The Bible says that the early Christians overcame the devil “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony . . .” I was an unbeliever when as a freshman in college I walked into a Christian testimony meeting on campus. As ordinary people shared about their experiences with Jesus, I encountered the living, resurrected Jesus, and I’ve never been the same.
I was a part of that meeting while in college and when I graduated I looked for a testimony based church. Although I never could find one, I kept dreaming that one day I would. Then, early in 2008, The Salvation Army asked my wife and me if we would like to start a “nontraditional church” in an empty chapel building in East Nashville. That was a dream come true and we started The Salvation Army Berry Street based on open sharing and testimonies. It has been such an amazing experience to see God work powerfully in and through ordinary people!
About 2 years later I learned that Berry Street was named after a famous Methodist evangelist and magazine editor named John Berry McFerrin. I googled him and discovered that he lived across the street from our building until his death in 1887. I found this quote where McFerrin describes his experience as a young man in testimony type meetings that the early Methodists called “class meetings“:
“The meetings were greatly blessed. We read the Scriptures, we sang, we prayed, we spoke often one to another, and the Lord listened and heard. Here I heard much of Christian experience, and learned to understand the wants of others. Here I learned to give words of exhortation and comfort, and here I learned to appreciate the trials and temptations connected with the life of a Christian. Fifty years have passed and the precious seasons that I enjoyed then are still fresh in my memory. I regard class meetings as among the greatest providential means of grace ever instituted in the church. They did much to keep me in the path, and gave me many encouragements through hearing the experience of older and wiser Christians than myself. Class meeting is about the best theological school ever organized. It was a sad day when it declined in the church; and I hope and pray the time may come when it will be revived in the church.”
I believe that God is answering John Berry McFerrin’s prayer and restoring testimony type meetings to the church. God is up to something! Come and see for yourself every Sunday morning @ 10:45 @ 225 Berry St., Nashville 37207.