The hippie-led “Jesus Revolution” of the 1960s and 1970s launched multiple ministries, sparked a nationwide revival, and eventually became the subject of a major theatrical film.
The Jesus Revolution – sometimes called the Jesus Movement – also had a major impact on a young teenager in Kenova, W.Va., named Michael W. Smith.
“I'm doing this interview with you,” Smith told Christian Headlines, “because of what happened in Southern California.”
Smith credits the Jesus Movement for his passion for Christ and Christian music. A three-time Grammy winner and 14-time nominee, Smith says as a tween and teen he often listened to the songs by Maranatha! Music, a ministry that was founded in 1971 by Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel to promote the music of the era’s Christian hippies. Chuck Smith – no relation to Michael W. Smith – is portrayed by actor Kelsey Grammer in the faith-based hit movie Jesus Revolution, which was released on digital home video April 11 and will release on DVD/Blu-ray April 25.
“I was like 12 years old – probably 13 or 14 when I first got that first Maranatha record, which was the Everlasting Living Jesus Music Concert – the first Maranatha record that came out of Calvary,” Michael W. Smith said.
The Everlasting Living Jesus Music Concert, released in 1971, included songs by multiple artists, including Love Song. Love Song is portrayed in Jesus Revolution.
“The Jesus Movement literally found its way to my little tiny town of Kenova, West Va., 5,000 people,” Smith told Christian Headlines. “All my buddies were smoking pot and drinking beer. I was in Bible studies every night, singing all these songs from Maranatha from Calvary Church, all because of Chuck Smith and him opening up his church to those hippies. And it changed my life.”
Jesus Revolution was made by the same filmmakers who produced I Can Only Imagine. It grossed more than $50 million at the box office and stayed in the Top 10 for five weeks.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Terry Wyatt/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.