Bell-Bottoms and Jesus

​As I walked through the mall this afternoon, I was looking at all the mannequins in the store windows. In a majority of the clothing stores, the mannequins looked like they were dressed for a 1970’s party. Everywhere I looked, there were denim rompers and jumpers and bell-bottom pants. I thought clearly everything recycles in due time.
As I kept walking, I was reminded of something else that took place in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, and I am not referring to the hippie movement. The hippie movement represented a time of change and anti-government sentiment in America. Kids were rebelling against parents, drug and alcohol use was rampant, and wild parties were taking place, among many other things. However, at the same time the hippie movement was taking place, a different kind of movement was stirring. It was called the Jesus Movement or the Jesus Revolution.
The Jesus Movement started on the West Coast in California and spread throughout America, Central America and Europe, and was partly a reaction against the counterculture from which it originated. People believed in signs, miracles, and wonders, people believed in Jesus and were baptized in record-breaking numbers. 

The other morning, we were watching Woodlawn on PureFlix. The Jesus Movement is central in that movie. My youngest son asked, “Why don’t those things happen anymore today?” He wasn’t referring to the racial tensions in Alabama, or the intense football rivalries. He was referring to the crowds of people coming to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior not just by speaking their beliefs but actually living them out.
Admittedly, down here in the South where we live, it is easy to think that everyone is churched and living for the Lord. While there may be more churches down here in the South, it is not a certain and most certainly, it is not the case in every place in America (not to mention the world). When was the last time you saw hundreds of people accept Jesus for the first time? When was the last time you saw people not walking in protest against certain political figures, but walking down the street carrying “One Way” signs? When was the last time you were burdened to stir up a Jesus Movement in your home, your school, your neighborhood, your sports team, and for some of you, maybe even in your church?
The Jesus Movement was a reaction to the counterculture from which it originated. I don’t know about you, but the things taking place in America right now are pretty counterculture. If jean rompers and bell-bottom pants are back in style, maybe it is time that Jesus is in the forefront again, as well. We need more Jesus in our schools, our media, our families, and in our churches.
There are pockets of Christians around the country praying for revival. There are pockets of Christians sharing the Gospel message with the lost week in and week out in churches, at conferences, and through the media. But we need more of it.
The Jesus Movement left a legacy. The influence of the movement birthed churches and what we today know as contemporary Christian music. It left a hunger for what could be.
What kind of legacy will our era of Christians be known for? What will people be saying and reading about in forty or fifty years about us?
I was born in September of 1973 right at the height of what took place at Woodlawn. I was born in Guam and wonder what it would have meant for my life if my parents had lived in a place where they got to witness the Jesus Movement first hand. What if they had been caught up in knowing Jesus and not just taking on the religion of their parents? So many great Christian leaders doing work today became believers during the Jesus Movement, but we need more leaders and we need younger leaders to carry the torch.
We were able to hear Nick Hall share at our church last weekend about Reset 2016 that will take place at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on July 21, 2016. They are praying for one million people to be present at the Mall that day to worship, pray and celebrate the Lord Jesus Christ. Miracle upon miracle has already taken place to put this into motion, and I know that the miracles are not over. I firmly believe there will be more than one million people there. My children said, “We want to be a part of that!” It could prove to be historical and something future generations will mark as a turning point in our country.
A group of evangelical leaders is also setting up a prayer and worship meeting called The Gathering in Dallas on September 21, 2016. The whole goal of the event is not to promote anyone’s agenda or promote book sales, but rather come together to pray for this country and for revival within the Church.
In addition to these events, there are conferences, worship events, and local church meetings all over the country. It is inspiring to see the work that the Church body is doing to combat the cultural shift in this country. But we can’t give up, and we must keep going.
So what is your part in all of this? What role can you play in ushering in a new Jesus Movement in this country? We haven’t seen a movement of God’s people in many years, but perhaps we are seeing one unfold right before our eyes. I hope you’ll be a part and leave a legacy for future generations, including your own family. 

Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

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