Sunday, April 11, 2021


Encountering the Jesus Movement

After my Wednesday evening experience at church, (Se my post about Coming to Christ) I began to try and attend church on a somewhat regular basis. The church was made up of about 100 working class people and part of the Assembly of God denomination. There was a small teen group in the church which I was immediately shuffled into. I didnt last long there.  To me it was a group of a few bored church kids being treated like little kids, playing silly church games led by two adult leaders. I remember thinking to myself, This is not what I got saved for.” The regular church services where better, and I particularly enjoyed the Wednesday night service. The singing and personal stories and Bible study actually fed me. Still, I didnt fit in. It didnt help that the church was 30 miles away in another community.

Outside of church I was struggling.  I did tell a few friends what had happened and one close friend actually came to a Wednesday night with me and prayed to receive Christ. However he never went back. Another close friend outright rejected what I said and it caused a rift in our friendship. I did purchase a Bible, though I wasnt sure how to read it and no one at the church helped with that.  I began to read some Christian books and that helped solidify my experience.  My mom was off on her own and I rarely saw her. My father, whom I also worked for, was highly skeptical and at times mocked my newfound faith.

I had met another young man at church who was my age. He was a good guy, but definitely a church kid.” He recognized my struggle to fit into the church culture and told me of someone who knew some Christians who were like me, meaning long haired hippy types. After church on a Sunday I drove to the address he gave me and parked in front of a small house. There was a sign that said, Solomons Porch. I knocked on the door and was invited in.  There were some college age guys, hippies, yet Christians. We talked for a while and I could tell that these were Jesus People,” like I had heard about.  We talked for a while. I visited again and they invited me to a meeting they were doing in Indianapolis. I went along, but I never really clicked with this group.

I was near to graduating from high school. It was a confusing time. I had no plans for my future and no one to help direct me. No one in my family came to my graduation. My parents, at my fathers insistence had finalized their divorce the day after my graduation. It was almost a relief to me, knowing the fights and screaming would end. I began to work for a family friend and continued to work for my father. For an 18-year-old I was making decent money, and my dad had purchased an older, but decent car for me.  Many of my friends were now using drugs. I dabbled a few times. I tried dating a few girls, but I was pretty awkward with them and nothing worked out. Part of this was because the Spirit of God was chasing me and I knew I should be with a girl who would follow Christ. Through all this drifting I was trying to understand what it meant to follow Christ. At the same time my church attendance slowed down to almost nothing and no one at the church reached out to me. I continued to keep in loose contact with the hippie Christians from Solomon’s Porch through the summer.

As summer drifted into fall my father came to me with a proposal. He offered to pay the rent on an apartment for my mother and myself if I would move out of his house. As I had no other options I agreed. Part of me hoped I would be able to rescue my mother from her alcoholism.  We rented a small apartment in another town, the place where my mom did her drinking. I could see this would never work so just a few weeks later I convinced her to move to Anderson, where most of her family lived. I was hoping being near her brothers and sister might help her stop drinking. Within a few weeks it was clear that this would not work either. She kept drinking and I was responsible to pick her up when the bars closed. This was not the life I wanted. One evening I decided I had had enough. I took my mother, who was drunk at the time, and drove to my Dads house and just dropped her off. The next day I rented a small apartment and from then on, I was on my own.

I was able to get a part-time job at a local department store. Between that and my dad still paying the rent I was able to get by.  I still was not attending church, but knew I needed to do so. One night while driving from work, I spoke out loud saying, I wish I had something to read tonight.” As soon as I said this, I saw a rolled-up newspaper lying in the street. I stopped and picked it up to read later at home. While reading the paper I came across a small notice of a Jesus People” meeting happening that weekend at a church in Muncie, Indiana. I decided to go.

It was a meeting sponsored by a Baptist church and some students from Taylor university. I remember there being some music groups, testimony, etc. The meetings took place Friday evening and all-day Saturday. The last act was a former biker, now piano playing evangelist. His songs and testimony touched me, yet I was still a bit confused about what I needed to do in order to follow Christ. As the meeting concluded I hung around, determined to speak with him before he left.  Eventually it was just him and me in the sanctuary and he asked me if I needed to talk. I told him that I was confused. I thought I had come to Christ but was still unsure if I was saved. He walked me through a couple of Scriptures including 1 John 5:13, and Romans 10:9&10, and he prayed with me. I felt the uncertainty lift and just knew that I indeed was saved and was following Christ. From that time till now, I have never doubted that Christs sacrificial death on the cross was sufficient for my salvation and redemption.

 The Fishermen and Jerrys

Just shortly after attending the meetings in Muncie I also learned that The Fishermen, the group from Solomon’s, were singing at an evening meeting at a church in Pendleton, IN. I decided to go and see them.  The meeting was small, 20-30 people. The Fishermen played and sang, preaching a little bit and giving testimonies. It was a typical Jesus People” type meeting.  As it ended, and I was walking toward my car, I was approached by a young woman about my age. She handed me a business card that said on one side,Smile. God Loves You.” On the other side listed a ministry called,Where angels Rejoice,” with the address, phone number and two scriptures. She invited me to attend the meetings that were held nightly. I took the card, but as I went toward my car, I felt compelled to return to the church. Once inside, while the Fishermen where packing up, I knelt at the altar and began to weep uncontrollably. Looking back, I can see that the Holy Spirit was doing some inner healing in me.  I finally stopped crying and was the approached by one of the guys from the Fishermen. He apologized for having been rude to me the last time I had been at Solomons porch. I accepted his apology and then left for home.

The next day I called the phone number on the card that I had been given. I reached a woman who told me that there were meetings every night at her home. Her son, Jerry, led the meetings and she said I was welcome, and that a lot of young people attended. I decided to attend that evening.  In my mind I pictured a small gathering of young people seated in a circle, studying the Bible while an adult led.  I was in for a surprise.

Read about my surprise in my post about Jerry's called "First Impressions several pages below this entry.

 How I came to Christ

I was raised in an average blue collar suburban family of the 1950’s and ’60’s. The family included Dad who worked, Mom who stayed home, three sons, and various dogs and cats through the years. We were the typical post WW2 family chasing the American dream. During my elementary school years we lived in a new sub-division in a new split level home. Though my father was a factory worker and didnt wear suits and ties we looked much like theOzzie and Harriet” or Father Knows Best” families that we saw on TV. Chasing the American dream and catching it would not be my family’s reality.  There was never enough  to make everyone happy. A heritage of alcoholism and a broken first marriage hung like a pall over my mothers second marriage to my father.

My parents were not religious. There was a very large family Bible on a bookshelf which was, I believe, a gift to them from my paternal grand-parents for their wedding. In all my years living with my parents I never saw either of them pick it up and read it, and we never attended church.

In spite of the lack of spiritual influence in my life I was God conscious at an early age. I dont remember ever questioning the existence of God. As a first grader I remember being invited to go to church with a neighboring family.  It turned out to not be a good experience and I didnt go again. I have some memories of talking or praying to God at an early age. I was a reader and read anything and everything I could. Through books, at about age 10, I began to seek some knowledge of anything supernatural. I read several books about supernatural phenomena but was frustrated by no real experience. I read stories of flying saucers and hoped to see one, but never did. I occasionally flipped through my parents Bible, mostly looking at the pictures of Biblical events.

As I entered my teen years our family began to crash and burn. Anger and alcoholism took their toll and paid off with despair and destruction. When I graduated 6th grade everyone in our graduating class received a Gideon’s New Testament I put it with other books on my bookshelf. Fifth through seventh grade was a nightmare, as my parents struggled with their marriage. We moved and I did not fit into the new school. I was lonely and depressed. We moved again the next year to another home and a new school in a small community. During that time, I began to try and read my New Testament but could not make sense of it. I continued to look toward the supernatural and reincarnation to help understand my desire for something more than I was experiencing in life. During the next several years I went to church twice, but I couldn’t see any reason why people would waste a Sunday morning do so.

When I was 14 a local Masonic lodge offered a scholarship every year for one young teen in our little town to attend summer camp. I was invited and my Dad encouraged me to go primarily because he was interested keeping those who invited me happy. The camp was a typical summer camp, offering swimming, fishing and other camp related activities. Looking back, I understand now that it was a Christian camp. Every night there was a campfire and the leader spoke about Christ and had a devotional talk. Near the end of the week, I spoke with this man and he led me in a prayer to receive Christ. I did so, but I was not really sure what I had done. There was no follow up to help me either. Around this same time period I again tried to read my New Testament, but it was unfathomable. The only thing that I thought I understood was that divorce would probably send my mom to hell. I discovered a sinners prayer printed in the back of the book. I remember filling it out and dating it but there was still no real change that happened in my life. I was sincere in doing so. There was no one in my life to teach me or mentor me.

Probably a year later, I was invited by some church going people in our little community, to attend a free film at the local theater. Unknown to me, it was a Billy Graham evangelistic movie. I attended that night and responded to an invitation” to speak to someone about receiving Christ.” I dont remember much more than that. I assume that I prayed what I later came to know as the sinners prayer.” The leaders did follow up, enrolling me in a 6 lesson Bible study. Every lesson completed was followed up by receiving a new lesson each week. A church couple visited me at my father’s store, where I worked in the evening. They talked to me briefly and gave me the next lesson.  I completed all the lessons, received a completion certificate and don’ think that I ever heard from them again. Once again, there was no real change in me.

Life continued on. It was now the tumultuous late 1960s Our country was in turmoil political assassinations, the Viet Nam war, rock and roll and the hippie movement. I was attracted to the hippie movement, grew my hair out and loved listening to hard rock. I could see, however, that the idealism of the Hippie sub-culture was impossible for people to actually live out. Instead of love and peace the reality seemed to be more about revolution, drugs and sexual exploitation. In 1970 there were rumors of a Jesus Movement” and hippies who followed Jesus. Time and Look magazine both had articles about what was happening in California and other places. It sounded interesting, but I was still in high school and going to California was not an option for me.

My senior year in high school was both good and not so good. I enjoyed being in school, but my family life was basically destroyed. My mother had finally moved out and continued her deep slide into alcoholism. My father, never a happy man, continued his own destructive journey.  Drugs came late to central Indiana farm and factory communities but by 1970-71 marijuana and other drugs were making headway. Drugs were never appealing to me, though I did smoke marijuana several times and experimented with harder drugs twice. I thought drugs were a waste of time and the deaths of several of my music idols seemed to confirm it.

One day at school I was hanging out in the library where I spent most of my free time. I was browsing through some books and noticed a new paperback book called The Cross and the Switchblade.” Without properly checking the book out of the library I slipped it into my back pocket and took the book home to read. That night as I read I was fascinated by the story of a young hick preacher going to the slums of New York City and seeing heroin addicts and others become Christians and set free from their addiction. As I finished the book I was crying and asked God to help me find some real Christians like the ones I was reading about. 

Several weeks later, while helping clean out a house where my Grandmother had lived, I came across another book. It was titled Gods Smuggler.” The title was intriguing, so rather than toss it into the trash I took it home. The book was about a Dutch man who was hard and bitter from war, but who finds Christ. He enrolled in a Bible College and then decides to dedicate his life to smuggling Bibles into the Soviet Union. I found the book to be fascinating and inspiring. Upon completing the book, I felt the Spirt of the God whom I barely knew tell me that sometime in the future I would serve Him in Russia. Yet, still I was not following Christ openly and really had no idea how to do so.

Soon after reading this book, I had a visit from my oldest half-brother. He and his wife had recently started attending church and they asked me if I would visit with them to see a special young persons program. I really had no desire for church, but I agreed to go. My brother told me, maybe you will see some pretty girls!” What 18-year-old male is not interested in pretty girls? On Wednesday evening that week they picked me up and took me to church. It was late February 1971.

I was not a church goer, and I certainly was not going to dress up for church.  I was 510” and weighed 129 lbs. I had a full blond afro haircut and in our conservative farming community it was not uncommon to have strangers come up to me and tell me that I needed to cut my hair. I wore ragged bell-bottomed jeans, combat boots, a pullover shirt with peace symbols in the design and suspenders embroidered with peace symbols. Looking back in time, it is a wonder that my brother agreed to take me.  To say I clashed with the conservative church culture would be an understatement.

I expected the church people to reject me. Instead, I was warmly welcomed to the service, I actually received a few hugs, which surprised me. There was a buzz of excitement as we found our seats, smack in the middle, just a few rows from the front of the church. Soon a group of Bible college students came to the platform. They had a guitar or two and perhaps some other instruments. The students were just a year or two older than me, which made me feel comfortable, and some of the girls were indeed cute! Soon they began to sing along with the church pianist and the crowd. The songs were new to me, but mostly easy to sing Gospel choruses. I had always enjoyed singing and tried to sing along. I was a little surprised to see some people raising their hands while singing. I supposed it was some sort of religious thing people did. There were a couple of Scriptures read, nothing that I knew, and then the Bible School students took over for the evening.

The students interspersed personal stories with songs, telling the crowd about Christ and what He meant to them. I remember one young guy talking about how powerful and great God was.  He said that his dog had been run over as he watched. He was horrified but ran into the street and began to pray for his now dead dog, commanding it to be healed in the name of Jesus!”  According to his story the dog got right up and ran home.  I was skeptical but the story resonated with the church people.

After songs and stories, the meeting began to reach a climax as the student leader preached a short message. To this day I have no memory of what he preached but it touched me in a way that I needed to be touched. I know he spoke about being saved and going to heaven. I was not sure about heaven, but I knew I had a sin problem and for several years I had been trying to deal with it. With another song the meeting came to an end with the leader inviting anyone who wanted to receive Christ to come forward for prayer.

Much to the surprise of my brother Chuck and his wife, I pushed my way out of the pews and made my way to the front. The Bible school team was there praying for individuals. As I approached a male team member, he asked me, why have you come forward?” My first thought was to say, Because you told us to, stupid!” Instead, I spilled out the words, I think I need to be saved.”  He led me through what I later learned was a pretty standard evangelical, come to Jesus” prayer.” After praying he declared me “saved”, and told me to not let the Devil tell me otherwise. I thought to myself, Devil, these guys believe in a Devil?”

Soon my beaming family found me and introduced me to some church friends.  I felt good, knowing that something had happened, but not sure what. Church ended, we filed out and my brother drove me home. He also encouraged me to not let the devil confuse me and encouraged me to start coming to church.

The evening had been exhilarating, emotional and somewhat confusing as I tried to negotiate my way through the evangelical language and sub-cultural experience. As I went to bed that night, I remember breathing a small prayer, asking God to show me what had happened if indeed anything at all had happened. When I awoke the next morning the first thought that came to my mind was, I dont know what happened last night, but something has changed.” I felt clean inside. While my personal circumstances had not changed yet I knew for the first time that the creator of the universes cared for me as an individual. I knew I was loved, accepted and had value to God.

It was from that day that I began to earnestly try to follow after Christ. The first year was not easy. I had many ups and downs, but I knew who I was, what I had been created for and that I would serve the Lord for the rest of my days.



Monday, October 03, 2016

Greg Hough founding member of Petra, radio interview

It has been several years since I have posted on this site. Just recently I heard an interview with Greg Hough one of the founding members of Petra, probably the best and most well known hard rock band to come out of the Jesus Movement. Greg gave his life to Christ in October of 1971 at "Jerry's" which I have written about in several of our early posts on this blog. Greg mentions a young woman who prophesied over him the Lord would use him and that he would play Rock music for the Lord all over the United States. My memories of Greg is that he was a really nice guy who genuinely wanted to serve the Lord. This interview certainly shows the same guy, more than forty years later. Enjoy this interview.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Ray Renner Story

Ray Renner was one of the leaders of the Jesus Movement in the Anderson area. He was deeply influenced by the Anderson Revival, so much so that it entirely changed the direction of his life. Ray has been blogging about those early days on his own website.

You can read more here:

You will have to visit his web page to see his photos.

Ray has given me permission to copy his testimony to this blog, here it is. Ray will write more in the future. I for one am looking forward to "The Rest of the Story"

Michael McDonald - editor

My Story:
I was born in Billows, KY in 1947. As the pictures above show I was a pretty skinny kid until later in life. I grew up in Somerset where I attended school until I finished my junior year in high school. My family then relocated to Indianapolis, IN where I graduated from Washington High School in 1965. We won the state tournament in basketball that year and then again four years later when one of my brothers graduated. You’d have to understand high school basketball in Indiana in the 60s (before class basketball began) for that to be meaningful.
Soon after graduation I applied for and received a job at Eli Lilly, a leading pharmaceutical company headquartered in Indianapolis. I started out in the service department mopping floors and taking out trash. In fairly short order I interviewed for and received a job as an assistant lab tech and began what was a dream job for me with a lab of my own working for a chemist. I was in heaven I thought. It was short lived as I was drafted into the army in 1967. Hell was on the way.
My entrance into the army was during the height of the Vietnam War. By early March of 1968 I was hiking through the jungles of SE Asia as a member of the 101st Airborne division. Shortly before leaving for ‘Nam I prayed a desperate prayer that went something like this “Lord, if you’ll bring me back from Vietnam alive I’ll do anything you want me to do for the rest of my life.” A huge sense of peace settled over me though I was not really living for the Lord at the time. Nevertheless, somehow I knew I was going to survive Vietnam.
During my year in Vietnam my unit saw a good bit of action. Barely two weeks into the country, I was wounded in a fire fight during the middle of the night. We had set up an ambush along a well worn jungle trail. Shortly after dark all hell broke loose as a company of North Vietnamese soldiers came walking down the trail with their rifles slung over their shoulders. In the first few minutes of the fight I was struck in the hand by a bullet from an AK 47 while feeding ammunition into a machine gun for my partner who was in charge of our position. My hand was in front of my face at the time. The Lord spared my life that night and I spent the next month in the hospital with a bullet wound to my hand. When I returned to my unit a month later I was assigned as a radio telephone operator (RTO), a position I held for the rest of my tour. While that meant that I was carrying an extra 24 lbs on my back it also meant that I knew more about what was going on than most any one else in the company since it was my job to facilitate communication between our company commander and/or first sergeant and our rear command structure. This included calling in artillery and air strikes to support our field operations.
Vietnam -March 1968-Feb 1969

During my year in ‘Nam my unit was first located at Phouc Vinh which was a short drive (not that we were driving) from Ben Hoa Airbase. Later we went on operations near Cu Chi in the Mekong Delta and to a fire base near Dak To in the Central Highlands. The last part of my tour we spent in the northern part of the country. First we went on operations near Hue/ Phu Bai and finally we were stationed at Camp Evans, just north of Hue and south of the DMZ as I recall. Other than an occasional walking patrol near our base, virtually everywhere we went we traveled in helicopters. I don’t have many pictures or artifacts from Vietnam because most of what I sent home (not much) was burned up in an apartment fire of a young lady I was seeing before I left. Most of the pictures I have left are on this page.
While I still remember the general gist of my year in Vietnam the details have long since faded. Our unit moved around a lot, got into a number of fire fights and then moved on again. We never held any ground we took for very long though we often had men killed or wounded in the battles. In my opinion it was a senseless way to fight a war. Many Vietnam vets became embittered by the senselessness of it all as well as the carnage to which we were subjected. It didn’t help that, when we returned home, we were treated as the villains of the war, though the decisions for fighting this war were made by politicians in Washington and not soldiers on the ground.
I’ve seen pretty much all of the Vietnam era movies. Most of them had elements that represented the story I lived though none of them captured it exactly. The hardest one for me to watch was “Deer Hunter” because it reminded me of how little human life was valued in the war by both sides. I was visibly shaken after the movie and asked my wife Carol to drive us home.
I returned from the war pretty messed up in my mind. I had taken a lot of drugs (they were easy to get and cheap) and was drinking a lot to kill the emotional pain though it only masked it temporarily. Upon returning from ‘Nam I was stationed at Ft. Riley, Kansas for the last few months of my time. I got out of the army in September ’69 and returned to work at Lilly’s. Soon, however I decided I needed to continue my education. I applied at both Purdue and Anderson College (later Anderson University). I was accepted by both and had pretty much decided to go to Purdue when, at the very last minute, I changed my mind and decided to go to Anderson. I think a praying mom; family and friends had a lot to do with that (in fact I’m sure it was their prayers that brought me home alive). I arrived at Anderson College in January 1970 in time for second semester to begin. That innocent enough decision would turn out to have major ramifications for my life. That’s beginning of the next chapter in my life.
The “Revival of Love”

February 22, 1970 was destined to be a significant turning point in my life; perhaps the most significant one of all for it was on that day that I had a revolutionary encounter with Jesus.
I could not have known when I awoke that morning with a hangover from drinking too much the night before what lay ahead for me. I had been drinking heavily since exiting Vietnam a year earlier. This day, however, would be different. I slept late that morning in my college dorm room. By mid-afternoon the dorm was abuzz with stories from a local church in town. It seems that the meeting at South Meridian Church of God went longer than normal; instead of getting out at the usual hour of noon the meeting went until 1:30 PM. This was clearly out of the ordinary. On top of that there were stories of strange happenings at church that morning.
A “witness team” from Asbury College in Wilmore Kentucky had been invited to come and tell the story of a spontaneous revival that had taken place on their campus a couple of weeks earlier. So great was the move of God on campus that classes had been cancelled for an entire week at both the college and the seminary. Meetings had gone on around the clock in Hughes Auditorium as students and professors shared what the Lord was doing in their lives. Apologies were given publicly and forgiveness was asked for and granted in the meetings. The atmosphere was electric with the presence of the Lord. And now this same Spirit of revival had come to Anderson.
By evening a few of my friends and I decided to check out the evening meeting at South Meridian to see for ourselves what was going on. I went more out of curiosity than anything else. We arrived at the meeting a few minutes late and had to sit in the third row from the front because all the good seats in the back were taken. Within a few days you had to arrive an hour early to get a seat in the main auditorium at all. In fact at the height of the revival the church gymnasium was also filled as an overflow each night.
As we entered the building that night there was a “holy hush” in the air and the love and presence of the Lord was so palpable it seemed like you could cut it with a knife. We quietly took our seats and waited to see what would happen. We didn’t have long to wait. As each of the students from Asbury stood to share they had a similar tale to tell. It went something like this, “We told you everything we knew to say this morning and there’s not much left to tell.” I was getting more and more disappointed with each passing speaker. And then it happened.
A Mexican-American student by the name of Chris Sanchez stood to speak and started out like the others before her. But she went on to say something that none of the others had said. She said “ Jesus is the best friend I’ve ever had!” Wow, that was new and revolutionary to me!. I don’t recall that I’d ever heard anyone say anything like that before. Jesus wanted to be our friend. I had grown up in an evangelical/holiness church and had heard many sermons on how to get saved but I don’t remember ever hearing that Jesus wanted to be my best friend. I’m not saying that nobody ever said it , just that I never heard it. Maybe I just missed it. What an astounding thought it was to me. Not only did Chris say that Jesus was her best friend, she sang a song that went something like this
“Without Him I would be nothing,
Without Him I’d surely fail,
Without Him I would be drifting,
Like a ship without a sail.”
Then she sang the chorus
“Jesus, Oh Jesus, do you know Him today?
Please don’t turn Him away.
Jesus, Oh Jesus, Without Him how lost I would be!”
Then she sang the chorus in Spanish and that’s when things began to happen for me! “Cristo, OH Cristo!’ Immediately I had what even now seems to be a very mystical experience. I had grown up under the shadow of the “H” bomb and the constant fear of the annihilation of the world during the “Cold War”. I had always believed that there must been something that is so true that even if the world were blown away completely it would remain. I had suspected that the truth might be Jesus since I had grown up going to church. Now I was being challenged to believe that He was and is in fact the one eternal truth of the universe. The Lord began to speak to me in terms that were exceedingly clear.
He said “About 2 1/2 years ago you made me a promise. You said if I would bring you back from Vietnam alive you would do anything I wanted you to do for the rest of your life. I brought you back from Vietnam alive. What are you going to do with your promise?” At the same time He was speaking to me He showed me a movie-like playback in my mind of my year in Vietnam. It was as if I had been taken outside of my body and was being allowed to look down on myself as I walked through the jungles and rice paddies. I saw times when I could have been killed and times when I should have been killed and yet I was alive. He showed me at least a half dozen times when my life had been in imminent danger. Then He continued to speak to me. He said “Not only did I save your life in Vietnam but I bought your life at Calvary.” I didn’t even know at the time that the Bible says “You are not your own, you were bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:19). Only later would I learn that the price Jesus paid for me was the shedding of His own blood.
He showed me another vision (a picture in my mind’s eye) of Jesus dying on the cross with the blood dripping from His hands and feet and I knew without a doubt that He had died for me personally as if I was the only person on the planet at that moment who needed His love. My mind began to reason something like this “If He saved my life in Vietnam and He bought my life at Calvary then on both counts He owned the rights to my life. I no longer could or did belong to me, I belonged to Him. Whatever life I had left I had to live for Him.” It was settled. I headed for the front of the church to the altar where I could pray. We were barely 15 or 20 minutes into the service. Unknown to me was the fact that a number of my friends from school had been praying for me. They quickly followed me to the altar to pray with me. I didn’t know any formal prayers and hadn’t even learned about the 4 Spiritual Laws and so for me it was a very logical prayer that went something like this. “You saved my life in Vietnam, you bought my life at Calvary, you can have my life!” That was it! No bells, no whistles, no choirs of angels. And yet something was different. In fact everything was different! I got up from that altar knowing my life was changed forever.
I was no longer addicted to drugs or alcohol or cigarettes. Where previously I had been filled with prejudice and hatred and bitterness and anger from the army and the war, now my heart was filled with love for everyone. I was radically different inside. I felt clean inside, washed, free! Though it was still winter and there was some dirty patches of snow on the ground the air seemed pure, the sky blue, the snow beautifully white. I felt like a bird that had been let out of a cage! I began to share what had happened to me to everyone I knew and I began to cry. Almost every time I opened my mouth for the next two weeks I cried. I now believe the Lord was doing an emotional healing in me from the scars of Vietnam though at the time all I knew was I couldn’t stop crying.
The revival at South Meridian lasted for 50 days. Five days a week there was a morning prayer breakfast at a local hotel, a noon prayer meeting in the city council chambers at City Hall and the evening meeting at South Meridian. On some weekends meetings were held on Sunday afternoon at a local high school gym. I even remember singing a solo at one of those gatherings (good grief-whatever was I thinking?). On most weekends I couldn’t tell you what went on at the meetings because myself and scores of others were scattered across the country on ‘witness teams” to tell what the Lord was doing in Anderson and in our lives.
To Be Continued...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Mike McDonald - Jerry's - First Impressions and Memories

I first visited Jerry’s in the fall of 1971, sometime in late October. In the spring of that year, I had given my life to Christ at the local Assembly of God church in Anderson. I had recently moved back to Anderson after living in Greensboro, in Henry County during my high school years. As a young hippie I had felt welcomed by the AoG church, but was very out of place. The church was all factory workers and church kids. I couldn’t relate to them, and they couldn’t relate to me. As a result, I had drifted in and out of church all spring and summer. By the Fall I was hungry to find a place I felt a part of, and knew I needed fellowship of some sort. I just didn’t fit into the local church scene, nor did I really fit into the Solomon’s Porch / Fishermen group scene.
Several days before visiting Jerry’s I had been at a small church in Pendleton, where the Fishermen sang and preached (I can remember Ray Renner singing “The Lighthouse”). The Lord did a powerful thing in my life that night. After the meeting, as I went outside a young woman was handing out “Smile, God Loves You” cards, Jerry’s calling card with his address and phone number. The next day I called the number, talked with someone (I found out later that it was Myrtle Street, Jerry’s mom) and asked what did they do, and could I visit. I was warmly invited to come and see.
That night I drove out to 53rd street, found the house, and made my way in. Inside the door I was greeted by Jerry’s Mom, Myrtle, who put her arm around my waist, hugged me, smiled and said “You must be Mike”. We walked through the house and into the living room. One of my first impressions was “Wow, you could choke to death on the cigarette smoke”. Almost everyone was smoking! I had recently quit smoking and was a bit surprised at a “Christian” gathering were so many people smoked cigarettes.
Jerry was seating in his customary place, in the corner of the living room, Rickenbaker guitar in hand, singing. The first thing you would notice about Jerry was his really big smile, and his laugh. He also looked older than his early thirties. He also didn’t look like a hippie, or any preacher I had ever seen. The second thing I noticed was that the room was full of people like me, hippies, freaks, however you wanted to call them. They were my kind of people. I felt at home, if somewhat taken aback by the smoking.
I sat down on the sofa with several others and just watched and began to take in what was happening. Jerry would sing for a while. Quote a few scriptures and preach a bit. People would pray. There were lots of “Praise God’s” and Hallelujahs. At times everyone would gather in a circle and all arm in arm pray out loud shouting and exclaiming. Jerry would always be praising God and laughing for the shear joy of what was happening. Sometimes a person would fall on the floor in an ecstatic expression of worship.
I know that many of us had different experiences at Jerry’s. My experience was influenced by my having come to faith before I met Jerry. I clearly remember sitting on the sofa that night and the Holy Spirit speaking to me “be careful, there are some strange things here”. Being really Biblically ignorant, it took me a long time to figure out and discern some of the issues.
What were some of those “strange things”? Jerry preached that the Scriptures taught that if you had faith, you would never have to physically die! Jerry was anti-church, not just anti-religion, but anti-church, or at least his limited understanding of church. Anderson Indiana was a center for the “Holiness Movement”, and many churches were very conservative and lacked love, but in retrospect, Jerry threw the baby (the church), out with the bathwater (religion). There were other controversial teachings during those years, but they can be discussed at a later date.
In my opinion, and I know that others disagree; Jerry never preached a clear salvation message in those early years. Many young people came through Jerry’s. Many were touched by what happened at Jerry’s, however I believe that many were never born again and never made a real, solid decision to follow Christ as a disciple, because Jerry being theologically ignorant and an anti-intellectual couldn’t really teach us the basic foundations of the Christian life.
If Jerry would of had a good theological understanding of the Church, and how to disciple young people, he could have been a leader on par with some of the best in the Jesus Movement. He was a genuine man with very little ego. He never manipulated us and he never took advantage of anyone or sought financial gain from his work.
Jerry’s was an interesting time and place. It met the needs of many who would never have darkened the door of a traditional church. Jerry and Myrtle Street had a love for young people and accepted us just as we were, sometime to our detriment. Jerry Street had a profound impact upon my Christian life. To this day I still deal with some of the things that happened in those nearly two years. I have often wondered how my life would have been different if I had never met Jerry Street. God alone knows the answer.
If you were one of those who took part in what was “Jerry’s” I would love to hear from you. Tell me what you remember and what you think about what I have written.
Michael McDonald

Monday, April 16, 2007

Steve Heifner Testimony

Steve Heifner was living in Alexandria when he and friends heard about "Gerry's". Driven by curiosity that was fueled by the wooing of the Holy Spirit, Steve, along with his friends visited Gerry's. Steve's testimony is typically of thousands of young people from the drug/hippie culture who were impacted by the Jesus Movement - Editor

On New Years day 1972 six of my buddies were gathered together after a late celebration the night before. We were hanging out at the bowling alley in Alexandria, Indiana looking for something to do. We were dropping pills, mescaline, if I remember correctly. Someone mentioned this “Jesus House” in Anderson. They said that a large group of young people were meeting at a house called “Gerry’s Place” every night, singing songs and talking about Jesus. We had heard of it and we were curious. With nothing else to do, we were on our way to check this place out.
When we arrived, Myrtle, Gerry’s mother greeted us. She informed us that everyone had been up late the night before for the New Year so everyone was already gone for the night. But she invited us to visit a house where a group of these “Jesus Freaks” were hanging out that night.
Little did we know that Myrtle had called ahead so they would be prepared to minister to us. By the time we arrived, it was a past 9:00 pm. They were together in the living room singing songs, praying, and reading from the Bible. We were welcomed and invited to sit in and listen.
I felt comfortable because every one looked just like me: long hair, same age as me, the holes and patches on our jeans. But something was different; they all had smiles on their faces as they sang and prayed. They read the scripture with an understanding I did not have. They shared a love I did not know. Later on that evening, they asked if they could pray for me.
I don’t know exactly what happened but it did not take long before the Holy Spirit was speaking to me. My heart began to ache. I felt guilt for not following my early beliefs in my Christian faith. I asked for forgiveness and strength.
I had been raised in a small Disciples of Christ church across the street from my grandparent’s house. My parents were married in the church. On a Sunday before Easter, probably 1964, I went forward and made my public confession that I accepted Jesus as my savior in front of the congregation. I was 12 years old then. I was baptized there in the church as an act of my faith in Jesus. However, within a few years I wandered away not pursuing my faith and I just became a churchgoer to appease my parents.
Now that I was eighteen and half I was facing my convictions as the Holy Spirit was clearly speaking to me through these Jesus People. Like a miracle, the effects of the pills were lifted and I felt the presence of God in that room. I begin to ask questions. I don’t remember what they were but I do know I was impressed with the answers and the love these “Jesus Freaks” were giving me. I stayed up late again that night not wanting to lose this presence of God I was feeling.
The next morning woke up knowing that something had happened. I still felt the presence of God. I could not wait to go back that night to spend more time with my new friends. I don’t remember if my old buddies felt the same as I did but a couple came along with me to spend that next evening at “Gerry’s Place.” I was there, not just physically, but in spirit with an open mind. I met the other brothers and sisters who made the same decision that I had. God was speaking to them through his Holy Spirit.
Gerry Street and his mother were kind enough to open their house every night for almost two years giving people a place to meet God and grow in His love. Gerry made an impression upon me as he sat for hours singing his own songs of love and Jesus. He would read from the Bible and share his message of love as others would read along, take notes and sing with Gerry as he sang. But it was not his voice or his artistic guitar playing that affected us so. It was not that Gerry was a great speaker because he was just average. It was simply Gerry's desire to share God's love with us and anyone who came into his home.
One night after meeting with this group every evening for several days, it was late and I was ready to go home. A small group of about ten of us we were praying in a circle with our arms around one another. The presence of God was strong and something was happening. It felt as though someone taken the top of my head off and was pouring warm water down inside of my body. At this moment, I fell to the floor feeling this warmth surging through my body. I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on but I knew it was God ministering to my spirit, soul, and body. When I awoke from my stupor, I noticed that others had experienced the same thing. We laughed and rejoiced together knowing that God had touched with his healing hand. We felt such peace and joy.
The next day was different. How? At first, I could not have told you. All I knew the grass was greener, the sky was so much bluer, and I knew something had happened. Later that day I noticed my reading of the Bible had a power to it I had never felt before. It was as though the words were just jumping off the page. I felt as though I had been empowered with a deeper understanding of the scripture. Later I came to understand I had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
I continued my commitment as I attended every meeting. We were like young birds waiting to be fed by the Holy Spirit. Every night something new would happen, a new revelation, a new song, a new visitor, or a new believer would join us. We were not aware that we were a part of a movement of the Holy Spirit until years later.
Gerry taught us to be lead by the Spirit. Every meeting would flow in spontaneity. If Gerry had planned every meeting I am sure he would have failed to hold our attention, instead he trusted that God would meet with us and He did. Our times of song and worship were like a symphony with the Holy Spirit as the conductor.
One night during our worship and singing, I remember praising God with words of English repeatedly until suddenly this language came from my gut spurting out of my mouth. I did not know what I was saying but I knew it was from God. Later on, it was explained to me through scripture that I was speaking in tongues. That gift has never left me. Today, anytime I release my spirit in private prayer, I find myself worshiping God in tongues.
From that point on, my relationship with God has grown so much. Doctrines have come and gone, brothers and sisters have come and gone but the Holy Spirits work in my life continues to this very day. I am blessed. I praise Jesus for all that he has given me.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Love Song singing "Welcome Back

Here is a clip from a broadcast of the Kathryn Kuhlman TV program, featuring the group Love Song singing the song "Welcome Back", the song which this blog was titled after. The Group is introduced by Chuck Smith, founder of the Calvary Chapel movement. You will need a high speed connection to view this video.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Photos and Newspaper Article from the Jesusthon

As mentioned in my last post, Steve Massengale sent me a package of photos. The package also included several newspaper stories and an article from a "Jesus Paper" published in Missouri.

As always, if you have names for "unknowns" or corrections, please email us.

Here are the photos and story about the Jesusthon.
The scene inside the U.A.W. union hall April 8, 1972

Steve Heifner, John Renfro, Gerry Street

People: Left to Right
Unknown male, Tom Prough, Steve Massengale, Unknown male, Unknown female, Debbie ?, Don Purciful, Karen and John Renfro, Emma Posey, Unknown female, Unknown male.

Rick Gillispie, Steve Heifner with back turned

Beth Robey and Emma Posey Praying Together

Steve Heifner and Unknown Male reading the Bible

Steve Massengale and Donnie Adams

Copy of Anderson Bulletin article, April 18, 1972
Picture shows from left to right;
Milford Hickman, Rick Gilliespie, Mike Breese, Mike McDonald, Greg Dunteman
Text of the Article from the Bulletin
Jesus-thon claims success
By Cheryl Johnson
Anderson High School Correspondent

On what seemed like an ordinary weekend, April 7 through April 9, in am ordinary place, the U.A.W. Hall on the 109 bypass, the most “unordinary” thing was taking place. To me, at least, the Jesus-thon (like a marathon), the ’36 hour spiritual presenting Jesus Christ in his true body,” was a new and different experience.

My part of it began in my sociology class at Anderson High School. Beth, before the class period began, invited us all to the Jesus-thon, which was to begin at 7:30 p.m. April 7 and end at 7:30 a.m. April 9. Out of curiosity I decided to go, but not until I had talked two friends into going with me.

When I walked into the Walter P. Reuther memorial Auditorium at the Union Hall, I was rather skeptical, and to be truthful, afraid. The thing I feared most was the unknown. What kind of “freaky” things did Jesus People (or Jesus freaks) do? Would I be accepted?...

We were promptly met by Beth and she hugged me and said, “Praise the Lord, Cheryl.” I asked her how everything was going, knowing that she had been there since the beginning of the experience. “Oh,” she was smiling her ever-present smile, “I’m a little burned out right now, but I’m starting to pick back up.”

Feeling very conspicuous, we went and sat down in the front row of chairs facing the stage where a small group was singing. I would have been content to just sit there and listen to the music rather than get involved in anything that was going on. But contrary to my skeptical feelings, people came over to us, hugged us, introduced themselves and thanked God for us. On lady who introduced herself as “Gerry’s mom” (Gerry Street who runs Gerry’s place on 53rd Street) brought us business cards which read “Smile, God Loves You,” and began telling us about what had happened up to that time. She estimated that 300 people had attended the opening night.

A little later John came up to us and invited us to participate in a discussion about life and death. We accepted and moved into one corner to somewhat isolate ourselves from the music of “Jesus Was A Soul Man” and the murmurings of a prayer group in another corner. The question of discussion was whether the body suffers a physical or a spiritual death. No conclusions were reached, and the discussion changed course and concentrated upon the importance of the physical body. The main disagreement was to the purpose of the physical body – whether it is more than just a temple to house the spirit. One man then joined the group and declared that everything we were discussing was irrelevant. “Jesus is the only thing that matters,” he stated. To this there was a chorus of “Praise the Lord.”

One person expounded on his beliefs in Jesus Christ. “God is perfect and can do anything. I’ve found only one fault of His – His bad memory. He’s forgotten all the rotten things I used to do,” he explained. (more shouts of Hallelujah and Praise God!)

To prevent one group from turning into confusion, one youth suggested we close up the discussion with a prayer. All eight of us held hands and we prayed. For me it was more of a listening prayer – listening to the rest of the group which was praying out loud with many exclamations of “Yes, Jesus,” and “Thank you, Jesus.”

The group broke up but we were immediately called to participate in a total group prayer at the front of the auditorium. Everyone there, about 30 at this time, gathered in a circle, hand in hand. After about ten minutes of out loud praying by anyone who wished to do so, someone led off in singing the folk song “We Are One in the Spirit.”

More prayer followed the singing. On this prayer a young man cried out, “I’m not going to cry in heaven anymore. I’m not going to die in heaven anymore; I’m living in Christ!” The young man then walked into the center of the circle and drew everyone around him to what he called “a closer communion in prayer.”

We left very soon afterwards, and the Jesus-thon continued for fourteen more hours. What was the outcome of the happening? According to Gerry, “It was a coming together of the old and the young. There were a lot of parents there who didn’t feel free to come out to the house, but felt free to come to the Union Hall. They could see their children moving in love and not just playing games, so they came. There was a great freedom.”

Gerry went on to tell of some physical healings that had taken place during the Jesus-thon. He told of a woman from Alexandria who was healed of arthritis and a young man from Florida who had been deaf for 11 years and “his ears were opened.” Another girl was brought in suffering from an overdose. When she came in her pulse was 200. “Everyone wanted to call a doctor, but I told them no doctor could help her,” Gerry explained. Three hundred there prayed for her and according to Gerry, her pulse dropped to 75. “In 15 minutes she was walking around and then she accepted Christ,” Gerry continued. “I believe God is able to back up His word. It was a tremendous success,” commented Gerry.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Coming Soon!

I just received a package of photos and articles from Steve Massengale who worked alongside Jerry Street for several years. The photos and articles are from 1971-72 and they will be posted in the near future.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

We Need Your Help!

Hi everyone.

I know from watching the information on our web counter that a lot of people are reading this blog. I believe that some of you are people who participated in the Jesus Movement/Anderson. If so, we really need your input on this page. We need photos and your stories. Without them this page will not be what it should be. Please consider writing an entry for the blog and/or sending us some photos. Also please pass this website on to other people who might be interested in reading it and telling their story.

If you are unsure about what to write or need some help with editing just send an email to and we will do our best to help. We really would value your input and participation.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

More Photos

Here are several more photos - once again please email us with names or corrections
Blog Editor Mike McDonald & David Holmes 1973-Kilbuck park

Steve Massengale, David Moore, Jerry Street, Donnie Adams, Miguel ?
Probably summer 1972
Photo is probably from a "Jesus festival" in Elwood Indiana
Far left partially obscured, Steve Heifner, 3 unknown males, Donnie Adams, Beth Robey

Jerry brown, Tom Prough, Steve Heifner, Donnie Adams at Brenda Walker's parents home.

Monday, October 30, 2006

New photos

I received these photos from Randy Hornbeck recently. I don't have names for everyone so, if you see someone and know the name please send me an email at

This photo is probably from late 1971
A group shot of people at Jerry's
This photo is obviously from the "Jerry's period, as Randy is not wearing eye-glasses. Most of us had quit wearing eye-glasses and were 'claiming" our healing. In the next photo you will see that Randy is again wearing eye-glasses some 2 1/2 years later

Left to right
Randy Hornbeck, Don Purciful, Mike Breese, unknown female, Donnie Adams

This second photo is from the beginnings of the Fellowship of Christian Believers. Taken March 1974

1st row bottom to top L-R
1. Bev & Matthew Saxon, Sharla Hughes & son Aaron, Judy Upperman & her son John
2. Jan Reason, Pam Peterson, Beth Roby, Carol Hepburn, Randy Hornbeck
3. Brenda Walker, Leslie Sempsrott Carol Horner
4. David Holmes, Mike Burnett, Keith?, Steve Heifner
5. Andy Absher, Jim Schweitzer, John Matthews, Donnie Adams, Lawrence Chewning, Bud Sempsrott

Friday, October 20, 2006

The "Jesus-thon"

On April 8-9 of 1972 those of us who were regular attenders at Jerry's decided to have a "Jesus-thon". People were having walk-a-thon's so we thought "Why not?"

I am not sure who first came up with the idea. It caught hold of us though and we began to make plans. Through one of our friends (I believe it was Mike Breese) we were able to rent the United Auto Workers union hall on the old 109 by-pass. We made our own posters, may have had a few advertisements on radio, and planned the meetings. We had the hall for 36 hours. We had bands play, Jerry sang and preached, we shared from an open mike, invited other speakers to participate and just had a good time trying to honor Jesus. People from Solomon's Porch/the Hill stopped in.

Looking back on those days I sometimes wince at our naivete, but at the same time we were young, excited and zealous. Life and faith seemed simpler. Those days will never be repeated but we should remember them, gain insight from them and thank God for all he has taken us through.
Jerry Street seated on the stage at the "Jesus-thon" next to Jerry is Cindy Kachlein, sister of Coreen Kachlein

Jerry on the stage with his Rickenbacker Guitar

Seated with the violin is Karen Renfro

Below is Dave Holmes. He always had a camera with him.
If you have contact info for Dave let us know. We would like to find out if he has any photos from 1971-72

From left to right - Mike Breese, Tom Prough, Beth Robey, Donnie Adams, Steve Heifner

Left-Mike Burnett - Right-Randy Cain

Donnie Adams

Thanks to Kim McBride (the daughter of Jerry Street) for the B&W photos. Thanks to Brenda Walker Williams for the color photos.

If you have memories, photos, stories or correction to this article please let us know.

Monday, October 16, 2006

From Hopelessness and drugs to Jesus - Part Two

On my last blog entry, I shared how I came to "Jerry's Place". Even though Jerry had named the ministry on 53rd St. "Where Angels Rejoice", for some reason, that name never did stick. It was always referred to as Jerry's Place or just Jerry's. As was quoted in the newspaper article posted below, Jerry never did advertise the meetings that he was hosting in the home he shared with his mother Myrtle. This was a spontaneous movement, a local tributary of the movement that naturally flowed into the national river that had already been named the Jesus Movement.

My best recollection is that Jerry had invited a Pentecostal preacher from Indianapolis, "Pop" Bunch, to do a series of preaching meetings that were scheduled to last one week. By word of mouth young hippie types like I was, heard of what was happening and came en masse to investigate. As I mentioned in my first entry, something happened to me that first night that radically changed the course of my life. It is now thirty five years later and the change that took place has lasted.

I not only came to Jerry's that night, I came to Jesus! I believe the day I spent at the farm house (mentioned in my first entry) that afternoon in the late summer of 1971, pondering my life and future, was heard by God as a prayer.....and He began to set in motion a set of sovereign circumstances to birth me into His Kingdom! When I crossed the threshold of Jerry and Myrtle's house that night, I was a young man with a wounded heart. I had been carrying the baggage of rejection for seven years and was in desperate need of the knowledge of God's unconditional love for me.

Having been raised in a non Christian unchurched home, I wasn't even sure that God existed. I can recall going to church/Sunday school with a friend as a young boy on two occasions. I was freaked out by both experiences. I did try to read the Bible once while serving in the army at Ft. Bragg North Carolina. I was lying on my bunk and opened the New Testament that was given to us. A friend saw me and told me to start in the book of Revelation. Well, as you can imagine, that didn't bring me much relief.

The rejection that I referred to was as a result of the night in 1966 when my dad woke me in the middle of the night to inform me that my mom was pregnant ( not by him) and had run off with her boyfriend leaving my dad to raise me and five siblings. I actually joined the army three years later in an attempt to escape the stigma of this experience. So, that first night at Jerry's, I was "ripe for the pick'in."

The meetings at Jerry's continued for longer than a week. I know I was there almost every night for approximately one year. I also know that there was much controversy surrounding Jerry's teachings and at one point several of us left because of them. After thirty five years, I don't recall many of the details surrounding what was taught. But I do know what I caught. I received (whether through Jerry or divinely by the Holy Spirit) a revelation that God loved me unconditionally and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who had died on the cross for my sins. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who will return to the earth to establish a kingdom of righteousness, justice and peace and this kingdom is available to me by grace (it is a gift) through faith in Jesus Christ!

I have always been, and will eternally be grateful to Jerry and Myrtle Street for opening their home and allowing God to minister to those of us that did not feel comfortable in the organized church.

Randy Hornbeck

Wow! These two groovy guys are
Randy Hornbeck and Donnie Adams
at the wedding of Jerry Street, 1974

Monday, October 09, 2006

Jerry's Place - Newspaper article and photos from the Anderson Herald

Turn on with God, not with needle, bottle” Jesus Freaks
By Michael Cox, Herald Youth Correspondent
Anderson Herald
January 1972

A few weeks ago I volunteered to write a story on the so-called “Jesus freaks” and the “Jesus Movement”. I decided the most effective means of research would be to participate in a nightly meeting of the freaks.

I visited the home of Gerry E. Street on East 53rd Street where evening meetings are held each day. Before arriving I imagined scenes such as a couple of people sitting around smoking pot or shooting drugs in the names of God and Jesus.

I arrived at Street’s home around 7:45 p.m. and was greeted at the door with a pat on the back and a solemn “bless you” from his wife (Blog editors’ note: Gerry wasn’t married at this time so the reporter must have been greeted by Myrtle “Mom” Street). Passing on into the living room where the meeting was to convene my premature visions seemed to be realized. I caught sight of two long haired boys sitting on the sofa smoking what seemed to be cigarettes. I also noticed a boy, whom many conservatives would term “hippie” quietly reading a Bible. A lighted cross shone in the window and on the wall hung an oil painting of Christ bearing the crown of thorns.

As I fully entered the room I was greeted by a hand shake and many “Bless you’s’”. I spied the packages and found the boys where smoking cigarettes and not pot. One wall bore a poster displaying the words “Forget religion and find God.” I realized I was in for some kind of a night.

Soon the crowd gathered with about 30 people sitting on the floor, standing in the hallway, and others in another room. Everyone seemed to know each other and I know they knew I was a newcomer because of the stares I received. Most of the “freaks” had long hair and looked like teenagers except for Gerry who was middle-aged (editor's note - Jerry was 33 at the time, but looked older) and had reasonably short hair.

A prayer opened the informal service. Everyone joined in a circle with their arms around the person next to them. The words “Praise God” and “Thank You Jesus” echoed with the spirit of God ringing throughout the room. Gerry took his place at the microphone with an electric guitar in his hands. He began singing songs he had composed about walking in the light of Jesus.

When everyone joined in singing “Amazing Grace” all my premature conceptions faded away. Everyone felt the spirit of God and shouted “Turn on with God, not with a needle or a bottle.”
There was not pot or alcohol present. Although some of these kids turned on in the past with marijuana and booze, they now turned on to God and Jesus.

I have never in my life witnessed in any church such spirit of God as in these people. All through the night they shouted “Praise God” and that was just what they did. A short Bible study was conducted with Gerry Street translating the passages of the 15th chapter of John.

Later on I got a chance to talk with Gerry personally. He told me the kids come to his house to get away from drugs because they have found out drugs do not turn them on the way God does.
“I like churches and all but they do not...

(Blog editors’ note: Our copy of the Anderson Herald story is incomplete and ends here.)

Here is a second story from the Anderson Herald

The “Jesus People’s” Preacher
By Mike Cox
Herald Youth Correspondent

Gerry Street coordinator of the nightly “Jesus Spirited” meetings held in his home on 53rd Street in Anderson was once an alcoholic and drug-user. But he turned to Jesus, he says, when he decided alcohol and drugs were not fulfilling him.

Street toured the U.S. preaching the Word of God until last July when, penniless, he purchased the house on 53rd Street. He says he is a firm and faithful believer in miracles and thus, somehow scrapped up the $100 down payment needed.

Street says he never once invited anyone into his home. “they (the kids) just started coming.” He commented. (Blog editors’ note: The copy of the newspaper story we have is unclear here and part of the text is missing.) When a youth or adult has…..Street offers his counsel…..which he terms “non-religious”…. “I have nothing against churches. I think they are good but they just don’t accept me”.

Though he has little contact with official church ministers, Street has hosted independent preachers similar to “circuit-riders”, such as one from Muncie present when these photos were taken.

To some, the “Jesus Movement” seems to be a fad which will soon fade, but Street states, “They really believe. All you have to do is look at them!”

Below:Blog Editor, Mike McDonald with hand raised, Steve Heifener-glasses center, Donnie Adams front center

Above photo - Jerry Street seated center, Mary Montgomery behind Gerry, Gary Hendricks behind right, and Steve Massengale to the left

Above photo: Jerry Street seated front right, Steve Massengale behind with Mary Montgomery next to him. Marla Bell, Diane ? , seated front left. The man teaching is Charles Ressler from Muncie Indiana.

Al (big Al) Praying
Above - Darlene?
If you recognize the people in these photos please send me an email at