Movements That Change the World: Five Keys to Spreading the Gospel

Movements That Change the World: Five Keys to Spreading the Gospel

Posted by jack_miller | Published a year ago

With 34 ratings

By: Steve Addison , Alan Hirsch, et al.

Purchased At: $18.00

When Jesus commissioned his followers, he was not just inaugurating the historical church, he was founding a missionary movement.Originally released by Missional Press and now revised and expanded to include a multi-session discussion guide, Steve Addison's Movements That Change the World draws from biblical, historical and contemporary case studies to isolate the essential elements of a dynamic missionary movement. The church fulfills its mission today to the extent that it honors these essential elements, modelled perfectly in Jesus? missionary enterprise:
  • white-hot faith
  • commitment to the cause
  • contagious relationships
  • rapid mobilization
  • adaptive methods

Throughout the ages Jesus' followers have been called to continue his movement in the power of the Holy Spirit. Like many such movements, it changed the world. Unlike most movements, which have their historical moment and then fade away, Christianity is actively, continually changing the world for the better.
Steve Addison and his wife Michelle lead MOVE, “a mission agency devoted to training and deploying workers who multiply communities of Jesus’ disciples everywhere” (back cover). This was his first book. He is also authored "What Jesus Started: Joining the Movement Changing the World" and is the author of "Pioneering Movements: Leadership That Multiplies Disciples and Churches."  He blogs at [...] and holds a D. Min from Fuller Seminary, where his dissertation was on “The Continuing Role of the Apostle in the Church’s Mission.”

In this volume, Addison “deals with the characteristics of missionary movements in their most dynamic expression” (22). Using the ministry of St Patrick as a paradigm, in five chapters he identifies and explores “five key characteristics of movements that change the world.”

Chapter One, “White-Hot Faith” examines how Jesus, John Wesley, and the Anglicans of Sydney, Australia model sacrificial faith that differentiates itself while remaining connected to wider societal contexts. For example, Wesley remained a loyal Anglican all his life and sought to be a renewal agent within Anglicanism. Such entities display a hardcore commitment born of pivotal experiences with God. Another example of this dynamic would be the Apostle Paul who, after his experience on the Damascus Road was manifestly all in. Chapter Two, “Commitment to a Cause,” explores how, “Movements that change the world deal with ultimate issues. They are causes that make demands on followers. Apathy changes nothing and is the surest sign that a movement, organization or society is in decline. Change takes place because people care enough to act on their deeply held beliefs. They chose 'to live divided no more'" (56). In the chapter he focuses first on John Wesley who modeled this commitment, required it of his converts and workers, and established structures and mechanisms to sustain and evaluate the commitment levels of those in his charge. The chapter concludes by considering Jesus, his commitment, and the commitment he demanded of those who would follow him.

Chapter Three. “Contagious Relationships,” shows how movements grow through already established webs of relationship, and how low-cost word of mouth and face to face relationships trump expensive media approaches to communication and group development. His discussion of “the strength of weak ties” is particularly noteworthy “Your close friends tend to link you with people you already know. By contrast, acquaintances link you to a variety of untapped social networks. They expand your relationship world” (78). He then briefly explores Malcom Gladwells three classifications of social linkers as connectors—who are people magnets, mavens, who provide expertise, and salesman, who are the persuaders who connect emotionally with others and convince them to consider and adopt new beliefs and behaviors. To all of these I would add “opinion leaders” who are the people to whom others instinctively go for validation of new options and ideas.
Chapter Four, “Rapid Mobilization,” explores how this requires recruiting, identifying, and on the job mentoring and training of leaders who should be released quickly to do the work of ministry and to learn as they go. Among those he considers as exemplars of this value are Francis Asbury and John Wesley, Ralph Moore of the Hope Chapel movement, Jesus of course, and Roland Allen, from whom Addison extracts catalytic principles with revolutionary implications still being mined for their prophetic usefulness nearly one hundred years after Allen wrote of them.
In Chapter Five, “Adaptive Methods,” Addison considers how we need to be intransigent in our commitments, flexible and adaptive in our methods, and always alert to what works and does not. We should avoid being heavy-handed managers, always equipping and releasing. His Conclusion examines some contexts where these principles are being employed. This is followed by an eight lesson Study Guide for use in training team members to understand and implement the insights of this book. This is followed by two Appendices, one on “Gospel Presentations,” different ways of presenting the gospel to people, and the other on the Discovery Bible Study method.

Addison clearly writes to equip rather than to impress, but in doing so, is most impressive. His analysis of relevant factors, his contemporary, biblical and historical illustrations, and the tight logical structure of this, and his other books, is impressive. What strikes me most about his book is the understanding he provides of what makes a movement a movement, when a movement is in decline, and when a movement is in fact, no longer a movement. His five points are simple but it seems, quite accurate in what they affirm. His is a book for practitioners and not for armchair theorists. I admire his bold faith in simply sending people out to plant churches knowing simple ways to share the gospel while trusting in the power of the Spirit. I have no doubt this works elsewhere. However, here again, as in his What Jesus Started, the provided Bible lessons assume that the target audiences are biblically illiterate, unsophisticated, and responsive to formulaic presentations. This approach will not work with urban Jews, which is my context, or other sophisticated urban people. The materials are also limited to those relevant to the propagation of the gospel, while certainly, the whole counsel of God is far wider and deeper. That deeper and wider mandate is unexplored in this volume. Still, there is much to be learned from his book, and the five principles he explores are gold.

This being the case, what remains is for his principles to be applied to our own contexts, and his materials and approach adapted as the situation warrants, while those who do so pay due attention to other aspects of spiritual teaching and community formation that must not be neglected.

The book is a keeper concerning the propagation of a message and way of life we ought not to keep to ourselves.

- edward_morgan

I'm reading/using this book for a class I'm taking, and I find it easy to read. The author is an expert on his area of study, and he relates both personal and historical examples of what makes movements happen, as well as describing what happened.

One thing I'd caution the reader is that there is not only one purpose of the church; that is, a movement is something that the sovereign Lord brings about to freshen the church, but it is not the only thing the church is doing. Going out with new fervor is great, but there are always works of the Kingdom to be done, here and now. Not everyone is going to be the proverbial missionary in an overseas land; some of us will be serving here, in our neighborhoods and our jobs and our schools and even our own churches.

- faye_martinez

I have had an interest in "movements" for some time. The biggest reason is that i am interested in starting one. Well, that sounds a little grandiose, so let me say, I am interested in being one more person who facilitates a movement that produces a new kind of leadership.

So I study movements. I have read some real helpful, popular level treatments of movements.

The Starfish and the Spider by Brafman and Beckstrom
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.
Tribes by Seth Godin.
And I am reading some more technical stuff as well.

A new book I read in one sitting is a great introduction to movements and specificallly, Chrsitian movements.

Movements That Change the World by Steve Addison. It is 130 pages of concise, illustrative, motivational teaching on the nature of Christian movements.

If you are a Christian leader, get this book immediately. If you are, in any way, involved in church planting, evangelism, cross-cultural work - ditto. Block about two to three hours to read it. Then, sit down and start thinking about your organization and ministry in light of this book.

This book is basic and insightful. That is its strength. It focuses on the Five Core Principles that Addison identified as essential for movements, and illustrates them nicely. It is biblicaly based, especially looking at Jesus and the Gospels and then illustrated with some of the great movemetns in the history of the church AND, current historical examples. He also provides "just enough" sociological explanation of movements, to understand their nature and power.

After two introducory chapters, one on St. Patrick of Ireland as a case study, and then a short chapter on why movements matter, the heart of the book focuses on the five main principles found in movements,with a chapter devoted to each one. He uses Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians, Wesley, Asbury and the Methodists as significant examples of these principles.

1. White hot faith - the need for personal, transformative encounter
2. Commitment to a cause - high energy and devotion to the "vision" and "ideals" of the movement.
3. Contagious relationships - (a really great chapter with good sociology in this one that makes a ton of sense)
4. Rapid mobilization - helps you understand how grass roots movements proliferate.
5. Adaptive methods - probably the weakest of the chapters, mainly illustrative without as much instruction.

I won't go into what he says in each of these chapters, but each chapter is highly accessible.

The great follow through challenge will be for leaders and readers to assess their own organizations in light of these principles, and then the even bigger challenge will be how to "infuse" these principles back into the organization if they are lacking. But it can be done and it is the reason why Addision has written his book. He wants us to become "movement practitioners."

Brian K.Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International

- willow_watson

Wonderfully visionary. This book is a challenge to all individuals to start to act and make a change to the world.

- brooklynn_taylor

Is you want to be inspire for advancing the Kingdom you need to have this book in your library! Read it!

- alonso_hall

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