The Church must be forever building,and always decaying, and always being restored. T. S. Eliot
I grew up in a Baptist church. I came to faith in a Youth for Christ rally. In my teens and twenties the church I attended was shaped by the influence of Evangelicalism, the Charismatic renewal and the Church Growth Movement. In high school I joined the Interschool Christian Fellowship. At university I joined Intervarsity. In my early twenties I spent two years with Youth With a Mission in Holland. In my thirties I joined Church Resource Ministries to pursue a call to fuel a nation wide church planting movement in Australia. My life and ministry are richer today because of this diversity of influences. All of the entities that shaped my Christian faith are movements within the world Christian movement.
Christianity, as a religious movement, is comprised of groups of people pursuing corporate and personal change. Christianity is a movement of movements - Catholicism, Monasticism, Protestantism, Evangelicalism, Pentecostalism - to name a few. Each of these movements within Christianity is served by movement organizations - the Benedictines, the Presbyterians, the Assemblies of God, the Church Missionary Society. These movement organizations see to accomplish the objects of the movements they serve.
I was corrupted in my first year of church history at our denominational college. I discovered that church history is not just the history of theology. It is the history of the movements that have shaped who we are today. There is one church down through the ages. Yet that one church is in a constant state of flux as new movements and others decline. Church history is the story of the people and groups who have changed the world. We can learn from their experiences - from their successes and failures - and apply the lessons in what God is calling us to do in our generation.