Is the church entering a new season of revival? Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church believes so.
In his latest entry on the blog "Resurgence," he points to an increased sense of urgency from church leaders around the world for evangelism, discipleship, and church planting as evidence that "we're living in a new movement, with the potential to see revival in our generation."
The Seattle pastor has "seen and heard about great numbers of people committing their lives to Jesus Christ" through his travels and conversations with Christian leaders around the world. "This is the hallmark of a new movement."
According to Driscoll, a movement "is an unusual work of God, sometimes called a revival or renewal. During a movement, things happen in larger numbers. I'm not speaking of programs, potluck dinners, or camp meetings, but rather conversions, discipleship, and church planting."
A movement is also a time when church leaders and denominations reach across the aisles. It is when the traditional boundaries that have oftentimes separated people from collaborating in carrying out the work of the church are crossed.
"In other words, movements aren't confined by one denomination, one church, one region, or one nation. A movement is like a number of tributaries coming together to form a river. And like a river, a movement cannot be controlled, but merely influenced," Driscoll writes.
This influence happens through relationships because, unlike institutions, where the control is maintained from a distance, relationships allow people to be in direct contact with each other.
Driscoll's desire in working with others and within a movement is "to build relationships with various people and tribes outside of my normal range as a way of influencing the movement relationally." He sees reaching across boundaries and connecting with other church leaders, as a way to create momentum for a movement.
In being a part of Mars Hills and the Acts 29 church network, Driscoll is able to do that by meeting with other Christian leaders from around the world, and has "gained tremendous insight by simply observing God's work in these places and learning from these leaders and their experiences."
And although, at times, they don't always see eye to eye, they build relationships. "This is the way I believe that movements can best be influenced."
"I believe we're sitting at the edge of a precipice," he says. "God is moving in ways I believe history will look back on as the beginnings of a new movement in the church. The flows of this movement have and will continue to run over the banks of our current relational boundaries and influence all of the church around the world, not just our own local gathering."
Driscoll cites Atlanta-based pastor Andy Stanley who said a church has to decide if it wants to make a difference or make a point when it comes to reaching people and being a part of a movement.
"If we want to make a difference, we have to pursue them, get to know them, understand them, love them, and serve them," he states. And in the end, "it's not about us. It's about Jesus. And I'd rather make a difference for Jesus than make a point about him."