives didn’t have to work but stayed home with the kids. In 1960, we were only 15 years from WWII.
It was a different time but the liberal agenda was being birthed on the college campuses. I was at UC Davis as a full-time student for 10 years, on the faculty the last year—riots and demonstrations broke out over Vietnam and Cambodia. But it was also different. The liberals believed in “free speech” for goodness sake. At least we could talk; and people would listen, and many came to the Lord.