A couple of weeks ago in Calvary’s “First Taste” seminar (an intro to Calvary seminar) someone asked me this question, “You keep referring to Calvary as a movement, what do you mean by that?” Great question. I do often refer to the Calvary movement. What do I mean by that?
I mean that the church is not a place, it is a people. When we give the church an address, we cannot help but slow the movement. For the vast majority of the people in America, a church has an address. Most new church start-ups in America find that they grow substantially after they own an address, because a church without a place is suspect.
I mean that the church is not primarily an organization, it is an organism. Forgive me Robert, but when your Rules of Order became the hallmark of church business meetings we took a step (perhaps a few steps) away from movement. The church is an organism. Organization must always submit to the Spirit of Christ.
I mean that the church has a mission. In fact let me specify, the church has a mission outside of itself. An institution also has a mission, but (stereo)typically the mission of an institution sooner or later finds alignment with the enhancement of the institution. Long live the institution. The mission of a movement is bigger than the movement itself. In fact the movement is willing to sacrifice the movement for the cause. This is why consumerism can become so dangerous to the church — consumerism can be a healthy context for the mission of an institution. It is a poisonous context for the mission of a movement. The church has a mission — in fact the church has a co-mission.
I mean that we highly value unity and the character-qualities that give a foundation to unity. Please understand that I’m not talking about uniformity. I believe that movements that require uniformity have a short shelf-life. They lose steam and rarely reach their full potential. Unity does not require uniformity, but it does require alignment on cause and alignment in enough other areas to promote relational connections.
Finally I mean that multitudes of people join the cause. A movement, by definition, involves a multitude. A movement can start with a small group of people, but before it becomes a movement, there is a multitude. Jesus started with 12 core followers — but if that number had not gone past 12, we never would have called it a movement.
So when I say that Calvary is a movement (by the way, I only see Calvary as a part of the larger movement of the church, the more correct statement would be “Calvary is part of a movement.”) what I’m saying is that we desire to focus on people more than place. We desire to focus on the organism more than the organization. We have a mission (a cause) greater than consumerism. We put a high value on unity and we unashamedly believe all people should join the movement.