wife and I slipped into our seats at the theater last Thursday to view the
opening of The Jesus Revolution, the movie just released portraying the Jesus
Movement of the 1970s. It brought back
were not California hippies in 1970, though I did wear bell-bottom pants, a
white belt, and played a guitar. I was
already a 24-year-old pastor. The Lord
had called me into the ministry a bit earlier, in 1965. I remember celebrating what God was doing on
the West Coast among those of my generation that had “turned on, tuned in and
dropped out.” It was thrilling to see
thousands coming to faith in Christ.
movement changed things. It changed how
we do church. The music changed. We had
been singing the hymns of our fathers and grandfathers, the songs that emerged
from the previous spiritual movements that swept our country. Songs written by John and Charles Wesley
during the Great Awakening of the 1700s.
Songs like O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing. Christ The Lord Is Risen
Today, Love Divine All Loves Exceling. Songs written by Ira Sankey and
Fanny Crosby during the days of Dwight L. Moody: Blessed Assurance. All The
Way My Savior Leads Me , Jesus Is Tenderly Calling and many more.
the late 1940s a youth revival movement swept the nation. During that movement Dick Baker wrote over
200 songs, among them Longing For Jesus, His Way Mine, I’d Rather Have
Jesus, All To Thee and Have You Been To Calvary?
the Jesus Movement, organs were out. Pianos disappeared. Drums and electric guitars took center stage. The songs and hymns of previous generations
were replaced with songs of praise such as Lord I Lift Your Name On High, Shine, Jesus
Shine, Shout To The Lord.
new spiritual movement erupted spontaneously three weeks ago at Asbury College
in Wilmore, KY. Characterized by
humility, confession and prayer more than 50,000 showed up from over 200 other
campuses and many countries. The college of 2,000 was overwhelmed. It has ignited similar movements on campuses
at Samford University in Alabama, Lee and Belmont Universities in Tennessee,
Anderson University in Indiana, Baylor University in Waco and Texas A&M. In
all at least 20 campuses have reported revivals.
involved are mostly Gen Z, young adults born after 1995 and the advent of the
internet, true “digital natives.”
Demographers say they live more slowly than previous generations,
consume less alcohol, have lower rates of teen pregnancy and are better at
delaying gratification. A profile of Gen Z by The Economist considered them
highly educated and well behaved, but noted high levels of stress and
depression. According to the CDC 1 in 5 Gen Z high school students have
seriously considered suicide.
hope the movement continues to spread and demonstrates lasting power so that a
new generation once again steps forward to inspire the world with hope and faith. Perhaps they will teach us to sing a new
of the Holy Spirit are always accompanied by music. It was so in the first
century and has been so in every century since. When Jesus finished His last
supper with his disciples, the Bible notes, “after singing a hymn, they went
out to the Mount of Olives,” (Mark 14:26).
Apostle Paul exhorts all believers, “ be filled with the Spirit, speaking
to one another in psalms and hymns and
spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your hearts to the
Lord,” (Ephesians 5:18-19).
Bill Tinsley's historical fiction, Bold Springs, is free as an eBook on Amazon Kindle February 28-March 2. Bold Springs received the Reader's Favorite Award as the best Christian historical fiction in 2022.