The Essence of Movements


Sociologists Gerlach and Hines are often referred to because of their landmark work regarding change and the nature of movements. Simply stated, they argue that successful movements have five necessary components:

1. Structure
2. Recruitment
3. Commitment
4. Ideology
5. Opposition

Any movement can be evaluated on the basis of this criteria …Christianity, Islam, communism, pentecostalism, environmentalism, the emerging church, etc … When one of these elements is weak or non-existent, the movement is hindered and momentum and effectiveness can be lost. It simply runs out of steam. History is littered with such.

This theory can be descriptive or it can be prescriptive. I can use it to understand the nature of a movement or I can use it to help steer a movement and insure that it incorporates these essentials.

2 Responses to “The Essence of Movements”

  1. Keith Says:

    The step I’m really good at generating is #5. Still working on #1-4.

    : – )

  2. Sam Says:

    I’m just glad that any opposition you encounter is always external to the movement of which you are a part and never inside!

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