Recently I saw the awesome movie, Woodlawn. Go support this film! Take your kids, and your grandkids. It will help them see what God can do, and what He has done in the not-so-distant past.
Woodlawn chronicles how God intervened to save a high school, a city, and scores of young lives. It’s a trip back to the Jesus Movement, and also to a serious time of racial strife in America. Interspersed throughout the film are references to Explo ’72, that amazing week in Dallas that is now seen as the very zenith of the Jesus Movement.
Naomi and I were both privileged to be there throughout that epic event. It was just a couple of weeks before we were married. Contemporary Christian music was brand new. In fact, it may be true that in some ways CCM really became a definable genre that week. I’ll never forget it. Billy Graham’s challenge to the 100,000 people gathered at the Cotton Bowl (mostly teenagers and college students) was to take the liberating gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world. This event would be followed up just two years later by the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization where the watchword became “the whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole world.” These were formative years for me – newly married, graduating from college, serving as a young pastor, burdened for a world that needed Jesus.
Many of the leaders of the church today were profoundly influenced by the Jesus Movement. I know I was. Now, I’m thrilled to hear how God is using this movie to impact a new generation. I’ve heard of entire football teams professing faith in Christ after watching this film. Andrew and Jon Erwin (who envisioned this film) are 21st century evangelists in the ripe harvest fields of cinema. May God bless them and continue to anoint them for innovative gospel witness.
Were you at Explo ’72? Let me hear from you. I’m calling all Explo alums to pray for today’s youth. Lord, do it again!