New Awakening: Manifestations

The preceding posts in this series have identified signs that we are in a time of new Awakening. But the signs do not stand alone. They give rise to manifestations of the awakening by those who are responding to God’s call to be lights to the world and instruments of God’s peace. Today, I want to name some of the ways people are advancing the new Awakening. [1]

First, there are multiple movements manifesting the new Awakening. In fact, history reveals that awakenings are advanced by movements before (and often more than) they are in institutions. The early Methodist movement is an example, and it is the one I know the most about. From the early Methodists I have learned that awakenings are group experiences.

In relation to the new Awakening today, the one I know most about is the New Monasticism. [2] But there many other movements manifesting new-awakening visions and practices. I think quickly of The Poor People’s Campaign, the Pace e Bene nonviolent ministry, and Red Letter Christians.Second, the new Awakening is manifested by institutes (often related to movements) which educate people to live and serve in the new things God is doing. The School for Conversion is an example of an educational ministry connected to the new monasticism. In addition the Renovaré Institute, Apprentice Institute, Willard Institute, CAC Living School, and the Academy for Spiritual Formation are helping people fulfill God’s call to train themselves in godliness (1 Timothy 4:7).

In this context, we can see the contribution of theological education in the new Awakening as new degree programs aimed at transformational leadership are created in existing seminaries. Additionally, new schools have emerged (e.g. Northwind Theological Seminary, Neighborhood Seminary, and the One Spirit Interfaith Seminary) which seek to educate laity and clergy for re-formation ministries in ways that maintain quality but deliver the curriculum in ways that are non-traditional, accessible, and affordable.

Third, there are denominational manifestations of the new Awakening. Just as there was a Counter Reformation within the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century, there are mainline manifestations of renewal occurring today. I think immediately of the Fresh Expressions emphasis and the House-Church phenomenon. But even within existing boards, agencies, and publishing houses of denominations there are ministries and resources that are advancing the new Awakening. And the same holds true for the Roman Catholic and Orthodox branches of Christianity.

These manifestations (and many more) are further confirmations that we are in the midst of a new Awakening. The fact is, awakenings are validated by the multitude of means God uses to bring them to pass. The presence of manifestations all over the place is an indication that the new Awakening is happening.[1] I had originally planned to write a separate post about each manifestation, but that would mean making this series longer than I have the energy to make it. So, I will only write this one post and point to the manifestations I see most clearly. In the future, I will point to additional manifestations of the new Awakening on my Facebook page. I invite you to be in touch to tell me of any new-Awakening movements/ministries that you have found.

[2] I have written a book about it, ‘Fresh Wind Blowing.’ And among many others on the subject, I recommend Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove’s book, ‘ New Monasticiam.’ In the book he provides an excellent overview of the movement, including twelve manifestations of it. The book, ‘Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals’ has been published to provide a worship resource for the new monasticism and the many communities which have spring up to incarnate it

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
This entry was posted in New Awakening. Bookmark the permalink.