Defining Movements

Movements can generally be defined as, “a revolutionary idea that spreads rapidly through existing social networks, challenging the status quo until it brings about massive social change.”

This would describe all social and political movements around the world.  It would also describe the movement Jesus started.  The radical idea could simply be stated as “Jesus is Lord.”  We sometimes forget how revolutionary this idea was in a world where Caesar was considered lord.  The idea spread so rapidly that soon the followers of Jesus were accused of turning the known world upside down.  And we know from history that this movement brought about massive social change that is still felt today.

At Two Four Eight, we define a God movement as “a movement of the Living Word that spreads and multiplies into every affinity across the city, through God’s people, in the power of the Spirit, to fulfil His redemptive purpose.”

In this definition, there are four key elements:

  • The Living Word – when the written Word comes alive in the hearts of people in a transforming way.
  • Spreads and multiplies – movement only takes place when this multiplies from one person to the next.
  • In the power of the Spirit – a constant theme throughout the book of Acts is the power of the Spirit working through the early disciples.
  • To fulfil His redemptive purpose – a clear vision and outcomes of movement is God’s redemptive mission to reconcile people to Himself. 

Scripture does not use the word “movement,” but it does describe this rapid spread of the word of God:

“So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.” Acts 6:7 

“But the word of God continued to spread and flourish.” Acts 12:24 

“The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.” Acts 13:49

“In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.” Acts 19:20

This rapid spread of the Word of God is best facilitated by a Disciple-Making Movement.  This is more than traditional “discipleship” that is largely focused on personal spiritual growth.  Rather, a Disciple-Making Movement takes place when disciples make disciples through multiple generations.  This leads to the continued multiplication of new Christ followers, new faith communities and new leaders.  We see this kind of generational multiplication described by Paul in 2 Timothy 2:2:

“Whatever you heard me teach before an audience of witnesses, I want you to pass along to trustworthy people who have the ability to teach others too.” (Voice)

In one verse, Paul describes four generations of disciples making disciples (beginning with Paul himself).  This “passing on through generations” is key to seeing a Disciple-Making Movement take place.

You can learn more about God movements through our free online training.

NEXT: Understanding Affinity