Ted Wise was a drug-using sailmaker who said he encountered Christ during an LSD trip. After his conversion, he began attending Mill Valley Baptist Church, where his wife and two children already went. He invited Rick Sacks and other hippies to come. Although some conservative congregants didn’t like the hippies, the Baptist pastor took this growing group of converts under his wing.
Other San Francisco pastors created the nonprofit Evangelical Concerns to support a coffeehouse ministry and disciple the hippies. WORLD senior writer Ed Plowman, 86, one of the participating pastors, remembers: “We wanted to see the counterculture come to Christ. They were rebels off the street … drinking coffee and smoking bongs.”
Shoe salesman and seminary student Kent Philpott, then 25, was listening in the car to Scott McKenzie’s “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” when he says God said to him, Go to the hippies in San Francisco.