Would you like your own holiday like Martin Luther King, Jr? It’s simple: start a significant Movement… and, then, be willing to die for it.
Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, recognizing his birth on January 15, 1929. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the unelected yet undisputed leader of the Civil Rights Movement in America; his approach was nonviolent, and his message was instructive and inspiring. Martin Luther King, Jr. is most remembered for his “I Have a Dream” speech before 250,000 people, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. It is remembered as the “defining moment of the civil rights movement.” Sadly, he was assassinated five years later; Martin Luther King. Jr. was 39.
Movements are mysterious; they’re much more difficult to identify and quantify than organizations. Organizations are legal entities; when formed, they have articles of incorporation, officers, a board… and a virtual birth certificate. They file tax returns; their activities are measured – numerically – and tracked for growth and decline, profit and loss. They have competition; they employ staff; they reward shareholders: you know what they’ve accomplished, and they live-or-die based on empirical factors. They may make some – the fortunate – wealthy; at best, they’ll do no harm while they create value for their owners and employees.
Movements live in a different atmosphere than organizations. They have no official birth date, and – if effective – they are able to live beyond the lifespans of their adherents. They’re impossible to audit, because their success factors are not subject to inventory and headcounts. Their successes include visible and invisible outcomes; they are likely to spawn additional spin-off efforts that gain traction and go places that the original movement would have never reached. They change the world.
Movements come in two basic types: oppositional, and propositional. The Oppositional stands against something… but, often, fails to say what they’re for. Occupy Wall Street was oppositional. They knew what they were against, but it’s not clear what they were for.
Propositional movements are defined by a message that inspires loyalty and sacrifice. Though they may require protest to gain audience or demonstrate the power of their followership, at the end of the day, they have a truth that they’re calling into action. The Civil Rights Movement was propositional; they embraced the best of what America declared itself to be and had yet failed to put into reality.
Today, you’re probably on modified assignment: your office is closed to the public, even if you’ve snuck in to get some work done. Schools are closed; banks are shuttered; mail won’t be delivered; government workers aren’t working. The day has been set-aside to remember the leader of a Movement. The Civil Rights movement resulted in accomplishments in America… but the movement has not gone out of vogue, because we still have corrections and improvements to make until we get to the day when all men and women who have been created equal are equal – before the law, throughout society – and we reflect the highest ideals expressed in what our founders wrote.
Today, the leaders of another Movement are meeting in Houston; as Dr. King said in Washington 55 years ago, they have a dream for a future that is dramatically different than the current reality. They recognize that the documents inspired by their founders portrayed a reality that has not yet been achieved, but they’re committed to progress toward the achievement.
The founders were the leaders inspired by the Lord Jesus Christ. Their documents archived Jesus’ declaration that the Gospel would go to every people group, drawing people from every language (7000+ at last count) into His Movement. To accomplish that – in every generation – would involve people finding their divine assignment and fulfilling it.
In Houston this weekend, scores of leaders from The Barnabas Group, The Master’s Program for Women and The Master’s Program are mobilizing to unleash Christian leaders into Kingdom Leadership. A bold initiative that has been accelerating for 20+ years, and is at a Tipping Point.
Would you pray for us as we conspire to inspire? We have a Dream…