(more of my thoughts about a friend's question regarding how his congregation might discover more of authentic Kingdom living) . . .
I ran across a list of characteristics of revival movements in Christian history on Andrew Jones' blog
- 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.
A number of these characteristics seem to necessitate (at least to my way of thinking) what I suggested about an instantaneous movement to a new paradigm and not incrementalism, about the need for guides with a vision of the Kingdom in new and robust terms, and concerning taking intentional steps to break our worst religious addictions. I know that for the congregation I am part of, many of the specific matters mentioned in this list were and continue to be deep concerns of our community.