In the late 1960s, young Greg Laurie (Joel Courtney, The Kissing Booth) is searching for all the right things in all the wrong places, until he meets Lonnie Frisbee (Jonathan Roumie, The Chosen), a charismatic, hippie street preacher who became an integral part of the Vineyard Movement.

Pastor Chuck Smith (Kelsey Grammer, Frasier), who leads a “respectable” if languishing church, is unimpressed.

“I think these kids need help,” says his wife.

“What they need is a bath,” retorts Pastor Chuck.

“You’re passing judgment on people you know nothing about,” argues their daughter. “Maybe that’s why your church is so empty.”

At first Pastor Chuck is cynical, but with Lonnie, he opens the doors of his church to an unexpected revival of radical and newfound love, leading to what TIME magazine dubbed the Jesus Revolution.

A Deeper Change

While I knew it would be a great film, now in theatres, I wasn’t expecting it to impact me the way it did.

While watching Jesus Revolution, core memories from my childhood came flooding to me. The incredible music, cinematography, set and costume design placed me back in North Vancouver, B.C., in 1972, where I grew up. 

After I was born, my parents committed their lives to Christ and were radically converted. The church we attended in our neighbourhood of Lynn Valley was profoundly impacted by the Jesus Movement, as were many churches throughout the province, and eventually, across the country. 

The music in my church changed as drums and electric guitars made their way to the stage. It wasn’t just the worship sets that changed—though I did appreciate the change it brought to my parents’ record collection (many of the bands and artists that came out of this time period became leaders within the Jesus Movement: Barrie McGuire, Second Chapter of Acts, Keith Green)—it was something much deeper.

“Let’s Do It Again”

The people sitting next to me changed.

I could look down the pew any Sunday and see leather-clad bikers sitting next to an older man in a suit and tie, sitting next to a long-haired 20-something, sitting next to me. This eclectic community began to do life together. We attended tent meetings, camped over weekends at outdoor music festivals, handed out gospel tracts and ran a coffee house out of our church basement. We truly were a family, brought together by a passion to reach a generation that was seeking something substantial. Something real. Something that would last. Something true. 

The Jesus Movement was a revival rooted in love. That pure love is what changed lives—and drew me closer to Jesus.

During my rebellious years, it was these childhood experiences that pulled me back in. I was reminded of God’s goodness and grace, and He reminded me of His unconditional love. 

Jesus Revolution is based on the book of the same title by Pastor Greg Laurie, founder of Harvest Christian Fellowship, a retelling of his first-hand conversion experience with Lonnie Frisbee and Pastor Chuck Smith. An impressive film that does a great job of detailing the incredible spiritual awakening of the 1960s and ’70s and how God moved during that time, it absolutely has implications for us today. 

• What could a revival today look like? 

• Who are the “outcasts” of today? 

• How can we show them they are loved?

Jesus Revolution will remind those who lived it of how God’s Word swept through nations, changing the path for an entire generation of hippies, outcasts and truth-seekers, and it will hopefully inspire people to pray, “Lord, do it again.” 

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On Monday, March 13, 2023, Sharleen Mctaggart said:

Love your article and as a salvationist just wondering if it's going to be included in a faith and friends periodical?

Editor: Yes, look for it in the May-June print edition.

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