In 1971 I served on the drug abuse counsel in Wichita, Kansas. I was 18 years old at the time, never been near a drug in my life and knew nothing about the subject. Why was I there? Because my youth minister had recommended me and made sure I got the post.
I recall sitting through a few very boring meetings and wondering how anything being talked about could possibly help anyone with a drug problem. Basically it was some older psychologists, ministers and other “clean” adults talking about fixing a problem running rampant among teenagers. Nothing ever came out of those meetings and the counsel shut down after a few months.
The one good thing that came from being on that counsel was that I got to go on a field trip to Hollywood, California to look into a new phenomenon just starting in California at the time. We went to a large Presbyterian church in Hollywood to witness the birth of the “Jesus People” as it related to the concept of Christian coffeehouses complete with entertainment etc.
The reason we were there was because of the genuine help these coffeehouses had provided for hard core drug addicts in the Hollywood area. Unlike secular programs that helped no one, the concept of bringing people to the church to hear their kind of music and offer them coffee etc. opened the door to providing genuine help to those in need through presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Although this concept is in operation in churches all over the world today, 42 years ago the idea of a church sponsoring a coffeehouse for drug addicts was about as well received as promoting a three ring circus in the sanctuary. Much of the resistance to the idea was because of the hippie movement and war protests that had engulfed the country for years. Of course there was also the resistance to anything new that still persists even today.
That trip made a deep and lasting impression on me. It marked the first time I saw a program actually helping those held in chains to the bondage of addictions. I was so excited when I got back. I was ready to turn my church into the biggest coffeehouse in Wichita. Of course the church would not even listen to the idea let alone consider it. It is interesting that just a few months later I was excommunicated from my church for being a “radical” and a “revolutionary” disruptive influence.
It takes conviction and persistence to take a dream from the idea stage to reality. I wish I could have done it in Wichita in 1971 but it was not to be. Interestingly, I and two others did indeed do this just one year later in Wisconsin and we saw incredible results. The point of this is that if God puts a dream in your heart, GO FOR IT and never look back. The only way to get from here to there is to take the ball and run with it.