Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Keep Challenging Your Status Quo and Comfort Zone

Written by: on April 27, 2023

“Because small groups engender strong bonds, loose connections provide greater numbers,

and a common purpose gives direction.”

­-Greg Satell-


After completing and submitting assignments in two courses, my wife and I went to the cinema to watch Jesus Revolution movie. The movie depicts a spiritual revolution in Costa Mesta, Southern California in early 1970s. The movement began when a senior pastor, Chuck Smith, chose to open the doors of his church to a group of hippies, despite opposition from a few influential persons in his church. He took the risk of being left by some people for two reasons. First, his church was experiencing saturation, stagnation, and even a decline in quantity. Pastor Smith felt a spiritual drought because the church had long been in a comfort zone.

The second reason is that Pastor Smith eventually agreed to accept and embrace the hippies because a hippie preacher, Lonnie Frisbee, convinced Pastor Smith that young hippies needed answers to their long search for peace, freedom, and joy, which led them trapped in drug use. Therefore, according to Frisbee, those young people needed Jesus. By accepting this group of hippies, more and more people, especially young people, came to be baptized and personally receive Christ as their Lord and Savior. They grew into an extensive network through media coverage at the time, such as radio, TV, and magazines (TIME?). This movement became more widely heard. People came from various places, causing a spiritual explosion or revolution so that the church’s goal of reaching as many people as possible could be achieved.

The Jesus Revolution movie and Greg Satell’s writing intersect in their values, for example, criticizing the status quo. The Jesus Revolution movie criticizes the comfort of the church’s status quo, though there was a significant decline in congregation numbers due to young people leaving. They refused to accept the hippies because they viewed them as dirty, disorderly, and wild. Satell, also mentions the tendency of refusing a movement in his book. He describes, “Whether it is a movement to lift up the oppressed, to improve healthcare or education, to turn around a failing company, or to advocate for a new corporate initiative, change of any kind threatens the status quo, which never yields its power gracefully. There will always be a backlash. That is the physics of change. Every action provokes a reaction.”[1] Satell argues, “Everybody has something they want to change, whether it is something in their community, their organization, their industry, or throughout society as a whole. However, not everybody wants the same change. What excites and inspires some, others fear.”[2]

According to Satell’s fifth principle, the movement and revolution for change do not need violence.  Satel describes, “The reason that nonviolent uprisings deliver better results than violent ones is that they invite far more participation. The goal of a movement is to mobilize, not to administer purity tests.”[3] Satell says, “Successful movements understand this and are grateful for any help they can get.”[4] Pastor Smith’s approach of choosing a “peaceful approach” towards the hippies who came to his church has a pattern similar to Greg Satell’s fifth principle of non-violence. Rather than driving them away or using authoritarian tactics, he showed them hospitality and love, welcoming them with a sincere heart. He even washed their feet as they at the first time entered the church (a moment that moved me to tears). This approach helped to spread the Calvary Chapel movement even further.

However, initial success should not make us complacent. According to Satell’s sixth principle, a movement tends to fail once it has achieved initial success or is in the middle of its journey. Satell writes, “Every movement has an immediate goal. Once those immediate goals are achieved, however, change movements often fall apart.”[5] Satell reminds us of the importance of maintaining the values that a movement fights for and not changing them when initial success has been achieved. Satell reminds, “Successful movements survive victory by staying true to their values even after the initial triumph. If Nelson Mandela had looked to take revenge for his many years of suffering after he took power, instead of bringing white Afrikaners into the society he sought to create, he would never have become the revered figure he is today.”[6] In the Jesus Revolution movie, Pastor Smith reminded the hippie preacher, Lonnie Frisbee, to manage and control his ego, as their struggle was about and for God, not about humans, and not about the pastors as well. Frisbee and his wife then decided to separate and go to another place. However, at the end of the story, it is reported that Frisbee and his wife reunited with Pastor Smith.

The Jesus Revolution movie and the book Cascade demonstrate that in movements or revolutions, similar patterns always emerge. The pattern or formula, according to Satell is, “small groups, loosely connected, and united by a common purpose.”[7] The main reasons are “Small groups, loosely connected, have a strange power to synchronize,”[8] and “because small groups engender strong bonds, loose connections provide greater numbers, and a common purpose gives direction”[9]. Satell and the Jesus Revolution movie inspire me to believe that leadership in Christianity requires questioning comfort zones and challenging the status quo while constantly discerning the truth of God’s Word to make impacting difference and change. And it can be initiated by “small groups, loosely connected, but united by a common purpose.”[10]

[1] Greg Satell, Cascades: How to Create a Movement That Drives Transformational Change (New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2019)

[2] Satell, Cascades.

[3] Satell, Cascades, 234.

[4] Satell, Cascades.

[5] Satell, Cascades, 235.

[6] Satell, Cascades.

[7] Satell, Cascades, 19.

[8] Satell, Cascades, 65.

[9] Satell, Cascades, 75.

[10] Satell, Cascades, 19.

About the Author


Dinka Utomo

Dinka Nehemia Utomo is an ordained pastor of the Protestant Church in the Western part of Indonesia (Gereja Protestan di Indonesia bagian Barat or GPIB). He has served for more than 15 years. The first five years of his ministry were in the remote area of East Kalimantan, including people from the indigenous Dayak tribe in the small villages in the middle of the forest, frequently reached using small boats down the river. For more than 15 years, Dinka has served several GPIB congregations in several cities in Indonesia. He has always had a passion for equipping Christian families, teaching and guiding them to build equal relations between husband and wife, maintaining commitment, love, and loyalty, creating a healthy and constructive Christian family atmosphere, and rejecting all forms of violence and sexual violence. Dinka's beloved wife, Verra, is also a GPIB pastor. They have two blessed children. Dinka and his wife and children love to spend quality family time, such as lunch or dinner, and vacation to exotic places.

6 responses to “Keep Challenging Your Status Quo and Comfort Zone”

  1. mm Tim Clark says:

    Dinka, what a great connection between Cascades and Jesus Revolution. That was a great story of God’s working in a unique way in the 70’s and I’ve prayed often for Him to do it again. While it will and must look different, my guess is that God will use small groups, loosely connected but united with a common purpose” to accomplish it.

    I’m so blessed to be in the cohort and peer group with you. You teach me a lot from your posts and your life. The next 2 years journeying with you will be rich! See you in September.

    • mm Dinka Utomo says:

      Indeed, Tim! I have observed a connection between the Cascades and the Jesus Revolution. Additionally, I pray that a spiritual revolution similar to that may transpire in various parts of the world by the divine will. Furthermore, while watching the film and observing the character of Pastor Smith, I was reminded of you, Tim! I am deeply grateful to God, especially for how He has worked through our cohort and peer group and also through you, for wholeheartedly accepting me as a new friend and brother in Christ and to provide me with unwavering support. See you in September. Blessings

  2. Adam Harris says:

    I saw the trailer for that and watched a documentary a while back on Lonnie Frisbee but have not seen the movie. That is a great example and connection to Greg’s book on movements. It was so unconventional, which tends to be the trend in Christian history. God moves outside of our boxes and our traditional assumptions, (inside us all) reject it. One of my favorite quotes from Richard Rohr is “the last move of God, will be the greatest obstacle to the next one.” God never plays by our rules! Thanks for sharing

  3. mm Dinka Utomo says:

    Indeed, I concur with your statement. The love and workings of God are consistently beyond our comprehension and imagination. We must remain mindful of this fact and respond with unwavering faith.
    Thanks for your comment, Adam!

  4. mm Jana Dluehosh says:

    Dinka, I loved how you weaved the story of the Jesus Revolution with Cascades. May your ministry in Indonesia experience cascades of blessings, especially with marriages! Can’t wait to see you in Oxford!

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