The Lay Witness Mission

When I was about sixteen, a powerful moving of the Holy Spirit rushed through my church and my youth group. The Spirit came to us through a group of church brethren from a city located 300 miles away. They were called “Lay Witness Missionaries”, and the group of men, women and children went to little churches all over Kansas when they were invited, and brought the Holy Ghost with them. They arrived on a Friday to a typically dry and predictable Methodist church, and left Sunday afternoon from a new Spirit charged, pulsating and alive, loving and living congregation of participants that were forever changed by their visit.

I don’t know what the lessons were for the adults that caused them to change so dramatically over that one weekend. But I do know what changed us kids to become firm followers of Jesus Christ.

It was the Jesus chair.

We had shared our homes with our youthful counterparts. Our Friday and Saturday was filled with singing and reading the Bible and talking and learning. They kept telling us that something really special was going to happen on Saturday, so when the time had arrived for us to gather in the room, we were a little prepared for something great to happen.

They ushered our whole youth group into the room. Chairs were lining the room for us to sit. The lights were dimmed. In the middle of the room was an empty chair, with candles illuminating a picture of Jesus Christ before it. It was very solemn, a little scary and a whole lot suspense-filled as we settled into our chairs.

We saw our lay leaders begin to pray, so we politely lowered our Methodist eyes. It seemed like they were praying for a really long time, when suddenly we felt the Holy Spirit surge through our presence. It was the first time for me, and my classmates to feel the wonderful warmth and love of His presence.

As we were moved by Him, we came to the Jesus chair. When we sat in the chair, it was as if the world of pains were suddenly lifted off of our bodies and the common and practiced existence of life lived in the small town being changed into the supernatural. For the first time, I understood that I had a right to talk to Jesus; it didn’t matter if I was unlovable to others. He wanted me to come to Him and He loved me!

I was one of the last ones to go to the chair. It took me a long time to realize that I had as much right to speak to Him, as did the more popular and pretty and the richer kids than me. When I found the courage to stand and walk toward him, I found myself being propelled forward with the surge of Holy Ghost, and my classmates surrounding me, helping me to reach that place where I could speak to Jesus, and hear Him lead.

I cried. The warmth of his love comforted me, and His Presence filled me, and I finally felt worthy to receive the Things of God that He Willed me to have. I sat down in the chair, broken and dirty, and I stood up from the chair beginning to feel healed, loved, and clean. As I stood, my classmates surrounded me and began touching me and holding me and hugging me and laughing, and praising God, and singing.

It was the first time I had ever been hugged in love.

What a powerful moment that was! What a Spirit Filled movement that became. It changed me forever, and began my path of life, led by the Spirit and walking forward with confidence to my Savior who loved even me!