In last week’s blog, we looked at one of the largest Christian “revivals” in recent years – the Asbury Revival, which saw an estimated 50,000 “Gen Z’ers” (college-aged people) participate in a multi-week period at Asbury University in Kentucky. The revival has since spread to many other campuses in the United States. In a seemingly related timing of events, the new movie Jesus Revolution has hit the movie theatres and Christians are flocking to it. One of the directors of the new movie hasn’t missed this seemingly coincidental fact of the movie opening on the heels of a revival the Lord has brought to various universities. Filmmaker Jon Erwin, who co-directed the movie with Brent McCorkle, spoke about the serendipity of the release. “For years, we’ve been working on this story. We almost got it made, and then COVID got it shut down,” he said. “I just think there’s a divine hand on the timing of the film. And the reason we made it was … the thing that we’ve said for years is, if it happened then, it can happen now. If it happened once, it can happen again.” Erwin told The Christian Post that he traveled to Asbury University to witness the new revival firsthand. “It felt just like the scenes of the movie, like it felt identical, just the emotion of it, which was why we made the movie,” he said. “I just want it to feel awakening, a little bit; renewal, a little bit. And you felt it in that room.”
Starring Kelsey Grammer, Jesus Revolution tells the true story of Pastor Chuck Smith (Grammer) who welcomed hippies into his traditional congregation at the height of the Jesus movement in California during the 1970s. The movie tells the story of how Pastor Smith’s church was struggling and he feared being let go due to his failure to numerically grow the church (in fact, it was gradually shrinking in size), when God sent a young man named Gregg Laurie who was on a spiritual journey to meeting Jesus. Gregg Laurie and his hippie friends changed that church, but also changed Pastor Chuck Smith and he became the father-figure of the Jesus People movement.
Actor Kelsey Grammar broke down in tears last week on the popular tv talk show Live with Kelly and Ryan as he shared with hosts Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest how doing this movie has changed his life and turned him into a follower of Jesus. Lionsgate is opening the movie nationwide Friday after holding special screenings on Ash Wednesday. And, the movie has similarly impacted the hordes of young adults who have attended it. God is doing something dramatic today. Perhaps the time has come for another Jesus People revival, that 1970’s revival which saw people such as myself become followers of the Lord. May it be so, Lord! Amen.