I grew up in a small community just outside of Birmingham, Alabama in the 60s. It was a time when Birmingham was in the news for all the wrong reasons. It was a time of racial division filled with hatred and violence. Birmingham was referred to as “Bombingham” due to the number of bombings tied to hate crimes. Dr. Martin Luther King declared Birmingham as the most segregated city in the United States.
There was also something else going on behind the scenes in Birmingham in those days. There was a spiritual revolution taking place among the youth population. Young men and women were coming to Christ in large numbers, and many of them were answering the call to Christian ministry. I was one of those. History records that period of time as “The Jesus Movement” or “The Jesus Revolution.” It was a great move of the Holy Spirit that swept across the nation ushering multiplied thousands into God’s kingdom.
It has now been more than 40 years since America has seen that kind of move of God although many are still praying for such a movement.
Now that story is coming to the big screen. On October 16 of this year, the movie, Woodlawn, will be released across the United States. It is the story of what can happen in a high school, a city, even a nation, when God shows up.
I want to encourage every church and every pastor I know to use Woodlawn as a tool for spiritual renewal and racial reconciliation in your community. This past year has painfully reminded us of how far we have to go in race relations in our nation. The Erwin Brothers, Andy and Jon, have given the church a marvelous gift for spiritual conversations to take place in every community.
Woodlawn is the story of a movement that could spark another in our day and time. I encourage you to put October 16 on your calendar. That might just be the date when history records once again what can happen when God shows up.