As mentioned in the previous entry, most of the Jesus House Staff was dismissed at the conclusion of the first summer. I was honored to be part of that staff and yes, I was dismissed along with the others. I stayed around till the weekend because an old friend of mine, John Gould was scheduled to play the Jesus House for the first time. I decided it would be a good final evening and allow me the opportunity to say goodbye to the crowd. John was a big hit from his very first time at the House. For those of you who know him, that is no surprise. John has always been an incredible musician. His preciseness on guitar is a marvel. In addition, I've been listening to him sing since the fall of our senior year in high school and I've never heard him sing a bad note.
Another high school friend drove from my home town to transport me at the conclusion of the evening. All my worldly goods were packed into his car.
Also in attendance that final evening were Dave Phillips, the senior pastor at Highview Christian Church and Richard Engel, the chairman of the board. I appreciated their presence.
Midway through the evening they pulled me aside and asked to talk with me. They had been walking around the grounds praying and the Lord put me on their hearts. The three of us walked outside and they asked me two unexpected questions. The first, "How firm are your nomadic plans?"
"Not very," I said, "Why are you asking?"
Then came the shocker.
"If the church agrees to pay your tuition & books for one seminster at the Bible College and provides you with free housing, will you agree to get a job and continue attending school and pay for it yourself?"
I was stunned by the question and the offer.
The piece they did not know was just a few weeks earlier, I saw how my limited knowledge of the Bible made ministry at the Jesus House difficult. People were continually asking me questions for which I had no answers nor understanding. I prayed that God would provide me with an opportunity to learn the Bible. Now, just a few weeks later, the prayer was being answered.
They told me that I was not required to continue on staff at the Jesus House but if I wanted to I could.
I accepted it all; the opportunity to go to college and learn the Bible, the money for tuition and books, the free place to live and the offer to continue with the House.
The next few months I adapted to studying the Bible in a scholastic setting, lived with a family from church, ran the Jesus House on Saturday evenings, worked at a fast food place to save my next seminster's tuition and continued learning how to run the Jesus House. It wasn't easy, especially with the smaller staff, but God was doing some incredible things in our midst. The biggest lesson I learned that first fall was how any ministry or church grows. The lesson started with a high school senior named Cindy.
More details in the next installment.
This Week in History; Musicians who Performed at the Jesus House the fourth Saturday of October
1971 - Grant Hammond & the Jesus House Singers
1972 - Ron Elkins; Jackie & Brenda
1973 - Ray Terrell; Apocalypse
1974 - Andrew Culverwell
1975 - Crossroads (Their first time!)
1976 - Rich Mullins
1977 - Cannot tell. Too many names crossed out!
1978 - Steve Young
1979 - Zion
1980 - Zion
1981 - Zion
1982 - Zion
1983 - Willoughby-Wilson Band
What's will all those years of Zion playing the fourth week? They used to celebrate their birthday as a band by playing the Jesus House. They usually played around Christmas time too.
Since October is a month that often has a fifth Saturday, here are the people who played on a fifth Saturday.
1976 - Creation INC.
1977 - Becky & Karen; John & Dedra
1981 - Willoughby-Wilson Band
1982 - Willoughby-Wilson Band
1983 - Cathy Snyder
Where Are They Now
The building we used for the Jesus House was originally a judge's house and part of his estate where he bred & raised horses. After the judge died, the family sold off the estate which became the housing development around the House. During construction the building was the office for the construction company. After completion of the housing developement, the building was sold to the Christian Evangelising Fellowship which then used it to start a new church. Once established, Highview Christian Church took over responsibility for the mortgage on the property. The church grew pretty rapidly bought property nearby and eventually contructed a new church building. After years of sitting empty, the building became The Jesus House and continued as such for 14 years.
After the Jesus House closed in January, 1985, the property was sold to a new church. In the fall of 1985 my wife and I were driving around on a Saturday evening and she asked me to take her by the House. My wife did not know me when I ran the House and had never been there. As we drove by the property, I was shocked to see Rick Mapes car in the parking lot. I was hoping he had not forgotten we closed the place, so we stopped and knocked on the door. We learned that Rick was there teaching the current owners how to control the heating. The new owners were very gracious and allowed me to take my wife on a tour of the property, explaining how we used each room. The pastor of the new church was a woman who was living on the upstairs level with her family.
Not sure how long that church lasted but the property is now owned by a private family who is in residence. As you read these memories of the ministry, you might be tempted to drive by the House, perhaps even stop to look around. Please respect the privacy of the current owners and stay off the property. During past Jesus House Reunions, they have allowed us to tour their home. We've not yet been in touch with them to see if that will be possible at our next reunion. If so, you'll know in advance.