By Steve Murrell Movements that change the world, outlive their founders, and continue to have global impact generation after generation all seem to have at least three common elements.
- MESSAGE. People followed Jesus not only because he healed the sick and feed the hungry, they followed him because he preached and taught a transformational message. It is the same today. People are looking for a life-defining message that gives meaning to life. We have that message. It is called the Gospel.
- LEADERSHIP. Movements that change the world always have strong leadership. Often a strong founder/leader. Sometimes a strong leadership team. Either way, leadership is always involved. Organic non-lead unorganized grassroots (and grass-fed) movements that change the world generation after generation are like Santa Claus and unicorns - fun ideas that don't exist. When we look behind the curtain of "organic grassroots" movements that actually change the world over time, we find they are in reality strategically organized and strongly led.
- MUSIC. Almost every movement in church history that changed the world and outlived their founders had a music component. John Wesley's powerful preaching and his obsessive organization would not have had nearly the impact without Charles Wesley's hymns. In their prime the Salvation Army was known as much for their marching bands and street music as for their ministry to the poor. The message of Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia has spread around the world, not primarily because of sermons, but because of songwriters.
I love what a great reformer, theologian, and hymn writer said over 400 years ago. "A person who does not regard music as a marvelous creation of God, must be a clodhopper indeed and does not deserve to be called a human being; he should be permitted to hear nothing but the braying of asses and the grunting of hogs."
[Martin Luther's forward to Georg Rhau's 1538 Collection Symphoniae]
A humble appeal to Every Nation songwriters, music directors, and worship leaders: Don't let us be a movement of clodhoppers who do not regard music as a marvelous creation of God. This is your call to write, sing, record, and distribute songs that honor God and communicate the Gospel to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people.