When I was still a High School student I had the incredible experience to be a part of a several year movement of the Holy Spirit on my Public High School campus. It was a spiritual revival that actually began with a catholic evangelist who came to our small town of Delano, MN to do a missions seminar for the catholic church there. His name was Ed Klein. He had grown up catholic and had come to Christ at a later date and felt called to minister to those within the catholic denomination after being a successful businessman. He has seen some of the most incredible, Biblical miracles I've ever heard of over his many years of ministry. He is such a wonderful man of God - of faith and the Holy Spirit (as they said of the Apostles). His speaking led to a spiritual renewal in that church and most importantly for what I'm sharing, in the salvation of several of the youth in the church. These youth (many of whom I am friends with today) began to hold worship nights with some young adults from other denomination in one of the rooms of the catholic church in town. The Holy Spirit was present with them in a powerful way and there were reports of speaking in tongues, falling under the power of the Spirit and other miracles that were neither taught nor typical for these young people or their families.
This soon was taken to a small coffee shop on River Street in downtown Delano, MN. The coffee shop was called Common Grounds and barely survived for about seven years, and is now some other shop today. It served it's purpose as the meeting and breeding ground of this move of God. For about a year it was the key meeting place on Monday nights for what was then being called Monday Night Jam. The band, known as Bliss, was a ragtag group of young musicians of various denomination, most of whom were students of the local High School. No pastor or church had initiated this event as it was almost sporadic and mysterious in it's conception.
At the time, I led a weekly Bible study at the High School, and after hearing that dozens of students were gathering to worship (in our small town of 3,000, and school of 650 students) this was nothing short of miraculous. I gladly visited and was amazed to see 60 students (1/10th of our town student population gathering). People were charismatically worshiping and it was beautiful what God was doing. I was friends with some of the guys and soon joined the band. The night continued to grow numerically and soon drew over 100 students a week in the little coffee house. People were jammed and packed in the building. Some worshipped behind the barista counters. Others in the back stocking room. Still others came to the door and left for lack of room. The Presence of God was strong and evident to everyone. People always left touched by God in that place as we gathered together.
We were reaching capacity and didn't know what to do next. Probably to keep it from being denominational we daringly requested the Public High School auditorium to fit all those coming. Our principle had come to Christ several years prior and still is a strong Christian man today. He took our cause to the school board and it was allowed. We told everyone of the move the week previous and encouraged inviting friends to pack out the auditorum (which held around 640 capacity).
That next week the crowds had significantly grown. Over the next several years crowds grew to a steady 400-600 students. Probably a third of our local student body visited as well as other local public schools bringing large groups. Youth ministries visited with their leaders. Some people reported coming as far as and hour to three hours for one hour of worship because what God was doing was so significant.
The Presence of God was the staple of the worship night. It was unbelievable amazing. I remember nights where it was so strong you felt there was no way to describe God's Presence but by using the word "thick." It convicted deeply of sin and also of the love and reality of God. It was not uncommon to see student weeping and crying under the reality of God. Students would break down and repent of sins and respond to come to Christ without altar calls or sermons of any sort.
It was usually just an hour of worship although we would randomly have 5 minute sermons from various pastors or leaders from around the state. This became more commonplace towards the end.
It was completely student led and inter-denominational. The band consisted of people from most major denominational backgrounds. Towards the end we had a band pastor, my older brother Jon who would lead us in devotions and prayer before going out to play. At one point several pastors met with us and attempted to take some authority over the night and to discuss doctrine, we resisted sensing it was important for this to remain student led and inter-denominational.
As it had from the beginning, miracles contined to take place. Many reports of student being healed simply during worship, without anyone even praying for them. One girl with a cracked skull from a car accident. Another girl with a deaf ear. Another girl with tumor. A girl delivered from demons one night. A young boy with dislexia. Miracles occured on a regular basis. It was amazing what God was doing.
And for an entire year our principle reported that there was literally no disciplinary problems in the entire High School. Talk about a good way to impact society and humanity. Call down the Presence of God, and everything changes. Lift up Christ and people will be drawn to him.
Prayer was an important part of our practices as a band and prior to the worship night service. We always sensed God had to show up or it would all be void. A lot of nights we would have technical or sound problems or interpersonal conflicts. But we would pray and worship together and always leave forgetting the issues faced earlier. Even with our prayer times, we did not feel we brought about the revival by ourselves or by our prayers, but rather that many others had prayed for much longer (for years) for this, and that it was a sovereign move of God. My friend and I went from this to be roomates in Bible college and prayed for many years for a similar move in our college (which was already so spiritual and incredible) but nothing similar ocurred. This furthered our belief that we don't control things so special as what happened in Delano.
The band and worship leaders changed. Initially it was a talented singer/worship leader Aaron Nuss, then his brother John. Then my best friend Luke Frederick and me. We were extremely afraid the crowds would die down with the loss of the first two leaders and with the lack of talent of Luke and me at the time. However, going through each transition with no loss numerically caused us to realize this was a soveriegn move of God and was not linked to a man or leader.
Since Monday Night Jam, I continue to hear reports of many of us going around the world and making a difference for Christ. Each of us looking back and grateful for that time of the Holy Spirit's move in our lives. The work of God truly is in and through people. Not a building, a night, a program but in people. His work through Monday Night Jam continues on around the world and we are still watching in amazement.