Thursday, November 6, 2008

The First Autumn

After a summer of constant activity with new people every week and continual requests for baptisms, the fall seemed very slow. Attendance at the weekly concerts had dropped significantly. It was very rare to have students dropping by during the week. Grant started a weekly Bible study but very few people participated.

Even with the small attendance at the concerts, (usually 40-50) there was a loyal crowd which included a steady group of people from Norwood who were part of a Lutheran Church. Whitey and Jo brought the youth group which included their two daughters. The entire family was a weekly source of encouragement.

I was pretty occupied with school, working an evening job at a fast-food restaurant and keeping my hair short (Remember dress codes? I had it at both school and work!). Since I was living with a family in the neighborhood, I was not around the Jesus House very much during the week. Usually I showed up early on Saturday evening to meet the artist for the evening and set up our sound system. Most of the time the sound system was two microphones plugged into a Fender Twin Reverb amp. We thought we were high tech whenever an artist showed up with a Sure Vocal Master system!

A significant event occured that fall which would have a profound impact on the Jesus House and teach me a valuable lesson about how a ministry or church grows.
One Sunday afternoon in September I attended a youth concert at a Christian Church in Finneytown. At the conclusion of the concert, the youth minister, Gary Boys, asked if anyone had any announcements. I stood up at the back of the auditorium and invited everyone to visit the Jesus House for one of our Saturday night concerts. The following week a high school senior from Forest Park High School named Cindy showed up with a friend. From that night, Cindy showed up on Saturday nights every week. I soon noticed that she always had a car load of people from her school. After a month or so I noticed two car loads, then three. I asked Cindy what she was doing to bring so many people from her high school. It was then she explained her weekly activity. Everyday, during school, usually between classes, she invited people to come with her to the Jesus House. She invited people who were friends and people she didn't know. Cindy began a movement. Soon, others who visited and liked the Jesus House began copying her. The enthusiasm spread to Greenhills and Princeton High Schools. Attendance at the House began to increase. By spring we were having crowds of 100-150. 50% was usually from Forest Park & Greenhills. The impact of Cindy's efforts continued for several years. Many, many of those students became Christians. I'm still in touch with some of those students, one of whom was Christopher Adams, who soon took on a very significant role at the Jesus House and in my life. More on him later!

This Week in History: Artists Who Performed at the Jesus House the First Weekend of November

1971 - Suni McGrath (The first performer other than Randy Matthews to have a record on a major label!)
1972 - Restoration
1973 - Grant Hammond
1974 - Deny Brigance (Perhaps his first?)
1975 - Sharon Wilson & Tony Ross
1976 - adamsfishyodor (The first afo reunion tour)
1977 - Jim Bankowski
1978 - Michelle Klaas (music), Rod Ellis (Dramatic performance of the Apostle John)
1979 - Lisa Allen & Barb Schock
1980 - Rob Rodebush
1981 - Forerunner
1982 - Coco Rock
1983 - Don Dickey

Where Are They Now?
Most of the people I reference in this blog are mentioned with first names only. This is because I have not asked for permission to tell their stories. The musicians and staff are different because we used to regularly advertise their names.
Of the people mentioned in this installment, Cindy is married with children and has a very successful business with her husband. They still live in the Cincinnati area. I have not had contact with Whitey & Jo but met a grand daughter at a memorial service some years ago.

If anyone I mention wants to leave a comment to let us know about your life those details are very welcome.

For the first months of the ministry, I've moved pretty slow through the chronology. This will not always be the case. I have fourteen years to cover during the next six months. I will discontinue this blog the first of May, 2009 when we have our next, and final, reunion. The final post will include a list of artists who performed during the summer months.

You might have noticed that I am a little behind in my posts. This is due to a crazy work and travel schedule. I hope to catch up this weekend.

1 comment:

MarcO said...

Hi Terry,

Whitey, Jo, Sandy aka Sam and Kimmie Slayback were great friends to me. I miss them.

Whitey went home to The Lord around 1987.

I know they all used to attend First Christian Assembly of God. Sandy married Mike Vansky and I believe their daughter's name is Tina. Tina went to Cincy Bible Seminary (whatever it's called now). I'm sure she has graduated by know. Joanne was having difficulty walking, the last time I saw her. I've lost track of them, but I cherish the time I spent at their home. They were really a blessing for the kids that lived in Norwood. Or as the locals call it Nor'd.

Blessings,
Marc O'Hara