Book Review-Becoming Jesus People: Volume 2

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The complete title is, Becoming Jesus People Volume 2: More Inspiring True Stories from the 1970s Jesus People Movement. I read the first volume, Becoming Jesus People: True Stories of How Love Broke Through in the Jesus People Movement last year and was hooked after the first couple of stories. There is something especially powerful about oral histories, even more so since I lived through that period of time.

Book One focuses roughly on 1968-1974 and the spiritual revival that took place around Eugene, Oregon. Of course, the Jesus Movement, as it has come to be called, was a national movement that started on the West Coast. Did you see the movie, The Jesus Revolution? This powerful film covered the start of the Jesus Movement in and around Costa Mesa, California, and told the beautiful story of how Pastor Chuck Smith embraced the hippies and welcomed them into his small, traditional church.

The Becoming Jesus People Books provide incredible snapshots into a number of people’s lives who were transformed by the Gospel. Book One provides amazing first-hand testimonies from the Liberation House, a type of Christian commune near the University of Oregon. There was a home for both men and women, most of whom had come to Christ right out of the hippie movement, many of whom were dealing with drug issues. The homes were highly structured and focused on discipleship.

One of the enduring aspects of the Liberation House ministries is the fact that so many of those who spent time there are still following Jesus today. Many have served in some type of full-time ministry or even missionary work. These testimonies stirred something deep inside of me, reminding me of the freshness that I experienced when I became a Christian in 1977. This move of God was a significant one and will be written and talked about by church historians for years to come!

The stories in each book are so powerful, so compelling that the reader can feel the person’s lostness, their disillusionment, and their desperation as they looked for meaning in sex, drugs, alcohol, and other religions. More than once I had to wipe a tear from my eye as they related how they found Jesus and the immediate difference He made in their lives.

Book Two of Becoming Jesus People contains many more these incredible oral histories, but the focus in this volume is on the church that most of these young Christians attended in Eugene. Pastor Roy Hicks, Jr. was the pastor of Faith Center for over twenty years. When he took over the small congregation at the ripe old age of twenty-five, there were only 100 members. It soon grew to 50 as many of the established members did not know what to make of the young minister.

Pastor Roy, however, like Chuck Smith at Calvary Chapel, wanted to build a different type of church and began to invite in those who had been shunned by more established churches. Hippies and people struggling with different types of issues started flocking to the Sunday services and other meetings, where they were welcomed with love, compassion, and leaders who genuinely wanted to help them experience the full life that Jesus wanted them to have. Liberation House and Faith Center provided a beautiful team to help so many young people find Jesus and get grounded in God’s Word.

Faith Center grew to become a community impacting church of over 5,000 members and was able to plant or pioneer another 60 churches in different cities. Faith Center is still making a difference today in the lives of so many people.

One of the things that I appreciated about both of these great books is that the author allows the people to tell their story in their own words. Everyone had a different experience, but at the same time we see so many common elements reminding us of what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, they are a new person. The old life is gone and a new life has come.”

Don’t just get one of these books- buy them both. You can thank me later!

David and Annie are serving the Lord in the US, India, South America, and Africa. Would you consider joining their team? Just click here to get involved. Thanks so much!

 

 

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